Monday, May 7, 2012

The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche

My last film at this year's Hot Docs was The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche, a trademark NFB film blending archival footage with reenactment.  I've been interested in de la Roche since living in Lorne Park, where my daughters went to Whiteoaks Public School, on Mazo Crescent and our street Greenoaks was around the corner from Whiteoaks and Jalna Avenue.  Mazo de la Roche had lived in the area briefly but was not forgotten.

Mazo de la Roche
de la Roche is the best-selling Canadian author ever, selling millions of books in multiple languages around the world.  The novels Jalna series and The Whiteoaks of Jalna started the series and de la Roche fed the public's appetite for more books with ten more books. 

Mazo de la Roche was a very private person, not exactly eschewing the spotlight, but revealing little either in interviews or in her vague autobiography.  From the director's comments at the Q&A, it sounds as if this biography was what I would call 'content free'.   Her lifelong companion, Caroline Clement, was an orphaned cousin who had been adopted by her parents at an early age.  Their relationship was characterized as a 'Boston marriage', a term usually applied in the case of lesbian relationships.

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