French w/English subtitles
Principal Cast: Andrée Lachapelle, Gilbert Sicotte, Rémy Girard, Ève Landry, Éric Robidoux, Louise Portal
The latest from Louise Archambault (Film Circuit favourite Gabrielle), adapted from the acclaimed novel by Jocelyne Saucier, is an elegiac and charming meditation on the possibilities of living outside modernity.
As the film opens, we meet three hermits living in cabins in the Quebec countryside, miles from civilization. Tom (Rémy Girard, The Barbarian Invasions, Incendies), Charlie (Gilbert Sicotte, The Salesman), and Ted (Kenneth Welsh, Wet Bum, Adoration) fled society years ago, and have eked out a back-to-the-land existence, selling pot to the closest locals with help from local hotelier Stephen (Éric Robidoux, Love in the Time of Civil War).
But their lifestyle is increasingly endangered by nature, infirmity, and age. Ted collapses from a heart attack. Photographer and researcher Ange-Aimee (Eve Landry) threatens to disrupt their lives when she starts looking for survivors of a catastrophic blaze that happened decades ago, most notably Ted, whose actions during the fire have assumed heroic stature.
And the Birds Rained Down is a tribute to the need to live independently and on one’s own terms – and to those courageous enough to pursue this. (It’s also a cry for respect for people and their choices, regardless of age.) Driven by an astonishing cast boasting some of Quebec’s most esteemed performers – including Andrée Lachapelle, whose career stretches back to 1954 – the film features one of the most beautiful musical moments of the year, when Girard’s ailing musician Tom, coaxed into performing at a nearby club, delivers a soulful and heartbreaking rendition of one of Tom Waits’ best tunes.