Happy New Year! And what better way for the Shuswap Film Society to start 2020 than to bring you And The Birds Rained Down.
This charming movie, by Canadian director Louise Archambault, is adapted from the acclaimed novel of another Canadian, novelist Jocelyne Saucier, about a trio of elder men living a simple life in the remote wilderness of Quebec.
Tom, Ted and Charlie have made themselves a happy home off the grid, in neighbouring shacks on a lake in the woods. They make a small living by tending to a crop of marijuana which is sold by their neighbour Steve. They exist on their own terms and hope to live out their lives there. A series of events and outside intrusions threatens to disrupt their idyllic life – Ted’s sudden death, a looming forest fire and the unexpected arrival of two women.
Ange-Aimee, a photographer, is compiling testimonies and photographing survivors of a catastrophic fire that devastated the region years ago. She was seeking out Ted, whose actions had assumed heroic stature, to complete her portrait series. In his effects, an astonishing discovery – hundreds of paintings showing his tragic experiences during that fire.
The other interloper is Steve’s Aunt Gertrude who has been unjustly institutionalized her entire adult life and is looking for escape. Charlie takes her under his wing and a tender romance ensues. Both women find solace with the hermits, but the men must adapt to changes in their dynamics with the new arrivals.
Warmth and humour suffuse every scene of And The Birds Rained Down, as it focuses on the loose alternative family, their heartaches and joys. With a cast boasting some of Quebec’s most esteemed performers, the film explores aging and lost and found love, and is a tribute to those courageous enough to determine their own fate. It inspires audiences to reflect upon the things in life that really matter; as reviewer Pat Mullen said “…the film asks us to cherish life in all its simple pleasures and wonders.”
Subtitled, And the Birds Rained Down shows at the Salmar Classic Cinema at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4.