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La vie heureuse de Léopold Z
Directed byGilles Carle
Written byGilles Carle
Produced byJacques Bobet
StarringGuy L'Écuyer
Monique Joly
Suzanne Valéry
Paul Hébert
Narrated byAlbert Millaire
CinematographyJean-Claude Labrecque
Edited byWerner Nold
Music byPaul de Margerie
National Film Board of Canada
Release date
Running time
68 min 20 s

La vie heureuse de Léopold Z (English: The Merry World of Léopold Z) is a 1965 comedy-drama by Gilles Carle that played a key role in efforts to create a popular national cinema in Quebec.[1]

The film follows the misadventures of its title character, a snow plow operator for the City of Montreal, on Christmas Eve. La vie heureuse de Léopold Z incorporates documentary film footage of snow clearing in Montreal, and in fact, had been originally commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada as documentary on snow clearing, only to be turned into a fictional film by the director.The film paints a portrait of a hapless Québécois little man, battling the winter elements as well as the demands of consumerism, sexual desire and the requirement at that time for French-speaking Quebecers to speak English to be successful.[1][2]

As with other Quebec NFB films of the period, La vie heureuse de Léopold Z incorporates Direct Cinema techniques. It is also a film with a strong political point of view, with Carle intending his central character to be a "pre-revolutionary" figure, representing how the Québécois people were being exploited by a capitalist, English-speaking power structure.[1][2]

Ironically, while the film portrays a plow operator battling a traditional Montreal snow storm, an almost snowless winter meant that Carle had to film sporadically over 18 months.[3] The film would go on to win first prize in the feature films category at the Festival of Canadian Films, held as part of the 1965 Montreal International Film Festival (more commonly known now as the Montreal World Film Festival).[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Marshall, Bill (2000-10-10). Quebec National Cinema. McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 68–71. ISBN 0-7735-2116-X.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pallister, Janis L. "Québec film as a mirror of society". The cinema of Québec: Masters in their own house. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. pp. 231–233. ISBN 0-8386-3562-8.
  3. Evans, Gary (1991). In the National Interest: A Chronicle of the National Film Board of Canada from 1949 to 1989. University of Toronto Press. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-8020-2784-9.
  4. "The Merry World of Léopold Z". Collection. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 22 January 2010.

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