Hot Docs 2014: Jutra (2014)
Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre’s intimate (yet expansive and inviting) short-documentary, Jutra, recites to us the evolution and premature demise of maverick Quebec filmmaker, Claude Jutra (1930-1986). Depicting his birth and subsequent journey into the cinematic-world, the film plays out only factionally in classical-animation. Combining this awfully whimsical artistic aesthetic with the more subjective, poignant, and grounded use of standard archival-footage and audio interviews, Jutra manages to pay homage to the auteur’s career while offering-up some honestly intriguing insight into the life and challenging mind behind the equally pioneering lens.
Watching Jutra unravel amidst a crisp and condensed thirteen minutes, it became clear to me that I’ve previously been exposed to the filmmaker’s vigorous work some time ago when I was studying ‘The History of Animated-Film’ back in college. Certainly, I had already viewed the very piece that apparently put director Claude Jutra on the French ‘New-Wave’ map (his starring and co-directing role with Norman McLaren on A Chairy Tale). Realizing this very fact, acknowledging that “yes, I have indeed been significantly impacted by this man’s work”, well these perhaps biased reminiscences only served to heighten my own very personal sensitivity that all hope is not lost just yet, because a film like Jutra exists. The documentary stands not only to logically shine a light on the filmmaker’s career and later untimely battle with early stages of Alzheimer’s, but the film also succeeds (in general) at highlighting Canadian cinema-iconicism-101.
In what vibes genuinely organic and non-malignant with regards to tone, construct, and execution, Jutra introduces audiences to the late great Canadian talent (and provocateur) who has been debatably lost in the cinematic-shuffle of space and time in the “unsung hero” category. While his narrative spirals into a bit of a depressing account of affairs, more importantly, I have now been sincerely struck by two extremely heartening Claude Jutra quotes that ultimately speaks volumes to the cinematic-climate the man was battling in, but on this more existential layer, his timely and somewhat indirectly cautionary words oddly tells us just how far the medium of film itself has transcended since — “Wanting to make films was more ridiculous than wanting to be an astronaut.” Or has it?
Screening Times for Jutra
TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 Mon, Apr 28 6:00 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 Tue, Apr 29 4:30 PM
Scotiabank Theatre 4 Sat, May 3 4:30 PM
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit hotdocs.ca.