And the Birds Rained Down
Screening: Wednesday, January 29
Genre: French Canadian drama (subtitled)
Charlie (Gilbert Sicotte) and Tom (Remy Girard) are two old men, long-time exiles from a life of workaday grind, who live off the grid beside a beautiful lake in the midst of a remote Quebec forest. Life with its simple pleasures (clear air, fresh water, and a crackling hearths) is uncomplicated until young Steve (Eric Robidoux) who delivers supplies to them, asks them to take in his elderly aunt Marie Desneiges (Audree Lachapelle) who refuses to return to the psychiatric facility where she has been unjustly and forcibly detained her whole life. The plot heats up as Marie and Charlie fall passionately in love, and then all three spot a still distant, but raging (man-made) fire that threatens the safety of their idyllic backwoods retreat. Fleeing from life’s social and emotional conflagration, Charlie and Tom had become two old birds grounded by their own regret and pain; but facing imminent fire, they finally find the courage to soar. Writer/director Louise Archambault’s film based on Canadian Jocelyne Saucier’s prize-nominated novel ultimately offers a calm and “life-affirming” meditation on choosing a life of sharing over one of isolation.