Jutra then left the NFB to tackle his first independent full-length feature À TOUT PRENDRE (1963). This autobiography in fictional guise broached such subjects as interracial love, homosexuality, and bohemian life, and launched the new Quebec cinema. After shooting several shorts and a full-length feature, Wow (1969), all at the NFB, he directed Mon oncle Antoine, which takes place in a small mining town in the late 1950s, on Christmas Eve, and sensitively presents a young man approaching adulthood. The film was the recipient of numerous prizes that earned Jutra a solid reputation as a filmmaker. He then tackled a far-reaching co-production, Kamouraska (1973), based on Anne HÉBERT's novel, but it failed to meet expectations, and did not satisfy the director. In 1983, Jutra would remake a long version that conformed to his wishes. Following this disappointment, Jutra shot Pour le meilleur et pour le pire (1975), a comedy about marriage. His plans did not materialize, and Jutra left to work for the English network of Radio-Canada. His films Ada (1977), Dreamspeaker (1977), Seer Was Here (1978) and The Wordsmith (1979) rank among the best Canadian films for TV.
He returned to cinema with Surfacing (1980), from the novel by Margaret ATWOOD, and By Design (1981), shot in Vancouver. In this humorous portrayal of two lesbians, his enthusiasm, sensitivity and irony showed through. He returned to Québec to direct La Dame en couleurs (1984), which took place in a 1940s orphanage. That year he won the prix Albert-tessier. Likely suffering from the Alzheimer's disease that had undermined him for several years, he took his own life in 1986, and his body was found in the St Lawrence River at Cap-Santé (Québec) on 19 April 1987. Jutra occupies a major place in Québec cinema, as much for the originality of his work as for his fate, and several locations in Québec and Canada, as well as prizes and scholarships bear his name.
Author PIERRE VÉRONNEAU
Links to Other Sites
Jutra Tribute Award
The Jutra Awards were established in 1999 to honour the talent in and behind Quebec films. At this annual event, the industry’s professional associations present the Jutra Tribute Award to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Quebec cinema.
A Chairy Tale
This Oscar-nominated short film is a collaborative effort by Norman McLaren, Claude Jutra, and Evelyn Lambart. Features musical accompaniment by Ravi Shankar and Chatur Lal. From the National Film Board of Canada.