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La Donation (The Legacy)

~Selection of the Toronto Film Festival~

Dr. Yves Rainville (Jacques Godin) has been serving the community of Normétal in the Abitibi region of Quebec for forty years, and has seen it go from a thriving mining town to a nearly empty dot on the map. Increasingly ill himself, Yves advertises for a temporary replacement, hoping to find his successor. Dr. Jeanne Dion (Élise Guilbault), looking for a more personal medical practice than her current position in a busy E.R. in Montréal, answers his ad. She soon discovers that while there may be fewer patients in Normétal, they require a deeper commitment, from the sixteen-year-old girl seeking an abortion to the wealthy businessman who uses his helicopter to fly Jeanne in for check-ups. La Donation is a deeply emotional and stirring film from Quebec auteur Bernard Émond. The final work in his humanist trilogy (following La Neuvaine and Contre toute espérance), it expands on the series’ themes of faith, fate and healing. Émond’s graceful script enhances his distinctively subtle visual approach and is aided by a quiet but moving score from Robert Marcel Lepage. Powering the movie are the stunning and knowing performances by Godin and Guilbault, two of Quebec’s finest actors, who are perfectly at home in Émond’s filmic landscape. La Donation is a remembrance of a more pristine past, when small towns thrived on money from natural resources, and doctors made house calls. Émond urges that connections be remade between people and place, and more urgently between each other, in order for us to recognize once again the beauty and shared bond of existence. A movie very much about a Canada and Quebec long left to black-and-white documentaries, La Donation proposes that these times are not lost but simply misplaced in the rush toward ‘progress’ and urbanization; for them to come back, we need only to pause, look and embrace our surroundings. La Donation is a movie that moves the soul, and in doing so, may move us to return to a more human age. – Jesse Wente, Toronto International Film Festival
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Directed by: 
Bernard Émond
Running Time: 
Élise Guilbault, Jacques Godin
Screenplay by: 
Bernard Émond

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