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Théâtre Les 400 Coups

Projet Ladislas Starewitch

(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

The discovery of Ladislas Starewitch (1) was the beginning of a new passion for Rémi Boucher, the director of Les 400 Coups, an international festival of film aimed at young people and held in Montreal, Canada. After seeing stills from an animated film produced by Starewitch, Boucher became determined to make the man's work better known in North America. To help initiate the process, the Daniel Langlois Foundation is supporting research on Starewitch's life and work. This will enable Les 400 Coups to develop an exhibition or series of screenings that will introduce Starewitch to Montreal viewers.

Russian filmmaker of Polish descent, puppeteer and director Ladislas Starewitch (1882-1965) was born in Moscow. He grew up with an interest in entomology and eventually pursued a career in filmmaking. A pioneer in the field of animation, Starewitch is recognized for his work with puppets that he created specifically for his films. He based most of his animated works on fables, fairytales and the human-animal relationships that arose out of these stories. Starewitch's first movie with animated puppets was called Lucanus Cervus (1910). Subsequent and more well-known films include La cigale et la fourmi (1927), Deux fables de la Fontaine (1932) and Gueule de bois (1954). He created more than a hundred films during his lifetime.

Starewitch moved to France permanently in 1920 and produced and directed his own films for 40 years. He died in France in 1965 and was survived by his two daughters, one of whom acted in many of his movies under the name Nina Star. Starewitch's last living relative today is his granddaughter Léona Béatrice Martin, who has undertaken the work of maintaining her grandfather's archives and many of his original puppets. (2)

Les 400 Coups focuses on developing close connections with young people, awakening their curiosity and critical sense and fostering their enthusiasm for film and media art. The group programs special screenings for young people at the Ex-Centris Complex in Montreal and coordinates educational cinema programs for elementary schools across the city.

Angela Plohman © 2004 FDL

(1) For more information concerning Ladislas Starewitch please see :

(2) Léona Béatrice and François Martin, Ladislas Starewitch: Illustrated Filmography and Commentary (Annecy, France: JICA Diffusion, 1991).