Wednesday, February 19, 2020
And the Birds Rained Down (aka Il Pleuvant des Oiseaux) – Canada
Show Times: 6:30 & 8:50 pm
Director: Louise Archambault
Cast: Rémy Girard, Kenneth Welsh, Andree Lachapelle, Gilbert Sicotte
Runtime: 127 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles
San Sebastian International Film Festival: Audience Award, Louise Archambault. Toronto International Film Festival: Best Canadian Film Nominee. Two other nominations.
“This eco-friendly, elegantly delivered tale about the sunset changes in the lives of a trio of graybeards living in the woods is engaging, thought-provoking and ultimately moving.”—Jonathan Holland, Hollywood Reporter
Louise Archambault delivers a bittersweet and poignant love story with And the Birds Rained Down. This soulful adaptation of Jocelyn Saucier’s award winning novel is a tender romance and tale of second chances. It’s a story of golden oldies, Tom (Rémy Girard) and Charlie (Gilbert Sicotte), who seek peace by escaping the city. They retreat to the woods and enjoy life away from the daily grind.
Even hermits enjoy the company of women and Tom and Charlie are soon joined by two females. First to arrive is a plucky young photographer, Ange-Aimée (Eve Landry), who seeks their friend Ted (Kenneth Welsh) to complete her portrait series on survivors of the Great Fire. Then comes a runaway from a mental institution, Marie-Desneige (Andrée Lachapelle), who teaches the men learn that life is better spent shared than in isolation.
The film approaches Tom and Charlie’s situation frankly and objectively. The men live as hermits with a death pact. Should they ever become too ill, they each have a tin of cyanide capsules on standby to allow them to end life peacefully. However, the women’s arrival upends the pact with the insatiable thirst for life they bring to the camp. The younger Ange-Aimée devotes herself to documenting the stories and histories of her elders. She hates to see any life cut short after she has photographed people who’ve survived terrible tragedies. Marie-Desneige embraces her freedom having been institutionalized without her consent for the entirety of her adult life. Their makeshift community in the woods inspires the viewer to reflect upon the things in life that really matter.
And the Birds Rained Down is cast to perfection. The core players of the film create beautifully lived-in characters. As Charlie, Sicotte is a presence of calm quiet strength. Girard doesn’t miss the chance to embellish Tom’s boisterous lust for life. Archambault (Familia, Gabrielle) delicately opens up the novel by accentuating Tom’s passion for music. The film pauses for a disarming interlude in which Tom accepts the current state of his life while belting out a soulful cover of Tom Waits’ “Time” in a bar—the one place he vowed never to set foot in again. It’s an exceptional scene that forms the emotional core of And the Birds Rained Down. Archambault offers a sobering, heartfelt nod to folks like Tom and Charlie who seek to control their lives on their own terms.