The Necessities of Life | Chicago Reader

The Necessities of Life

Rated NR 102 minutes 2008

In the 1950s, an Inuit hunter suffering from tuberculosis (Natar Ungalaaq) is shanghaied from his home on Baffin Island by paternalistic health authorities and held a virtual prisoner in a Quebec City charity hospital. Demoralized by culture shock, traumatized by the hideous therapies then used to treat TB, and desperate to return to the family that depends on him, the hunter tries to walk home; when that fails, he loses the will to live until a sympathetic nurse (Eveline Gelinas) arranges for another, much younger Inuit patient to join him. Writer Bernard Emond and director Benoit Pilon abjure moist racial pieties while exploring the full agony of the exiles’ plight. This 2008 Canadian drama looks made-for-TV in spots, but the acting is understated and strong. In subtitled French and Inuktitut.

Film Credits

Director: Benoît Pilon

Writer: Bernard Émond

Cast: Natar Ungalaaq, Guy Thauvette, Louise Marleau, Éveline Gélinas, Paul-André Brasseur and Vincent-Guillaume Otis

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