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  Cycle index  
The Necessities of Life
C'est qu'il faut pour vivre
dir. Benoit Pilon / Canada 2008 / 102’
subtitles: Polish and English
Cinema of Canada
The Market Square


Natar Ungalaaq, Paul-André Brasseur, Éveline Gélinas, Vincent-Guillaume Otis, Antoine Bertrand, Guy Thauvette, Louise Marleau

Film description

The cultural collision between north and south in Canada is explored sensitively in Benoît Pilon's debut feature, The Necessities of Life. It is the story of an Inuit man named Tivi who brought from his remote northern home to a Quebec City hospital in the 1950s. Tivi has been diagnosed with tuberculosis and must be hospitalized to prevent the disease from spreading. Separated from his family, culturally deracinated, and unable to speak French, he is unable to communicate with those around him. As his isolation and desperation mounts, Tivi is helped when one of the nurses introduces him to Kaki, a young Inuit boy also housed in the hospital with same disease. Tivi and Kaki develop an instant rapport, and wonder what fate has in store for them. Sensitively written by acclaimed filmmaker Bernard Émond, The Necessities of Life is an emotionally absorbing tale about cultural alienation and geographical and spiritual exile. The film contains several powerful performances, most notably the exquisite work by Natar Ungalaaq as Tivi. Ungalaaq appears in Zacharias Kunuk's celebrated The Fast Runner.

Tom McSorley

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