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Set in cold rural Quebec at Christmas time, we follow the coming of age of a young boy and the life of his family which owns the town's general store and undertaking business.Written by
Steve Richer <email@example.com>
This isn't quite the best Canadian film ever, IMO. I won't get off track and name 3 or 4 better. Just a couple of nights before I'd seen "The Bicycle Thief", the highly rated Italian classic, and there are some parallels. Both filmmakers shot their film in a specific time and specific place, with minimal resources in terms of sets and cast. And the result in both cases is fascinating and a joy to watch for the realistic setting and characters alone. The lingering shots over faces and landscape almost make this worth watching on its own. That being said, this one isn't quite in the same league as the Italian classic. The movie is shot in a frigid, barren Quebec asbestos mining town. That frigidity is contrasted with the warmth of the people and the eye of the filmmaker Claude Jutra. Basically, what you get is a series of vignettes that are likely nostalgic recollections of Jutra - not ha, ha funny - but poignant, and probably sometimes difficult at the time, but now warmed over with the patine of nostalgia. The movie meanders; there is little tension. Somewhere around half to two thirds way through the story begins. Everyone you've met to this point is involved, and you've gotten to know these characters rather well; so have a little patience at the outset. The story is a good one; it will leave you thinking, and it involves sex, love and death, all the basic elements. If you like Bergman, Godard, Truffaut, all that kind of stuff, you won't be disappointed by this.
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