Le Hibou’s Cine Club

1936 Buick
1936 Buick

On November 17, 1962, the Le Hibou Ciné Club was started. At the time there were few opportunities to see film classics in Ottawa. Alan Knight, my brother-in- law, helped with research for the selection of films. I was always interested in films and theatre. As a teenager, Jean Guy Boutin and I would drive quite often to Montreal to see films, plays and jazz. Since we had little money, we could not afford to stay overnight, so we would drive back in the wee hours of the morning. Jean Guy had an old 1936 Buick, which burned so much oil we had to stop every thirty miles or so, open up the trunk, take out one of the gallon containers of oil, and top up the motor.

A little later, I even tried my hand at directing some films with the help of Albert de Niverville and his Arriflex camera. I joined in with my hand-cranked Bolex. The main actor was Gerard Gravelle, who read poetry at 544 Rideau and who later played quite often in Le Hibou theatre productions. None of those films ever made it to the Oscars.

Jules and Jim - Truffault
Jules and Jim – Truffault

The films we showed at the Ciné Club were rented through Astral Films in Montreal and I would pick up the film at the bus depot. As we could not afford to buy, I rented a projector and screen from Adams and Associates. We learned very quickly to have at least two film projector bulbs since the bulb always seemed to die at the most dramatic part of the film, eliciting groans of exasperation from the audience. One time the film never arrived, and I had to rush over and pick up a film from an Ottawa classic film collector. Unfortunately, he collected only musicals, not quite what our film buffs wanted to see. The programming shown in the afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday was very diverse, with films of many great directors such as Fellini, Antonioni, Kurosawa, Ichikawa, Bresson, Buňuel, Truffaut, and Polanski. The series continued well until the end of 1965.

8 1/2 - Fellini
8 1/2 – Fellini

One reply on “Le Hibou’s Cine Club”

Joni and Jimi
When reading Denis’ note about Joni Mitchell meeting Jimi Hendrix at Le Hibou my mind flashed back to the event. I had been at the Hendrix concert and remember thinking that it was great but not quite the same level of compfort as was listening to him play on my stereo.

After the concert I immediately went to Le Hibou to run an errand for my sister, Carolyn. She had lent Joni a sweater and I was to go and retrieve it.

Since I worked at Le Hibou in the kitchen and often as After Hours Manager I knew that I would find Joni in the Green Room about the little space where the customers were served their coffee and food.

I was about half way up the stairs when I realized that I was looking into the face of Jimi Hendrix who was, I imagine,in the middle of introducing himself to Joni. I guess Joni asked me what I wanted… all I really remember was that I was stuttering like crazy and could hardly speak a word let alone ask for the sweater.

I may not be able to remember now whether I actually got the sweater, but I will certainly never forget my shocked reaction to seeing my hero so close at hand.

I wonder if I actually walked further up the stairs to get the sweater. I find it hard to imagine I could have moved any closer. You’d think I could remember if I had.

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