La Donation (The Legacy)
La donation completes director Bernard ÉMOND's trilogy on the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity which he had begun in the films La neuvaine and Contre toute espérance.
Élise Guilbault once again takes on the brilliant role of Jeanne, the desperate physician from La neuvaine who now accepts a chance to replace a sick and elderly doctor for one month. She takes on his local practice in Normétal, in the Abitibi region. Portrayed in true-life locations (the actual regional hospital, a genuine office, real houses etc.), the film has an authenticity that gives it a dimension both striking and moving. The countryside, particularly Abitibi's omnipresent forests with their austere beauty, is both a source of comfort and distress for Jeanne. Magnificent photography unites this austere landscape with the stark beauty of the film.
Jeanne shares daily life with the people of Normétal - the fears, difficulties and suffering they face in view of the isolation of this region. According to Bernard Émond, the film's theme is really a search for meaning, making connections, passing on bonds of existence; and considering the harshness of the modern world, the only way out is to make connections. At the doctor's death, several weeks after her arrival, Jeanne inherits his house and his patients and finds herself facing a life choice: to remain or to leave Normétal. The film is open-ended, leaving us to anticipate that Jeanne's cure is through her gift of self.
Élise Guilbault with her marvellous restraint and intensity, Jacques Godin, and the entire convincing, understated cast supported by majestic larger-than-life landscapes, are stirring. La donation was acclaimed at film festivals in Locarno (2009) and Las Palmas (2009), and earned a special jury citation at the Toronto International Film Festival (2009).