À tout prendre
Claude is uncertain. He is a young bourgeois man with a number of accomplishments, but his life has reached an impasse. He begins to question the choices he's made and life's possibilities. Everything is under critical scrutiny: his family, his relationships, whether or not to become a father with his Haitian girlfriend, and most importantly, what to decide about his sexual orientation. Structured loosely as Claude's own personal confessions and filled with allusions to jazz, poetry and French New Wave cinema, À tout prendre offers up Claude's experience as symptomatic of the concerns, intellectual and otherwise, of the first post-Quiet Revolution generation of the 1960s. It is a generation that is restless, impatient, energetic, and about to assume economic and political control.
Written by and starring Claude Jutra himself, À tout prendre is often interpreted, especially after Jutra's suicide in 1986, as purely autobiographical cinema. It is and it is not. While it borrows from aspects of Jutra's life, the film is more profitably understood as a brilliant, breathtaking cinematic signature of the early 1960s zeitgeist in Montréal's intellectual and artistic bohemia. The emergent cultural and political nationalism in Québec, the burgeoning arts scene, and the sexual liberation after years of Catholic repression inform every image in À tout prendre. Moreover, with its use of French New Wave's edgy, fragmented editing patterns and foregrounding of intellectual preoccupations, À tout prendre also signalled, along with Gilles Groulx's Le chat dans le sac, the beginning of profound changes in both the look and the subject matter of contemporary cinema in Québec.
See also Canadian Feature Film.