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March 24 - April 1

Candid Eyes: The Films of Michel Brault and Claude Jutra

Michel Brault and Claude Jutra were at the forefront in helping Québec establish a national cinema distinct from their fellow Canadians. Jutra began making films at the age of eighteen, when he enlisted the help of Brault to produce Movement perpetual, which garnered recognition at the 1950 Canadian Film Awards. Both men went to work for the National Film Board of Canada as Québec was undergoing the radical social changes of the Quiet Revolution, which placed new values on Francophone culture. Following the lure of the French New Wave, Jutra and Brault briefly left Canada for Paris where they collaborated with Francois Truffaut, producer of Jutra’s short film Anna la bonne, and Jean Rouch, for whom Brault shot scenes for Chronicle of a Summer. On their return to Canada, they embarked on two of the most influential projects of the period.  Brault’s Pour la suite du monde (co-directed with cinéma direct pioneer Pierre Perrault) brought international acclaim to the Québécois directors’ observational approach to nonfiction filmmaking.  À tout prendre’s improvisational strategies earned Jutra praise from directors such as Jean Renoir and John Cassavetes. Continuously exploring new directions, these directors crafted an innovative and diverse body of work, influencing filmmakers around the world and defining a new cinema for Québec.

This program is co-presented with the Delegation of Québec in Boston in celebration of La semaine de la francophonie. Special thanks to Cinématèque québécoise, the National Film Board of Canada, Nanouk Films, Telefilm Canada, the Toronto International Film Festival Group and Marie Losier, Alliance Française.


March 24 (Saturday) 7 pm
March 25 (Sunday) 9 pm

Pour la suite du monde

Directed by Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault
Canada 1963, video, b/w, 105 min.
French with English subtitles

Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault were attracted to Île-aux-Coudres
for two reasons: the language of the people who lived on the small island and its fishermen, who had been catching the beluga whale for centuries. Uncovering a spirituality rooted in the moon and the rhythm of the tides this seminal documentary creates a fresco of the myths and legends among Québec’s traditional fishing communities. Film description and print courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

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March 24 (Saturday) 9:15 pm
March 25 (Sunday) 7 pm

À tout prendre

Directed by Claude Jutra
Canada 1964, 16mm, b/w, 99 min.
With Claude Jutra, Johanne Harelle, Victor Désy
French with English subtitles

Freewheeling white filmmaker Claude (Jutra) questions his identity as he becomes passionately involved with a dark-skinned fashion model (Harelle). This improvisational, autobiographical work drew inspiration from Jutra’s collaborations with directors such as Truffaut (who makes a brief cameo) and marked a sea change for Québec cinema both in terms of its edgy style and its provocative subject matter. Print courtesy of Cinematheque Québécoise.

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March 26 (Monday) 7 pm
March 27 (Tuesday) 8:30 pm

Chronicle of a Summer (Chronique d’un été)

Directed by Jean Rouch
France 1961, 35mm, b/w, 90 min.
French with English subtitles

A pioneering work of French cinéma vérité, Chronicle of a Summer
attempted to assess the mood of the country through direct contact with passersby on the Parisian boulevards, who were asked to respond to a single question posed by the sociologist Edgar Morin: "Are you happy?" The camera itself plays a very real role in the drama, especially in the famous tracking shot of Marceline, executed by Michel Brault.

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March 26 (Monday) 8:45 pm
March 27 (Tuesday) 7 pm

Les raquetteurs

Directed by Gilles Groulx and Michel Brault
Canada 1958, video, b/w, 15 min.
French with English subtitles

With great authenticity and spontaneity, Les raquetteurs records the celebration and ritual surrounding a snowshoe competition in Sherbrooke in the late 1950s. Print courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

Wrestling (La Lutte)

Directed by Michel Brault, Claude Jutra, Marcel Carriére and Claude Fournier
Canada 1961, video, b/w, 28 min.
French with English subtitles

Nothing escapes the probing camera in this candid eye view of professional wrestling at the Montréal Forum where some of the biggest bouts are staged, and in the back-street wrestling parlors where the warriors practice their art. Print courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

The End of Summer (Le Temps Perdu)

Directed by Michel Brault
Canada 1964, 16mm, b/w, 27 min.
French language version
French with English subtitles

Filmed at a summer cottage outside Montréal, The End of Summer briefly penetrates the charmed world of the adolescent with the poignant awareness that nothing will ever be the same after these idle days at the lake. Film description courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

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March 28 (Wednesday) 7 pm
March 29 (Thursday) 9:15 pm

Between Sweet and Salt Water (Entre le mer et l’eau douce)

Directed by Michel Brault
Canada 1967, 35mm, b/w, 85 min.
With Claude Gauthier, Geneviève Bujold, Paul Gauthier
French with English subtitles

Singer-songwriter Claude Gauthier stars as a young man who leaves his provincial fishing community behind to find success in the music industry. He meets and falls in love with a waitress (Bujold), but when he wins a singing contest he must reevaluate their relationship. Informed by the separatist movement in Québec, Brault’s first fiction feature is presented in a refreshingly naturalistic style. Print courtesy of TIFF Group.

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March 28 (Wednesday) 8:45 pm
March 29 (Thursday) 7 pm

Mon oncle Antoine

Directed by Claude Jutra
Canada 1971, 35mm, color, 110 min.
With Jean Duceppe, Jacques Gagnon, Lyne Champagne
French with English subtitles

Frequently voted the greatest Canadian film of all time, Mon oncle Antoine is a deeply cinematic record of ordinary life in a small Canadian mining town. The action occurs during one Christmas Eve in 1940 and develops into a tender and funny rite-of-passage essay whose unique mood is enhanced by the film’s intimate interiors and Québec’s open winter landscape.

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March 30 (Friday) 7 pm
March 31 (Saturday) 9:15 pm

Acadia Acadia?!? (L'Acadie, l'Acadie)

Directed by Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault
Canada 1971, 16mm, b/w, 75 min.
French with English subtitles

In the late 1960s, l’Université de Moncton became the setting for the awakening of Acadian nationalism after centuries of defeatism and resignation. Although 40% of the province's population spoke French, they had been unable to make their voices heard. This invaluable document of the rebirth of a people captures the behind-the-scenes action and the students' determination to bring about change. Film description and print courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada.

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March 30 (Friday) 8:45 pm
March 31 (Saturday) 7 pm

Kamouraska

Directed by Claude Jutra
Canada 1973, 35mm, color, 124 min.
With Geneviève Bujold, Richard Jordan, Marcel Cuvelier
French and English with English subtitles

As her husband lays dying, Elisabeth (Bujold) recounts her past life and loves, including her previous marriage to the seigneur of the village of Kamouraska and her illicit affair with an American doctor. Jutra’s first attempt at epic filmmaking was no easy feat; producers forced him to remove almost an hour of footage from the final cut, resulting in a compromised but still compelling vision of 19th century Québec. Print courtesy of Cinematheque Québécoise.

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April 1 (Sunday) 6 pm and 8:30 pm

Les ordres

Directed by Michel Brault
Canada 1974, 35mm, b/w, 109 min.
With Hélène Loiselle, Jean Lapointe, Guy Provost
French with English subtitles

In October 1970 the Canadian government passed an ordinance
which suspended the civil rights of the Québec people in order to infiltrate the actions of the FLQ, the left-wing separatist group responsible for a series of bombings. Michel Brault’s impassioned docudrama reenactment was a crowning achievement in the director’s prolific career. Print courtesy of Cinematheque Québécoise.

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