The Ballad of Hard Times

La Turlute des années dures released in 1983, explores the Quebecois Great Depression with poignant testimonials and popular songs. Forty years later, it remains relevant in the face of persistent social inequalities. 


In 1983, a film about the Great Depression enjoys impressive popular and critical success. La Turlute des années dures exposes the misery that struck Quebec and the resilience of the people who relived this period through powerful and moving testimonies. Sometimes tinged with biting irony, the film takes the form of a musical tragedy, placing popular songs of the time at its core, punctuating and rhythmically blending carefully selected archival footage. Forty years later, this work, now part of the cinematic heritage, reminds us that history repeats itself, social inequalities continue to deepen, and the system remains just as ruthless.

Theme(s): , Economy, Human Rights, Music, Sociology


Director | , Pascal Gélinas, Richard Boutet
Year | , 1983
Country | , Québec
Duration | 90 minutes
Original language | , French
Image | Robert Vanherweghem
Music | Gilles Garant, Pascal Gélinas
Editing | Francis Van Den Hewel
Production | Lucille Veilleux



Pascal Gélinas


Pascal shot his first film in 1966. Toute la vérité sur la vie tumultueuse de Franz Schubert, a short fiction film, won the Special Jury Prize at Radio-Canada's Images en tête competition, and represented Canada at the International Amateur Film Festival in Madrid. From 1984 to 2009, Pascal was a producer on Radio-Canada's Science-Réalité and Découverte programs. He previously directed Montréal-Blues (1973), co-directed with Pierre Harel Taire des hommes (1968), and La turlute des années dures (1983) with Richard Boutet. This film won the Prix de la critique in Quebec, as well as the Sesterce d'argent and Prix Oecuménique at the Festival international du Cinéma in Nyon, Switzerland. In 2006, Pascal shot and directed Le porteur d'eau, which won awards in Quebec, France and Tunisia. In 2009, he directed a film about his father, Gratien Gélinas, un géant aux pieds d'argile, which won the Prix Gémeaux for best documentary screenplay. In 2013, he directed Huguette Oligny, le goût de vivre, which won the Prix Gémeaux for best biography. Then, in 2016, he shot Un pont entre deux mondes, a film that won some 15 awards in America, Europe and Asia.


Richard Boutet


Richard Boutet's career as a director and producer has produced a number of award-winning films and videos, including Best Feature Film at the 1991 World Film Festival, the L.-E.-Ouimet-Molson Award for Best Quebec Feature Film in 1984, and the Ecumenical Prize at the Nyon International Film Festival. Richard Boutet is a committed filmmaker, as much for his social concerns as for his desire to renew documentary filmmaking.



1 August 2024 at 20h45

Parc Molson 

A discussion with the co-director Pascal Gélinas and the producer Lucille Veilleux will follow the screening.