July 30, 2008

Canada’s 1,968 foot wide movie

Forget IMAX with its puny 857 inch wide screen. I saw a move this weekend on a 23,622 inch screen. That’s 600 meters wide. More than a third of a mile. That’s also about how far back I stood to watch it.

Above is a photo of the Bunge Grain complex in Quebec City. The complex is made up of 81 individual silos 30 meters tall. In celebration of Quebec’s 400th Anniversary, artist Robert Lepage used the complex as a screen for an incredible site-specific motion picture called The Image Mill. The film tells the story of Quebec’s 400 years through video, pictures, and sound. I expected a cheesy patriotic movie. But what I saw was subtle and elegant.

The below video, which shows 10 minutes of the 40 minute film, gives a good idea of what the movie was like. It shows how Lepage made innovative use of the contours of the silos, turning them into bullets, candles, a printing press, cigarettes, etc, and how he turned the entire complex into other kinds of buildings completely, such as a factory and an airport.

You can also watch a behind-the-scenes video at Lepage’s website where he explains some of the technical issues that went into making the movie.

I would recommend that you fly to Quebec to see it, but unfortunately the movie’s 66-night run has just ended.

According to Lepage’s website, the movie is playing every night until August 24.


I loved it, and the best thing: it was free! Okay, you have to go to Québec City but that is only 2.5 hours from where I live.

You say its run has ended; but according to LePage’s site it runs until August 24.
How now?

Woops! I must have misread the date. Fixed! -David

This was amazing. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen art that clever. When I read it was a 10 min video clip I thought to myself “it will probably be somewhat dull as it’s on a little video, ill watch a few minutes” I was pretty much captivated the entire 10 minutes. You’re lucky to have seen it in person. A life experience I’m sure…. and side note: The fireworks looked awesome. I could see using the silos again for a firework show to be a logical cost saving and environmentally friendly option

I saw “Dark Knight” on IMAX during the week and thought that was impressive!

Hello David,
I’m a pre-press coordinator living in Montreal, Québec…I’m a big fan of your blog and I was so surprised to find out that you came to Québec and appreciated Robert Lepage’s works…
He’s one of the most talented multi-media creator…If you understand a bit of french, you must try to see all his work(mainly theatre): visual is always amazing…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW0qW39Ozzs&feature=related
have fun…

Hi David,

The Image Mill has been extented until September 7, 2008, at 10 p.m.

For those who are still interested…



The movie is awful. I saw it three times. I came from Mississauga (of Greater Toronto Area) to see Quebec 400 year anniversary celebration. Out of which this is one of them. This show was extended until September 07, 2007 which is scheduled at 09:30 p.m which is earlier than 10:00 p.m.

I have not seen yet but i listened this was really amazing..

The movie is awful !!!