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Les Mains nettes

Year: 1958
Language: French
Format: 16mm Black & White
Runtime: 73 min
Director: Claude Jutra
Producer: Guy Glover, Léonard Forest
Writer: Fernand Dansereau
Cinematographer: Michel Brault, Jean Roy
Editor: Gilles Groulx, Victor Jobin, David Mayerovitch, Raymond Boursier
Sound: Bernard Bordeleau, Marcel Carrière, Marguerite Payette
Music: Maurice Blackburn
Cast: Lucie Mitchell, Monique Joly, Roger Lebel, Denise Provost, Michel Maillot, Jean Brousseau, Teddy Burns-Goulet, Doris Lussier, Monique Chailler, Micheline Guérin
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada
In the offices of a Quebec company, the white-collar workers face dull, monotonous jobs day after day. A new director of personnel arrives and, in a domineering manner, sets about modernizing the administration. His first action is to try and fire an old employee with forty-five years of loyal service. The others rebel against this, but, having no union, their solidarity comes too late and most of them are dismissed.

Claude Jutra’s first dramatic feature, Les Mains nettes was originally presented in four thirty-minute episodes on the Panoramique television series and later re-edited as a feature. It offers a remarkable social and psychological portrait of middle-class office workers, trapped by insecurity and their background. Though perhaps unnecessarily schematic in structure, the film represents many of the attitudes that were to reappear in later Quebec films, including an anti-authoritarian, pro-union and anti-Catholic bias, and a concern over the problems of urbanization in a once predominantly rural culture.