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Jesus of Montreal (1989)

Jésus de Montréal (original title)
A group of actors put on an unorthodox, but acclaimed Passion Play which incites the opposition of the Catholic Church while the actors' lives themselves begin to mirror the Passion itself.



Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 18 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine Wilkening ...
Johanne-Marie Tremblay ...
Robert Lepage ...
Gilles Pelletier ...
Fr. Leclerc
Richard Cardinal
Cédric Noël
Pauline Martin
Véronique Le Flaguais
Jean-Louis Millette
Monique Miller
Christine-Ann Atallah
Valérie Gagné
Claude Léveillée


A group of actors putting on an interpretive Passion Play in Montreal begin to experience a meshing of their characters and their private lives as the production takes form against the growing opposition of the Catholic church. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

25 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jesus of Montreal  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,601,612 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The play in the opening scene appears to be a dramatization of the novel 'The Brothers Karamazov'. Smerdyakov tells Ivan Karamazov that he has murdered Fyodor, inspired by the philosophy he learned from Karamazov. Smerdyakov's suicide monologue is adapted from the diaries of the monk, Father Zossima. See more »


The Judge: [reads court psychologist report] Better adjusted than most of the judges in this court.
See more »


Referenced in The Barbarian Invasions (2003) See more »


Inflammatus et Accensus
Pergolesi - Stabat Mater
See more »

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User Reviews

An awesome historical and religious "WhatIf"
25 June 2004 | by (Montreal) – See all my reviews

What if Jesus had been born in the year 1970 instead of year 1, and as unheralded now as He was then- how would our society have dealt with Him?

And if people can get possessed by the Devil, can a regular guy -- not a nut or a fraud -- become gradually and genuinely possessed by Jesus?

Denys Arcand answers both questions in clever and entertaining fashion. With actual events, people, words and thoughts from Jesus' life being transposed to our modern times. Of course a movie like this is aimed at people who don't turn both their brain cells off as they enter the movie house, and won't be happy with 90 minutes of gunshots, car chases, or Jesus being whipped.

And yet this highly hypothetical parable still comes off as a plausible dramatic tale, with the usual Arcand mix of tragedy and comedy. You could have never heard of Jesus and still enjoy this movie.

The cinematography is gorgeous and the main actors are uniformly excellent. Some of the minor characters bother me intensely, which they are meant to do -- they're just too darn good at it.

The script and direction are nicely conventional - in the sense that at no time does the viewer wonder who that guy is or what the heck is going on. Jarring "artsy" cuts, unannounced flashbacks and weird camera angles are many critics' cup of tea but not mine, and thankfully, not Arcand's either.

There is quite a bit of tension-relieving slapstick in this story; some viewers may like it- it *is* funny, but it makes me uncomfortable at times. And the ending is a bit of an anticlimax, although at the second viewing I think I began to see the light.

I originally rated this movie 8/10, but after seeing it again I got more in tune with it and also noticed a few very clever details, so I'm upping it to 9/10. Maybe 10/10 when I see it next.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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