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Claude Jutra (Template:IPA-fr; March 11, 1930 – November 5, 1986) was a French Canadian actor, film director and writer.[1]

The Prix Jutra, and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television's Claude Jutra Award, were named in his honor because of his importance in Quebec cinema history.[2] The awards were renamed in 2016 following the publication of allegations that he had sexually abused underage children during his lifetime, as were streets named for him.[3]

Life and careerEdit

Jutra was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec as Claude Jutras.[1] His father, Albert Jutras, was a radiologist and a director of the Collège des médecins du Québec.[1] He made the short films Dément du lac Jean-Jeunes and Perpetual Movement (Mouvement perpétuel) before graduating from the Université de Montréal with a degree in medicine,[1] but turned to filmmaking instead of medical practice after completing his degree.[1] He studied theatre in Montréal (1952-53) and wrote his first original Quebec television play (L'Ecole de la peur) in 1953, and a television series, Images en boite, in 1954.

He went to work at the National Film Board of Canada in 1956 where he trained in all facets of filmmaking, although his first film for the NFB, Trio-Brio, was permanently lost when the organization moved its head office from Ottawa to Montreal.[1] As a filmmaker, he dropped the s from his surname, a common Québécois surname, because the Jutra spelling was more distinctive. In 1958 he went to France and Africa to work with noted French filmmaker, Jean Rouch.[1]

Claude Jutra's career in film, in a certain sense, paralleled Quebec cinema itself. Beginning as an amateur at a time when there was no Quebec cinema, he participated in (and sometime led) several of the principal developments in Quebec: traditional documentaries and docudramas at the NFB; the germinal period of direct cinema; the first steps in the early 1960s toward independent film production; and later trend toward large-budget features, such as Kamouraska, a box office failure now revealed to be a major work in the canon of Canadian cinema. Overall, his work had a consistent thematic pattern: young people and the (often traumatic) passage from innocence to knowledge, a theme that has nostalgic overtones.[4][5][6]

With financing and production provided by the NFB, Jutra co-wrote and directed the 1971 film Mon oncle Antoine, which until very recently has consistently been ranked as the best Canadian movie ever made. As well as directing several cinema vérité shorts such as Wrestling and The Devil's Toy, he also co-directed with Norman McLaren and starred in the innovative pixilation Academy Award-nominated short, A Chairy Tale.

He was offered the Order of Canada in 1972 but declined because he was a Quebec separatist.[7] In 1984, he was awarded the Prix Albert-Tessier, given to individuals for an outstanding career in Québec cinema.


Jutra was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease in the early 1980s.[8] He was reported missing on November 5, 1986.[9] His body was found in the St. Lawrence River in April 1987, with a note in his pocket reading "Je m'appelle Claude Jutra" ("My name is Claude Jutra");[8] an autopsy later confirmed drowning as his cause of death.[8]


In 2016, thirty years after Jutra's death, journalist Yves Lever wrote in the book Claude Jutra, biographie and claimed that Jutra was a pederast.[10] Lever said that "one of Jutra's victims was under 14 years old."[10] He also maintained that Jutra's proclivities were known by many people in the industry, "but nobody made a big deal out of it."[10] Lever's allegations were not officially proven, as no victims publicly came forward; however, in the wake of the allegations, Québec Cinéma held an emergency meeting to discuss changing the name of the Prix Jutra.[11]

On February 17, 2016 La Presse published an interview with an alleged victim of Jutra, who requested to remain anonymous, relating sexual contact ranging from embrace to oral sex from the time the victim was 6 to 16.[12] On the same day and based on the information in the same article, the Minister of Culture of Quebec, Hélène David, asked Cinéma Québec to remove the name Jutra from its prizes recognizing cinematic achievements in Quebec, which they did.[2][13] She also mandated the Commission de toponymie (Quebec Toponymy Commission), a sub-agency of Office québécois de la langue française which reports to the Minister of Culture, to assemble a list of all streets and public places in the province bearing the name Jutra.[13] On the same day, Montreal mayor Denis Coderre announced that the city would remove Jutra's name from streets and parks in its jurisdiction.[14]

Of the controversy, The Globe and Mail said: "Few legendary figures have fallen so quickly and so completely. Merely 24 hours after the official publication of the first explosive allegation of child abuse against the Canadian cinematic pioneer, the film industry and governments started scrubbing the name Claude Jutra from every trophy, park and street."

Selected filmsEdit

As actorEdit

  • A Chairy Tale (1957)
  • À tout prendre (1964)
  • Le viol d'une jeune fille douce (1968)
  • Préambule (1969) (voice)
  • Act of the Heart (1970)
  • On est loin du soleil (1971)
  • Mon oncle Antoine (1971)
  • Love on the Nose (1974) (TV)
  • Pour le meilleur et pour le pire (1975)
  • La fleur aux dents (1976)
  • Arts Cuba (1977) (voice)
  • Two Solitudes (1978)
  • Riel (1979) (TV)
  • Till Death Do Us Part (1982) (TV)
  • Bonheur d'occasion (1983)

As directorEdit

Jutra made his debut as a director with Le dément du lac Jean-Jeunes - it explored themes that remained throughout his work, a nostalgia for childhood, madness, and troubled waters.

His collaboration with Michel Brault began at this early period. Mouvement perpétuel was influenced by Jean Cocteau's Le Sang d'un poète. L'École de la peur (1953) was the first television film made in Quebec. Towards the end of the 1950s he moved to France and François Truffaut, who became a friend, asked him to direct a Cocteau scenario, Anna la Bonne (1959). In 1960 Jutra returned to Canada.


  • Le dément du lac Jean-Jeunes (Short film, 1948)
  • Perpetual Movement (Mouvement perpétuel) (Short film, 1949)
  • L'école de la peur (TV movie, 1953)
  • Pierrot des bois (Short film, 1956)
  • A Chairy Tale (Short animated film Co-Directed with Norman McLaren, 1957) (Re-Released in 1963 as part of the anthology film Seven Surprizes)
  • Les mains nettes (1958)
  • Anna la bonne (Short film, 1959), (from a scenario by Jean Cocteau)
  • À tout prendre (1963)
  • Marie-Christine (Short film, 1970)
  • Mon oncle Antoine (1971)
  • Kamouraska (1973)
  • Pour le meilleur et pour le pire (1975)
  • Ada (TV movie, 1977) (Created for TV Series For the Record)
  • Dreamspeaker (TV movie, 1977) (Created for TV Series For the Record)
  • Seer Was Here (TV movie, 1978) (Created for TV Series For the Record)
  • The Patriarch (TV movie, 1978) (Created for TV Series The Beachcombers)
  • The Wordsmith (TV movie, 1979)
  • Surfacing (1980)
  • By Design (1981)
  • Un petit bonhomme de chemin (Unfinished film, 1982)
  • The Dame in Color (La dame en couleurs) (1985)
  • My Father, My Rival (TV movie, 1985)


  • Au service de l’esprit troublé (Short film Co-Directed with Stanley Jackson, 1955)
  • Chantons maintenant (Short film, 1956)
  • Jeunesses musicales (Short film, 1956)
  • Rondo de Mozart (Short film, 1957)
  • Félix Leclerc, troubadour (Short film, 1958)
  • Fred Barry, comédien (Short film, 1959)
  • Le Niger, jeune république (Short film, 1961)
  • La Lutte (Wrestling) (Short film Co-Directed with Marcel Carrière, Claude Fournier and Michel Brault, 1961)
  • Québec-U.S.A. ou l'invasion pacifique (Short film Co-Directed with Michel Brault, 1962)
  • Petit discours de la méthode (Short film Co-Directed with Pierre Patry, 1963)
  • Ciné boum (Short film Co-Directed with Robert Russell, 1964)
  • Comment savoir... (1966)
  • The Devil's Toy (Short film, 1966)
  • Au coeur de la ville (Short film, 1969)
  • Wow (1969)
  • Québec fête juin '75 (Co-Directed with Jean-Claude Labrecque, 1976)
  • Arts Cuba (Short film, 1977)

Awards and nominations Edit

Canadian Film Awards

Genie Awards

Moscow International Film Festival

Film about Claude JutraEdit

Jutra's close friend, filmmaker Paule Baillargeon, directed the feature documentary Claude Jutra: An Unfinished Story in 2002.[17]


Besides the film awards (Claude Jutra Award and Jutra Award), a number of places bear or bore Jutra's name, all found in Quebec:[18]

Multiple parks and streets were later renamed or scheduled to be renamed after the pederasty controversy in 2016.[3]

Further readingEdit

Books and thesis

  • CARRIER-LAFLEUR, Thomas, Une philosophie du « temps à l’état pur ». L’autofiction chez Proust et Jutra, Paris : Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, Québec : Les Presses de l’Université Laval (Zêtêsis : Esthétiques), 2010, 215 p.
  • GARNEAU, Michèle, « Pour une esthétique du cinéma québécois », Thèse de doctorat en Littérature comparée, option théorie et épistémologie, Montréal, Université de Montréal, 1997.
  • LEACH, Jim, Claude Jutra filmmaker, Montreal/Kingston/London/Ithaca, McGill-Queen’s University Press (Films Studies), 1999, XII-306 p.
  • Template:Cite book


  • BELLEMARE, Denis, « Narcissisme et corps spectatorielle », in Cinémas, vol. nos 1-2, fall 1996, p. 37-54.
  • BRADY, James, « À tout prendre : fragments du corps spéculaire », in Copie Zéro, Revue de cinéma, no 37 (October 1988), p. 23-26.
  • MARSOLAIS, Gilles, « À tout prendre », in Lettres et écritures, Revue des Étudiants de la Faculté des Lettres de l’Université de Montréal, vol. I, no 2 (February 1964), p. 35-41.
  • MARSOLAIS, Gilles, « Au delà du miroir... », in Cinéma : acte et présence, Québec, Éditions Nota bene, 1999, p. 189-203.
  • WAUGH, Thomas, « Je ne le connais pas tant que ça: Claude Jutra », in Nouvelles « vues » sur le cinéma québécois (on line), no 2, summer-fall 2004.
  • SIROIS-TRAHAN, Jean-Pierre, « Le devenir-québécois chez Claude Jutra. Autofiction, politique de l’intime et le je comme faux raccords », in Nouvelles « vues » sur le cinéma québécois (on line), no 11, fall 2010.



External linksEdit

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