(b. February 6, 1939)
Jean Beaudin is a director, editor and writer whose films have been well received both at home and abroad, but particularly in his native Quebec. Audiences and critics have embraced his penchant for intense but sympathetic characters, most of whom experience dramatic personal growth during the film’s trajectory. Many of his earlier films present a tableau of Québécois life and popular culture, but his most recent projects reveal his fondness for crime dramas and psychological thrillers.
Beaudin joined the NFB in 1964 following studies in fine arts and design. He made numerous educational films, including film series on mathematics and geometry and the award-winning psychological study Vertige (1968), where he began developing his unique aesthetic. He made his first feature, Stop (1970), after which, he opted to leave the NFB for the private sector. He made an unsuccessful feature on satanism, Le diable est parmi nous (1972), before returning to the NFB in 1972.
In the 1970s, Beaudin made almost a dozen films of varying lengths. The features that he wrote, directed and edited received the greatest recognition: Cher Théo (1975), J.A. Martin, photographe (1975) and Cordélia (1979). In fact, for many years, Beaudin was best known for J.A. Martin, photographe, an evocative film that not only demonstrated his ability to bring compelling performances to the screen but also established his subtle visual style and supple rhythms. The film received much critical acclaim, winning the Prix Ecuménique at the Cannes Film Festival, where it also drew Robert Altman’s attention to the cinematography of Pierre Mignot. Like its contemporaries, Mon oncle Antoine and Les ordres, J.A. Martin, photographe has consistently been nominated as one of the best Canadian features ever made. It was named best feature at the 1976 Canadian Film Awards.
Many of Beaudin’s feature films of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Mario (1984), Le matou (1985), Being at Home with Claude (1991) and Souvenirs intimes (1999), did well both at the box office and among critics, and earned several Genie nominations for Beaudin’s work as director, editor, screenwriter and producer. During this period, he began directing for television with tremendous success; he won the Prix Gémeaux for his work on the series L’or et le papier (1989), Les filles de Caleb (1990–1991), Shehaweh (1992) and Miséricorde (1994).
Beaudin is particularly accomplished at drawing on existing material and adapting it to the screen with his own personal vision. Le matou is an adaptation of the Serge Beauchemin classic; Being at Home with Claude, the work of the acclaimed playwright René-Daniel Dubois; and Souvenirs intimes, which won the award for best Canadian feature at the 1999 Montreal World Film Festival, is the cinematic adaptation of a Monique Proulx novel.
At a time in life when many people contemplate retirement, Jean Beaudin continues to produce some of his best work. His most recent film, Le collectioneur (2002) is an adaptation of a suspense novel by Chrystine Brouillet, whose writing the filmmaker hopes to draw on again. It received four Genie nominations for 2002, including one for best direction.
Film and video work includes
Géométrie series, 1966 (director)
Mathématiques series, 1967 (director)
Vertige, 1968 (director)
Et pourquoi pas?, 1969 (director)
Stop, 1970 (director)
Le diable est parmi nous, 1972 (director)
Les indrogables, 1972 (director; editor)
Trois fois passera . . ., 1973 (director; editor)
Par une belle nuit d'hiver, 1974 (director; editor)
Cher Théo, 1975 (director; co-writer with Jacques Jacob; editor)
Jeux de la XXIe 0lympiade, 1977 (co-director with Marcel Carrière, Georges Dufaux, Jean-Claude Labrecque)
Cordélia, 1979 (director; co-writer with Marcel Sabourin; editor)
Mario, 1984 (director; co-writer with Jacques Paris, Arlette Dion; co-producer with Jacques Bonet, Hélène Verrier)
Le matou, 1985 (director)
La bioéthique: une question de choix - L'homme à la traîne, 1986 (director; writer)
Mount-Royal series, 1987-1988 (director; TV)
L'or et le papier, 1989 (director; TV)
Les filles de Caleb, 1990-1991 (director; TV)
Shehaweh, 1992 (director; TV)
Les minutes du patrimoine series, 1993 (director, two episodes)
Craque la vie!, 1994 (director; TV)
Miséricorde, 1994 (director; TV)
Big Wolf on Campus series, 1995 (director; TV)
Ces enfants d'ailleurs series, 1996-1997 (director; TV)
The Hunger II series, 1998-1999, (director; TV)
Souvenirs intimes, 1998 (director; co-writer with Monique Proulx)
Willie series, 2000 (director; co-writer with Claude Paquette, Marcel Sabourin; TV)
Le collectionneur, 2002 (director; writer)