April 3, 2016
Director: Anne Émond
Cast: Louis Morissette , Maxim Gaudette, Karelle Tremblay
Runtime: 102 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles
Canadian Screen Awards: 9 Nominations, including Best Picture
“Writer/director Anne Émond offers a valuable lesson in forgiveness and of letting go of the past with her wonderful sophomore feature Les êtres chers.”—Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer
Filmmaker Anne Emond shows increasing promise with her second feature, Les Etres Chers (Our Loved Ones), an emotionally potent film about a Quebecois family forced to cope with a family tragedy. This sophomore effort is distinctive for pitch- perfect performances and graceful storytelling.
After the paterfamilias of the Leblanc family hangs himself, for reasons gradually revealed, David (Maxim Gaudette), the eldest of his five children, carries on the family business of crafting and selling marionettes. For years, he lives what appears to be an idyllic life with his wife, Marie (Valerie Cadieux), and their two children in Bas-Saint-Laurent.
Life is placid enough until David is suddenly backhanded by the past: He learns, years after the fact, that his father did not die of a heart attack, but committed suicide. David was shielded from the truth because he was considered too “sensitive” to deal with such painful knowledge.
Gradually, the genial David gives over to melancholy and solitary walks. Concerned by her troubled father, Laurence (Karelle Tremblay), David’s elder offspring with whom he shares a special rapport, must consider the possibility that she may inherit the legacy that her father inherited from his.
Les Etres Chers unfolds tangentially, with many sequences of warm family interactions counterbalancing the growing shadow of generational secrets and burdens.
The cast is exceptional but Gaudette truly stands out as David. His character’s spirit imbues Les Etres Chers with its touching humanity.