2019, Movies

Kuessipan (2019, Myriam Verreault)

This is a fairly typical coming of age story set in unique place. Though I have (almost) been to this part of Quebec – I’ve driven from Baie-Comeau to Labrador – I don’t think I’ve seen a film set here. Or, at the very least, one set at a Reserve in this part of Quebec. And I think I’ve never seen a film set among the Innu. So, even if it hits some familiar beats, it’s a unique version.

There’s a great sense of place and the film doesn’t have to spend much time explaining the situation. There’s only a little dialogue spent on explaining the situation, that’s mostly shown not told. There’s a lot shooting on location can do for films like this and this film is no exception – it feels like rural Quebec.

The acting is pretty good. The cast are all French actors so I’ve never seen them before, but they all acquit themselves pretty well. The lead is new – I think this is her first role – and she is excellent. Because of the uniqueness of the setting it’s harder to imagine them being played by other people, but I still think the cast does a good job of making us think these are real people.

I have two minor quibbles. The first is the soundtrack, which is very much the kind of music that you normally hear scored for this kind of movie. It just feels pretty cliche. The other quibble is a spoiler but all I’ll say is that I think a certain pivotal moment is handled slightly oddly, both a little too obscure but then it gets into a weird space where it hints at but doesn’t quite get there. It’s weird.

But, on the whole, this is a fine coming of age drama and it feels fresh due to its setting.


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