It is not a perfect film alright but on some shots you have this awesome feeling that truth is caught on camera. Some are barely acting and altogether the characters are really well written, with all the secondary plots. Jutra started as a documentary filmmaker and you can obviously feel this in this work. "Mon once Antoine" was made in the spirit of Pialat and it compares well thanks to its fantastic cast.
A marvelous reconstruction of everyday life in Quebec some time ago in the twentieth century. Through mundane activities, french-speaking culture, Canadian harsh weather and structural economic elements, Jutra attempts to frame the "Québécoise" mindset at the time. The result comes with a beautiful cinematography and a good level of sympathy towards the people responsible to create a nation within another country.
Class, community, power, politics in a still-then-fermenting Quebec; the exhilaration/demoralization/triumphs/horrors of the day-to-day business of growing up… shown as much through a perfect convergence of non-narrative elements as through any standard storytelling. Definite testament to the power of cinema that a film so understated can convey SO much. Really great.
A Quebecois classic and truly quintessential Canadian cinema. Jutra's feel for 1940's rural Quebec and for a Canadian/Quebecois identity rings genuine. Nostalgic certainly but also rang true with audiences on release in '71 and since. Performances are strong all around with naturalistic cinematography by the late Michel Brault. Those looking for a linear story and convenient wrap-ups should look elsewhere.