With La neuvaine (2005), director Bernard ÉMOND begins a trilogy of a theological nature inspired by the three Catholic theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. Élise Guilbault, Émond's muse, takes on the character of Jeanne, a doctor and emergency physician. Believing herself guilty of the deaths of a patient and her young child, Jeanne leaves her community and goes to Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré, where, wanting to throw herself into the waters of the St. Lawrence River, she finds herself in the early morning hours on the edge of the wharf. The arrival of a young man saves her. François, a youth on the brink of adulthood, has come to pray at the basilica for the salvation of his dying grandmother, and despite Jeanne's being a non-believer, a very sensitive friendship develops. Accepting an invitation to accompany the young man, Jeanne finds herself at the grandmother's bedside and participates in the death of this sweet old woman, surrounded by the love of her grandson and supported by their common faith. This event rekindles in Jeanne the taste for life and self-forgiveness.
Faithful to his great sensitivity and simplicity, Bernard Émond leads us gently along Jeanne's emotional journey. From a profound sense of guilt and harshness toward herself, a new Jeanne emerges, most certainly bruised and softened, but ready to continue on her way. On the other hand, François, so gentle and affectionate, so pious and practical, offers a very different portrait - that of a sensitive and unpretentious young man sure of himself and his beliefs. The muffled moments passed at the dying bedside are filled with beauty tinged with tenderness.
Highly acclaimed, La neuvaine was nominated for many prizes at international festivals. Élise Guilbault won the JUTRA for best actress (2006), and Patrick Drolet won best male actor at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland (2005).