A new biography about Claude Jutra — an actor, writer and director who is considered one of the founding fathers of Quebec cinema — says he had sexual relations with boys as young as 13.
Yves Lever, a retired cinema professor and movie critic who wrote the biography, told Radio-Canada in an interview that Jutra "liked boys who were 14 or 15 years old and even younger."
Lever's book, to be released Tuesday, comes 30 years after Jutra's death.
The author said he conducted more than 30 interviews to write his book, and five or six people who were "very close" to Jutra corroborated specific cases of Jutra having had sexual relationships with boys in their early teens.
"The main victim did not want to speak to me," despite several requests, Lever told Radio-Canada's Alain Gravel.
Lever said he submitted the names of the people he interviewed to his publisher's lawyers to ensure the legality of his manuscript.
"I have all the necessary proof, but … I am not writing a book about pedophilia," he said.
Lever said he was surprised at the controversy caused by the four pages in his book that detail Jutra's relations with "young boys."
"If we place ourselves in the 1960s and 1970s, if we know the victims, we understand very easily why no complaints were ever filed."
Lever, who describes Jutra as an "inspiration to everyone" in the world of cinema, said he is well aware of the significance of the revelations in his book, but doesn't believe they will tarnish the reputation of the filmmaker.
Jutra's best-known films include Mon oncle Antoine and Kamouraska, with the latter starring Geneviève Bujold.
Committee to look into allegations
Ségolène Roederer, the director of Québec Cinéma, said a committee will look into the allegations.
"We have to think about the best way to continue our work and not to just react to some allegations which are not proved for now," she said.
Quebec Culture Minister Hélène David reminded Quebecers that the book has not been released yet.
"We are still dealing with allegations.… We are all prudent about something that, for the time being, has no face or name," David said.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the allegations sent shock waves throughout Quebec's cinema community.
"It's an allegation that is very, very serious, so we will take the time to look at that. We can't defend the indefensible. If this is the case, we will take concrete action, but for now we will go step by step," Coderre said.
Places in Quebec named after Claude Jutra
- Croissant Claude-Jutra in Montreal.
- Claude-Jutra Park in Montreal.
- Place Claude-Jutra in Repentigny.
- Claude-Jutra Street in Quebec City.
- Claude-Jutra Street in Lévis.
- Claude-Jutra Street in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville.
- Claude-Jutra Street in Blainville.
- Jutra Street in Candiac
- Quebec's French-language annual cinema awards La Soirée des Jutra are also named after him.
An earlier version of this story referred to allegations that Claude Jutra was a pedophile. In fact, the medical definition of pedophilia is a sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally aged 11 or younger. In his book, Lever alleges that Jutra had sex with 14- and 15-year-old boys, and possibly one as young as 13.Feb 16, 2016 1:36 PM ET