79 min, documentary, Canada, 2020. Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award at Hotdocs Festival
Directed byJean-François Lesage
Produced byLes Films de l'Autre
LanguagesFrench, English, Creole
Film subjects Psychology , Society , Urban Planning
Regis du cinemas, general

Buy the DVD

Film details


Night has fallen and Montreal is under a blanket of snow. At the City Transit Company, people line up at the lost and found office where upon reflection, losing something becomes a symbol of a deeper loss. The creative documentary is sometimes melancholic, sometimes festive yet always compassionate. In fact, it makes you appreciate Winter.




Written and Directed by : Jean-François Lesage

Photography : Marianne Ploska

Editing :Mathieu Bouchard-Malo and Ariane Pétel-Despots

Sound : Marie-Andrée Cormier

Sound Design : Marie-Pierre Grenier

Sound Mix : Olivier Germain

Music : Tom Brunt

Produced by : Les Films de l’Autre, Jean-François Lesage


Director's statement

With Prayer for a Lost Mitten, I set out to explore the ideas of loss and longing — a longing for what is lost. From the get-go, I wanted to imbue my work with a certain nostalgia, which I did by filming in black-and-white and adding a jazz soundtrack, nodding to certain key films of the 60s. I also felt the Lost & Found at the Société de transport de Montréal would be a great place to start looking for protagonists. I wasn’t wrong.

My approach revolves around the notion that anyone could be the subject of a documentary. Everyone has something interesting to say; you just need to take the time to listen. It’s a question of perception. This theory, so rich in creative possibility, was however put to the test during the shoot, when my protagonists proved averse to spending long hours outdoors through the cold winter nights with my team. They ended up being less generous with us than they might have been during a summer shoot. Entirely understandable, of course.

But for me the theory still holds. To up the nostalgia factor further still, my working method is inspired by the 1974 Harmonium classic “Un Musicien Parmi Tant d’Autres” and its anthemic line:

On a mis quelqu’un au monde,

on devrait peut-être l’écouter


Which roughly translates to: “We’ve brought someone into this world, we should perhaps listen to them.”


Jean-François Lesage

After studying law, Jean-François Lesage began his career as a journalist for Radio-Canada television in Alberta and British Columbia. At the end of the 90s, everything changed: shaken by the discovery of Chinese cinema, he flew to Beijing. He lived there for six years and made his first creative documentary, Sweet Nights Sour Nights (2004), then with his brother Philippe Lesage, How Can You Tell if the Little Fish are Happy? (2009). Back in Montreal, he directed A Mile End Tale (2013), closing film for Visions du Réel 2014, then A Summer Love (2015), winner of the Grand Prize for Best Canadian Feature at the RIDM. This was followed by The Hidden River (2017), Special Jury Prize Canadian feature at the RIDM, and his sixth film, Prayer for a Lost Mitten (2020), Best Canadian Feature Film Award at Hot Docs.




Prayor for a Lost Mitten (2020 / 79 min)

The Hidden River (2017 / 75 min)

A Summer Love (2015 / 63 min)
A Mile End Tale (2013 / 68 min)
How can you tell if the little fish are happy? (2009 / 100 min)
Sweet Nights Sour Nights (2004 / 52 min)


Hot Docs 2020
Best Canadian Feature Documentary Award Toronto
RIDM 2020
Prix spécial du Jury dans la compétition nationale Longs métrages Montréal
Vancouver International Film Festival 2020
Special mention - Best Canadian Documentary award competition Vancouver
CUFF.Docs Documentary Film Festival 2020
Best Documentary Feature Award Calgary
Gala Québec Cinéma / Prix IRIS 2021
Meilleur son | Film documentaire Montréal
Festival Cinéma du monde de Sherbrooke 2021
Cercle d’or Meilleur documentaire Sherbrooke
Canadian Screen Awards
Best Cinematography in a Feature Length Documentary Canada