Claude’s coming out in A tout prendre (Claude Jutra, Canada, 1963)

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One of the earliest ‘coming out scenes’ in a narrative fiction film and the finest, most poetic and evocative, in New Wave/ Cinema direct cinema.

Johanne: Claude are you homosexual

Claude: What?

Johanne: ARE YOU HOMOSEXUAL

#crash of cymbals. Then, in voice over:

Claude: I don’t say yes nor do I say no.

Thus escapes the secret I kept sequestered for a time dating longer than my first memories. Johanne did that. From her women’s hands she has absolved me of the heaviest of my burdens. She made me admit the inadmissible and I felt no shame and I felt no hurt. And now everything has changed because that imperious aspiration never fulfilled, full of torment as it was, now takes the form of a hope.

 

 

The line — ‘that imperious aspiration never fulfilled, full of torment as it was, now takes the form of a hope’ — is repeated only moments later when Claude clearly has sex with a man who asks him, ‘What we did today, was it any good? ‘That’s of no importance’. ‘What’s important?’ ‘Finally!’.

 

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