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The Necessities of Life

Benoit Pilon
C'est qu'il faut pour vivre
Canada 2008 / 102’

The cultural collision between north and south in Canada is explored sensitively in Benoît Pilon's debut feature, The Necessities of Life. It is the story of an Inuit man named Tivi who brought from his remote northern home to a Quebec City hospital in the 1950s. Tivi has been diagnosed with tuberculosis and must be hospitalized to prevent the disease from spreading. Separated from his family, culturally deracinated, and unable to speak French, he is unable to communicate with those around him. As his isolation and desperation mounts, Tivi is helped when one of the nurses introduces him to Kaki, a young Inuit boy also housed in the hospital with same disease. Tivi and Kaki develop an instant rapport, and wonder what fate has in store for them. Sensitively written by acclaimed filmmaker Bernard Émond, The Necessities of Life is an emotionally absorbing tale about cultural alienation and geographical and spiritual exile. The film contains several powerful performances, most notably the exquisite work by Natar Ungalaaq as Tivi. Ungalaaq appears in Zacharias Kunuk's celebrated The Fast Runner.

Tom McSorley

Benoît Pilon

Studied film at Concordia University in Montréal. After starting as an assistant director, he began making fictional and documentary films of his own, the best known of which is Roger Toupin, épicier variété (2003), a winner of numerous prizes including award for best documentary at the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur, in Belgium. The Necessities of Life is his first fiction feature.


1997 Rosaire et la Petite-Nation

1998-1999 Réseaux (TV)

2003 3 soeurs en 2 temps

2003 Roger Toupin, épicier variété (doc.)

2006 Nestor et les oubliés (doc.)

2007 Des nouvelles du Nord (doc.)

2008 Ce qu'il faut pour vivre / The Necessities of Life

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