Considered one of Quebec's most influential filmmakers. He won the Canadian Film Award for Best Director for his film The True Nature of Bernadette.
He was born in Maniwaki and made films for the NFB before going independent.
He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1988 and a Grand Officer of the Ordre National du Quebec in 2007.
He had a commonlaw wife named Chloé Sainte-Marie at the time of his death.
He and renowned director Hal Ashby both won the prestigious Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.