Claude Jutra – Wow! (1970)

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Nine teenagers act out their secret dreams and, between times, talk about their world as they see it, raising all the preoccupations of youth: authority, drugs, social conflict, and sex.

Wow! is legendary director Claude Jutra’s under-recognized epic of teenage angst and revolt, made two years before Mon Oncle Antoine. Jutra selected a group of teenagers as his documentary subjects, three girls and six boys, drawing out their opinions and attitudes about sex, politics, drugs, friends, parents, and the future. In true mentor/confessor fashion, he also drew out their intimate desires and fantasies, then dramatized them with his typically lavish NFB budget and the characters’ intense performances to make a docudrama episode film that is truly unique in the catalogue, if not world film history. Within our two national cinemas in which youth films have long been a privileged genre, Wow! takes the cake, resilient in its solidarity and tenderness (not to mention voyeurism), aching in its eve-of-Stonewall ambiguity. Added bonus: Wow! is the only NFB film ever to display nude trampoline choreography by the future producer and French studio head Monique Simard (and former elected deputy of the Parti Quebecois). – Thomas Waugh, Hot Docs Film Festival

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From the National Film Board of Canada website: Prompted by the filmmaker, nine teenagers individually act out their secret dreams and, between times, talk about their world as they see it. Babette conceives of herself as an abbess defending her fortress, a convent; Michelle is transported in a dream of love where all time ceases; Philippe is the revolutionary, defeating all the institutions that plague him, and so on, through all their fantasies. All the actual preoccupations of youth are raised: authority, drugs, social conflict, sex.

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