Charles Guilbert

Montréal , QC
Quebec CA

See Murphy, Serge; Video maker, musician, writer, critic. The prizewinning Montreal video art team Guilbert and Serge Murphy are well known on both the Quebec art scene and the international queer festival circuit as re-inventors of everyday storytelling and song. Their minimalist frescos detail the lonely and restless lives of the young intellectual fauna and flora of the Plateau-Mont-Royal. The bittersweet Homme aux trésors (Man of treasures, 1988) may be their best known and their queerest video, and when I discovered it in 1989 for my “Images ‘89" programming, I waxed rhapsodic:

New narrative and new social/sexual identities, but the old old patterns persist: triangles and (vicious) circles, romance and betrayal, naked breakfasts and men who have hammers instead of penises. Murphy and Guilbert expertly modulate both the delirous rush of language and the excruciating plenitude of silence....

Pushing the same direction even further, their Sois sage ô ma douleur (1990), was honoured at the 1991 Rendez-vous du cinéma Québécois. Known in international venues, the local heroes were accorded retrospectives at both Image + Nation (1995) and the Rendez-vous (1998). Queerness was always matter-of-fact in their work, but by the time of the existential bitch session between a straight young woman and her gay male friend in Au verso du monde (Outside looking in, 1994), it’s so cool that it’s almost invisible. Always at the core of their work, music became increasingly important and Rien ne t’aura mon Coeur (1997) has been described as a “kaleidoscopic musical comedy.” Michel Grou (b. 1964) was the technical director/editor of the first four of the duo’s videos, and co-directed Rien.