Denys Arcand was born in the village of Deschambault, in the province of Québec, in the country of Canada in 1941.

He directed numerous historical film shorts for the National Film Board after having studied history at the Université de Montréal. His first project, in the 1960s, was the trilogy of films "Champlain", "La route de l'ouest" and "Les Montréalistes".

In 1969, when he produced "On est au coton" (Literally: We are made of cotton; Figuratively: we are comfortable), it was censored because it was about the government exploitation of textile and factory workers. The censor was later repealed.

He directed a number of other historical films throughout the 1970s and 1980s:
"Québec, Duplessis et après"
"Réjeanne Padovani"
"Gina", a documentary on the 1980 referendum
"Le confort et l'indifférence"
"Le crime d'Ovide Plouffe"

In 1986 he became known with the film "Le déclin de l'Empire américain" (The Decline of the American Empire).
In 1989 he presented "Jésus de Montréal" at the Cannes and the Montréal World Film Festivals.
In 1993 he made his first English film "Love and Human Remains" based off of the play by Brad Fraser.
In 1996 he made the low-budget film about living on the streets of Montréal, "Joyeux Calvaire".
In 2000 he made "Stardom" (also called "15 Moments") about a smalltown Ontario girl made suddenly famous as an international model. It showed at the Toronto International Film Festival as well as the closing gala of the Cannes Film Festival.

He is a two-time Oscar nominated dircetor and an Officer of The Order of Canada.

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