Cinequest Feature The Necessities of Life

The Necessities of Life

(Canada) Baffin Island, 1952: an Inuk (Inuit) hunter named Tivii (Natar Ungalaaq) is picked up by a hospital ship, tested, transported and quarantined for tuberculosis in a Quebec City hospital. Almost totally isolated, he first tries to escape and then to commit suicide. Finally, he encounters an orphan boy, Kaki (Paul Andre Brasseur), who understands his language; the child helps him communicate with the white doctors keeping him captive. Ungalaaq is excellent in the lead role: both in mute scenes as he sinks into himself or when telling Kaki a ghost story, using a cats-cradle as a prop. Ultimately, this very sad and very formal drama is a little too polished to really get under your skin. Still, this is a handsome, honorable work. Through immaculate art direction, the film achieves its desired effect of making the white man’s world seem cluttered, frightening and repugnant, compared to the way Tivii remembers his land. (RvB)

Feb. 27 at 7:45pm, March 1 at 1:45m and March 2 at 4:15pm, all at Camera 12.

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