On DVD: June 16th, 2009
Rated PG for language and crude content.
Running time: 102 minutes
Benoît Pilon (dir.)
Bernard Émond (screenplay)
Robert M. Lepage (music)
Denis Bernard as Père Millaire
Paul-André Brasseur as Kaki
Éveline Gélinas as Carole
Elisapie Isaac as Femme inuite
Vincent-Guillaume Otis as Joseph
Natar Ungalaaq as Tiivii
Natar Ungalaaq and Paul-Andre Brasseur in The Necessities of Life - an E1 Films release
Our reviews below:
Ce qu’il Faut Pour Vivre (The Necessities of Life) Review By John C.
***1/2 (out of 4)
Ce Qu’il Pour Vivre (The Necessities of Life) is a moving and beautiful Canadian film about love, friendship and the necessities that we all need to live. When Inuit man, Tiivii (Natar Ungalaaq), is found to have tuberculosis, he is uprooted from his family and brought to a sanatorium in Quebec City. When the nurses realize that Tiivii is getting depressed being away from his family, and the only one who can speak his language, they bring in a young Inuit boy, Kaki (Paul-Andre Brasseur). Kaki is the first person he has met in some time that can actually understand him. But Kaki also speaks French, so he is able to be a translator.
The film is a heartbreaking and real portrayal of a friendship. I highly recommend you see it. It was inevitable that Passchendaele was going to win the Genie for Best Picture, but this film is just as good if not better.
The DVD includes audio commentaries, a photo gallery and the films trailer. Most of the special features are in French only.
Ce qu’il Faut Pour Vivre (The Necessities of Life) Review By Erin V.
***1/2 (out of 4)
Ce qu’il Faut Pour Vivre, (The Necessities of Life), is a beautiful Canadian drama set in the early 1950’s.
The movie opens up North, where we are introduced to the main character of the story, Tiivii. Tiivii and his wife, and their two young daughters, live a traditional Inuit life. When a ship comes into the harbour, all the people in Tivii’s village are to go on board to be tested for Tuberculosis. Those who turn up positive are to go South for treatment. When Tiivii is told that he has ‘TB’, he has to stay on the boat, while his family leaves with hardly the time to say goodbye. When he finally arrives in Québec City, he is disoriented and confused. He has now been thrust into a world of large trees, white people, and everyone speaking French. Becoming increasingly depressed, it is not until he meets Kaki, (through a nurse named Carole who tries to help him understand her world as best she can), a young Inuk boy who speaks both languages. Kaki becomes a friend and translator to Tiivii, while Tiivii in return teaches Kaki, orphaned at a young age, the Inuit stories and way of life.
This is an emotional, and very well made Canadian film. Winning many awards at the Genie Awards, over giant Passchendaele shows just how good this film, particularly the acting from lead Natar Ungalaaq really is. From the score, to the landscapes, to the acting, and story, Ce qu’il Faut Pour Vivre is a film that is worth checking out, no matter what language you speak. Although the film is mainly in French and Inuktitut, it is subtitled well in English, and easy enough to follow along. I would definitely recommend watching this Canadian gem.
Ce qu’il Faut Pour Vivre (The Necessities of Life) Review By Nicole
***1/2 (out of 4)
The Necessities of Life is a thought provoking Canadian movie about Inuit culture. Set in the 1950’s, the movie follows Tiivii, an Inuk family man who contracts tuberculosis, and as a result, has to leave his family to receive treatment in a Quebec City sanatorium. This new world is confusing to Tiivii. Nobody speaks his language, the food is different, and even the landscape is foreign, with warmer weather and lots of big trees. Tiivii is also concerned that there is no one to hunt food for his family. So Tiivii keeps attempting to run away back to his Arctic home, much to the annoyance of hospital staff. There is one nurse, however, named Carole who recognizes why Tiivii is so confused and frustrated. So she brings in another Inuk tuberculosis patient, from another hospital. The patient, Kaki, is a young orphan, who speaks Tivii’s language as well as French. Kaki acts as a translator between Tiivii and the francophones, and Tiivii becomes like the father that Kaki lost. Tiivii reintroduces Kaki to the Inuit culture that he had forgotten after being hospitalized so long. The two develop a close bond, and Tiivii hopes to adopt Kaki when they both get out.
The Necessities of Life is an emotional and believable film. Parts of the film are quite sad, due to the subject matter, but are realistic to the story. There are also some funny lines, as well as many heartwarming moments. The acting in this movie is excellent, and the shots of the Arctic tundra are beautiful. This is one well made Canadian film that is definitely worth watching.
Ce qu’il Faut Pour Vivre (The Necessities of Life) Review By Maureen
***1/2 (out of 4)
The Necessities of Life is a gentle and powerful film about the early 1950’s tuberculosis (TB) epidemic in Canada’s Far North. The story follows an Inuit man, Tiivii (Natar Ungalaaq) who is diagnosed with TB and transported to a sanatorium far away in Quebec City.
Tivii’s complete isolation is obvious when everyone in the sanatorium speaks only French. Tivii’s inability to communicate affects his will to recover. One of the nurses, Carole (Eveline Gélines) recognizes Tivii’s frustration and arranges for another patient, and Inuit boy named Kaki (Paul-Andre Brassuer), who speaks both French and his native language to spend time with Tiivii. Tiivii and Kaki develop a friendship with Tiivii sharing Inuit legends and customs with the orphaned Kaki. Once Tiivii begins to recover, he expresses his wish to adopt Kaki and bring him North so the boy can learn to live his heritage. As Tiivii puts it to the local priest, he is more than prepared to give Kaki ‘the necessities of life’.
This is a really nicely done, low-key, believable Canadian drama. The acting is superb. Natar Ungalaaq deserved his Genie award for his portrayal of Tiivii.
The visuals of Northern Canada are nice to see, and the music score fit the mood perfectly. The English subtitles are easy to follow.
The 2009 Genies rightfully recognized “Ce Qu’il Faut Pour Vivre” (The Necessities of Life) Director Benoit Pilon, with the award for Best Director. The film also took the awards for Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Actor.
I would love to see this movie shown in Canadian history classes across Canada. It is easily accessible in both French and in English with subtitles. It’s two bad the DVD extras are in French only.
Whether you buy the DVD or rent it, ‘Ce Qu’il Faut Pour Vivre’ (The Necessities of Life) is worth checking out. Vraiment, un film Canadien excellent.
Ce qu’il Faut Pour Vivre (The Necessities of Life) Review By Tony
***1/2 (out of 4)
Ce qu'il Faut Pour Vivre est l’histoire de Tiivii (Natar Ungalaaq), un chasseur Inuk1 de L’Isle Baffin forcé en 1952 de quitter sa femme et deux filles à cause de la tuberculose. Après un long voyage, il se trouve au Sanitorium à Québec dans un monde de grands arbres totalement étranger. Il faut se faire comprendre par des gestes, parce que personne ne parle sa langue. Tiivii s’occupe des dessins d’animaux dans son cahier, mais après quelque mois, de plus en plus déprimé, il refuse de plus manger. Une gentille infirmière Carole (Éveline Gélinas) arrange d’un autre hôpital le déménagement d’un garçon Kaki (Paul-André Brasseur), qui sait parler et français et inuktitut. Kaki ayant perdu toute sa famille, Tiivii le regarde comme un fils et propose de l’adopter. Il lui racconte des histoires traditionnelles et lui enseigne à faire des petits sculptures de bois. Kaki peut proposer qu’on commence à servir de la vraie nourriture: du saumon cru. Tiivii est introduit enfin à un prêtre (Denis Bernard) fluent en inuktitut, ayant été missionaire au nord. Je vous laisse à découvrir ce qui arrive après.
Même que le film nous fait toujours sentir l’isolation de Tiivii, il n’est pas sans humour. Par exemple, quand Tiivii et Kaki se rencontrent, Tiivii lui dit qu’il a un drole d’accent. Kaki répond: “Toi aussi.” Quand Carole refuse de “rire” avec Tiivii selon la tradition inuit d’hospitalité, Kaki lui explique qu’on ne pourra jamais comprendre les blancs. L’évêque approuve l’adoption grace aux petits mensonges du prêtre que Tiivii était marié et a fait baptiser ses enfants dans une église Catholique.
Ce qu'il Faut Pour Vivre est un film tendre et sensible. Même qu’il se déroule lentement, il vaut bien le temps.
1Inuk: singulier des Inuit, nommés Esquimaux à l’époch du film (et toujours aux E. U.), dont la langue est inuktitut.
Consensus: A beautiful Canadian film, whether or rent it or buy it Ce Qu'il Pour Vivre (The Necessities of Life), is definitely worth seeing. ***1/2 (Out of 4)