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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 & 11 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Johanne-Marie Tremblay ...
Richard Cardinal
Cédric Noël ...
Pascal Berger
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>

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Release Date:

25 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jesus of Montreal  »

Filming Locations:



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Gross USA:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Daniel coaches the players at the first rehearsal, he tells them " Beget a temperance". Rene continues "..in the whirlwind of passion". They are quoting from Hamlet Act 2 Sc 2, when Hamlet instructs the players on how to perform the upcoming play-within-a-play. Earlier, Rene had asked Daniel if he could deliver Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy in the production. (He did). See more »


Around 1:46:21. Boom mic enters the shot twice above Constance when she's talking to the ambulance paramedic at the hospital. See more »


Court Psychologist: Having to act in a passion play on the mountain... don't you ever feel this is ridiculous?
Daniel: No. The subject is great, though not very original.
Court Psychologist: Sure. But this part for an actor is somewhat flimsy, wouldn't you say?
Daniel: I don't know. The part of Jesus is not what I would call flimsy work.
Court Psychologist: You did come up with the private conservatory. Wouldn't you like to have a bright career and play the major theatres?
Daniel: I was away awhile. Seems normal to start at the bottom of the ladder.
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Quando Corpus Morietur
from "Stabat Mater"
Written by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (as G.B. Pergolesi)
Performed by Christine-Ann Atallah and Valérie Gagn
Conducted by François Dompierre
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User Reviews

A beautiful film about the meaning of spirituality

"Jesus of Montreal" is a beautiful film about the real meaning of spirituality. Pitted against the inflexibility of religious institutions, Daniel (played wonderfully by Lothaire Bluteau) shows his rag-tag disciples the real meaning behind the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The story-within-the-story works well. Director Denys Arcand subtly begins to blend the story of the biblical Jesus with the day-to-day lives of a group of actors performing in a play about the last days of Jesus. The turning over of the tables in the Temple, the temptation of Jesus overlooking the city of Jerusalem, being abandoned by the male disciples, and many other tales of Jesus find their parallel in the lives of Daniel and his friends. The resurrection scene at the end of the film is a particularly moving overlapping of the two stories. In the hands of a lesser writer/director, this could have all been really trite. Instead, the film becomes in the truest sense of the term a parable in which we see how great truths from a great teacher really do apply in our own lives. Every performance is pitch perfect, the pace is just right, and the message is, as always, what we all need to remember: Real happiness lies not in what we have but in what we give. A ten out of ten film.

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