Release date1984 (1984) WriterMichael Rubbo, Merrily Weisbord Similar moviesRelated Michael Rubbo movies
Margaret atwood once in august
Margaret Atwood: Once in August is a 1984 documentary film about Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, directed by Michael Rubbo and produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). The film was made in Rubbo's trademark style of self-conscious documentary filmmaking or metafilm, with Rubbo foregrounding the creative process in making the film, including his frustrated attempts to uncover autobiographical influences in Atwood's work. It was his last film with the NFB.
The film follows Rubbo's efforts to uncover the secrets of Atwood's past, only to be frustrated when the author's life fails to provide any biographical clues for her work. Atwood deflects Rubbo's autobiographical questioning with relative ease, while offering up no evidence that her work can be interpreted according to her personal life.
In one sequence, Atwood mocks Rubbo's planned narrative trajectory when she and her family take control of the camera. Atwood puts on a paper bag over her head as family members take turns asking "who is this woman?", providing humorous responses and poking fun at Rubbo's filmmaking approach.
The Canadian Film Encyclopedia called the film "unconvincing," stating that it "put an end to his remarkable run of personal documentaries. There is an unmistakeable sense in the Atwood film that he had exhausted the form – or that he at least needed a break from this particular style. Atwood remained distant, and Rubbo never really made contact with her as a subject."