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Off-beat French Canadian coming of age drama. Zachary Beaulieu (Marc-André Grondin) recounts his life growing up in his eccentric family during the 1960s and 70s, surrounded by the music of Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones, and the desperate journey he is forced to undergo to find his missing father.
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The story is in essence a monologue as the main character (Marc-Andre Grondin) takes rough his life, from birth to self discovery. Along the way the audience is introduced to a litany of characters, all of whom play an important and integral part in his life. In South Africa we say a person is a person, because of other people, and nothing is truer than in this case. His father is both atypical and likeable in many ways, and has an overwhelming affinity and affection for his sons (of which he has five). He is deeply affected by them all, and in his own way considers them as his personal pride and joy. I believe this is why he cannot come to terms with his one son's homosexuality, and says as much in a revealing conversation with his son Zachary (Grondin). "One cannot abandon the idea of children, it is one of life's most wonderful experiences", he says to his son. "If you insist on pursuing this choice, then I cannot accept that, ever!" Whilst intensely revealing of his inner thinking and desires for his boys, what these words reveal is a manifest ignorance of his son's own turmoil and needs. He says the statement innocently enough, and I am sure he believes he is acting in his son's best interests, and yet the destruction that results is both tragic and perverse. After all this is not his life to live, and how dare he impose his desires, needs and beliefs on others, without even the most casual respect for what life choices they may have ahead.
His mother (Danielle Proulx) is perhaps one of the most interesting characters within the film, and her quiet presence is the undercurrent upon which the entire story depends. She is the family's strength, and whilst she exists in the background, she is by no means insignificant. She is in fact the most inspiring of them all, and her inner strength is the very essence of all that is noble in women. She has a particular affinity with (), and her empathy for him is almost prophetic. She knows he faces one of life's greatest challenges, and she prepares him in the best way she knows how. At times her desperation is almost palpable, and if she could change places and bare her son's burden she would. Not that she loves him any more than she does her other sons, but it's almost as if he is her closest affinity and is most like her. My own grandmother explained this to me once, when she said a mother loves all her children, but often there is one child who echoes her own soul, and provides her the peace she finds in best in herself. It is that child that she is closest to. She will not only feel their pain, she will experience it as if it was her own.
The actors are sublime, as is the soundtrack which traverses Patsy Cline and David Bowie. In fact there is little more I can say about this film, without giving too much away. It's an excellent production, well worth your time and emotional experience.
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