Pierre Jutras wrote:
At the height of the Quiet Revolution, Claude Jutra brought Quebec cinema directly into modernity.
Take It All (1963) is the first autobiographical feature film made in Quebec using direct cinema methods and techniques. With its unusual aesthetics focusing on the free and intimate expression of the main protagonists, Claude and Johanne, the film was received with a mix of astonished admiration and righteous indignation. Jutra had dared to recreate on screen his own love story with Johanne Harrelle, one of the first black models on the Montreal and New York fashion scene. It was the first time in America that a bed scene was filmed with a white man and a black woman. Both freely engage in mutual confession, and the game of truth leads Johanne to inquire about Claude’s possible homosexuality. They also have to face the agonizing dilemma of abortion when Johanne gets pregnant.
In this independent production, the actors improvise from their own memories. The film’s whimsical tone, with laughter and the pleasure of confiding ever present, even in the most difficult moments, give it a fresh and enduring artistic vitality.
Claude Jutra had a great talent for composition at the editing table; that is where he shaped his films. For Take It All, he began by filming most of the scenes without a detailed script. He did multiple takes so as to constitute a collection of images and sounds with which he would construct his film, in the same way that a writer works with his own lexicon of words. He would create multiple meanings in each sequence by means of a voiceover comment or dialogue, quote, music, inserted sound, onomatopoeia, etc., sometimes contradictory and always in complex, perpetual movement.
Thanks to this new access to the film, we will be better able to see how this biracial masterpiece poignantly and accurately explored taboos which the succeeding decades have failed to completely abolish.
Ripped from itunes.