National Film Board of Canada honours the late Jean Beaudin and his outstanding contributions to our cinema.
May 21, 2019 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) wishes to pay tribute to director, screenwriter and editor Jean Beaudin, who has died at the age of 80. Over the course of a 50-year-long career, Beaudin directed some of the most significant films in the history of Quebec cinema—among them the Cannes-award-winning J.A. Martin Photographe (J.A. Martin Photographer, NFB) and Being at Home with Claude (Les Productions du Cerf/NFB)—as well as some of our most memorable television series, including Les filles de Caleb.
“Jean Beaudin’s extraordinary contributions to filmmaking are to be celebrated and cherished,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB. “Displaying great sensitivity and an exacting touch, a keen sense for images, and a remarkable talent for directing actors, he brought to the screen the lives of simple people, as well as complex stories by Quebec writers. Some of his most important works are in the NFB’s collection, and we’re extremely proud of that,” he added.
Highlights of Jean Beaudin’s career
- Jean Beaudin joined the NFB in 1964 after studying at the École des beaux-arts in Montreal and the School of Design in Zurich, Switzerland. He first worked on animated films before switching to live-action fiction—the genre for which he would become most famous—with the experimental film Vertige (1969), followed by the feature Stop. In 1972, he directed the privately funded Le diable est parmi nous.
- He made four short and medium-length films in succession at the NFB, the start of his collaboration with acclaimed cinematographer Pierre Mignot: Les indrogables (1972), Trois fois passera… (1973), Par une belle nuit d’hiver (1974) and Cher Théo (Dear Theo, 1975). In many ways, they laid the foundations for the great feature-length works that were to follow.
- In 1976, he directed one of his most important films at the NFB, with Mignot once again serving as cinematographer: J.A. Martin Photographe (J.A. Martin Photographer) was selected to screen at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Ecumenical Jury Prize as well as the Best Actress Award (presented to Monique Mercure). It went on to become a classic of Quebec cinema.
- Beaudin was also part of the directing team that made Jeux de la XXIe olympiade (Games of the XXI Olympiad), the fascinating documentary portrait of the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal. The film was released in 1977.
- Working again with Mignot at the NFB, in 1979 he made the historical feature Cordélia, with Louise Portal in the title role, followed in 1984 by Mario, from a novel by Claude Jasmin. Both films were successful, winning awards in Canada and abroad.
- After directing the privately funded Le matou (1985) both as a feature film and a TV miniseries, he returned to the NFB to make La bioéthique: Une question de choix – L’homme à la traîne (1986) and, most memorably, 1992’s Being at Home with Claude, co-produced with Les Productions du Cerf and starring Roy Dupuis and Jacques Godin in a powerful adaptation of the stage play by René-Daniel Dubois.
- In the 1990s and early 2000s, Beaudin would direct some of the most memorable series in the history of Quebec television, beginning with Les filles de Caleb, a massive hit, and continuing with Miséricorde, Shehaweh, Ces enfants d’ailleurs, and Willie.
- He continued to make theatrical features during this period, helming Memories Unlocked (1998), from a novel by Monique Proulx; The Collector (2002), based on the book by Chrystine Brouillet; the sweeping historical drama Battle of the Brave (2004); and the psychological thriller Without Her (2005).
- Jean Beaudin was made a Knight of the Order of Quebec in 2016 and received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 2017. To mark the latter occasion, the NFB produced the short film For the Love of the Fight, directed by Tara Johns.
NFB Publicist – Montreal
Director, Communications and Public Affairs, NFB
About the NFB
The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.