Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ce qu'il faut pour vivre (The Necessities of Life)

Given all the praises that Ce qu'il faut pour vivre has received, I decided to rent this film yesterday. Honestly, I didn't personally like the film, because it really bored me to death. Moreover, I couldn't believe that this film was Canada's latest official entry for the Oscar. However, despite its slow pace, the film did deserve its praises and sure will find a public of its own.

The story takes place in 1952 and follows Tivi (Natar Ungalaaq), an Eskimo from the Baffin Islands. Given that he's sick, Tivi is brought to Quebec City by boat in order to have his disease treated at the Hôpital de la charité. Once there, Tivi will feel alone among white patients, because he doesn't speak French and these white people don't speak Inuktitut. Moreover, this also makes communication between the hospital's staff and Tivi quite hard. However, despite feeling far from his family, Tivi feels less lonely when he meets Kaki (Paul-André Brasseur), a young Eskimo patient, who can speak French and help him.

Obviously, I don't need to tell you how much I found this film extremely boring to death. However, at the same time, it's good to see films about Aboriginal Canadians being made. On that note, even though I don't feel like saying anything constructive about this film, I have to admit that Benoît Pilon's film is a good film about loneliness when one is among people who don't understand one's language and vice versa. With that said, although the film's point wasn't to make itself look like a historical film, Ce qu'il faut pour vivre can be seen by many as a simple and beautiful film saying that no matter how people are culturally unrelated, it's always possible to build bridges. This can be seen through the white patients' condescension towards Tivi and later on their comprehension toward him since they're commonly affected by a disease.

Finally, as I say it, many of you might not like this film. However, if there's something that I did like about Ce qu'il faut pour vivre is the well-chosen cast's performance. As Tivi, Natar Ungalaaq is a proof that you don't have to be a star to possess a remarkable talent.

Rating: 4/5

Origin:Canada (2008)
Length:104 minutes
Screenplay:Bernard Émond
Director:Benoît Pilon
Starring:Natar Ungalaaq, Éveline Gélinas and Paul-André Brasseur

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