Map of the Human Heart
|Map of the Human Heart|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vincent Ward|
|Produced by||Tim Bevan
|Written by||Louis Nowra|
|Story by||Vincent Ward|
|Starring||Jason Scott Lee
|Music by||Gabriel Yared|
|Edited by||John Scott
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
The film, set mostly before and during World War II, centres on the life of a Canadian Inuit boy, Avik (played as a child by Robert Joamie and as an adult by Jason Scott Lee), who joins the Royal Canadian Air Force and eventually, as a crewmember of a Lancaster bomber, participates in the notorious firebombing of Dresden. Throughout his life, Avik is haunted by love for a Métis girl, Albertine (played as a child by Annie Galipeau and as an adult by Anne Parillaud), and by a belief that he brings misfortune to those around him.
The film also stars Patrick Bergin, who plays a pivotal role as both surrogate father to Avik and his primary rival in Albertine's love. Jeanne Moreau has a minor role as a Québécois nun. John Cusack also has a small but important role as the mapmaker to whom Avik relates his incredible tale.
The film's re-creation of the firebombing of Dresden is one of the most graphic and powerful sequences in the film. On the day Ward finished shooting those scenes, he received word that his father, who had actually participated in the historical firebombing of Dresden, had died. This is why Ward chose to dedicate the film to him.
There are two other scenes in the movie which received much attention. The first one is a pivotal love scene that takes place on top of an English military blimp (not in a cabin or gondola but actually on top of the blimp), the other is the final scene of the film which has a twist ending.
The script was written by Australian author Louis Nowra, using a 10-page treatment Ward had written a year earlier as his guide.
In the opening moments of the movie, set in 1931 in the Arctic-Canadian settlement Nunataaq, Avik (portrayed initially by Robert Joamie) lives under the watchful eye of his grandmother (Jayko Pitseolak). While tagging along after British cartographer Walter Russell (Patrick Bergin), Avik falls prey to the "white man's disease,"—tuberculosis; to assuage his own guilt, Russell takes the boy to a Montreal clinic to recover. There, Avik meets Albertine, a mixed-blood Indian girl, and the two fall in love, but their relationship is quickly broken up by the Mother Superior who is in charge of the clinic. Years later, Avik again meets Russell, who this time is on a mission to recover the German U-boat lying wrecked off the coast of Nunataaq. Avik asks for Russell's help in learning the whereabouts of Albertine, and he gives the cartographer a chest X-ray of the girl which he has carried with him since their separation. More time elapses, and Avik (now played by Jason Scott Lee) has become a British bombardier fighting in World War II. He is sought out by Albertine (Anne Parillaud), who has become Russell's mistress. Still, she begins an affair with Avik; Russell soon finds out, and as revenge sends Avik and his crew on a suicide mission of which Avik is the lone survivor. Despondent over his war experiences, Avik flees to Canada, where he becomes an alcoholic; decades later, he is sought out by Rainee (Clotilde Courau), the daughter born from his affair with Albertine. On his way to the girl's wedding, Avik is killed in an accident; his body washes up on the beach at Nunataaq, a wedding gift still clutched in his arms.
- Jason Scott Lee - Avik
- Robert Joamie - Young Avik
- Anne Parillaud - Albertine
- Annie Galipeau - Young Albertine
- Patrick Bergin - Walter Russell
- Clotilde Courau - Rainee
- John Cusack - the mapmaker
- Jeanne Moreau - Sister Banville
- Ben Mendelsohn - farmboy
- Jerry Snell - Boleslaw
- Jayko Pitseolak - Avik's grandmother
- Matt Holland - flight navigator
- Rebecca Vevee - Inuit cook
- Josape Kopalee - Inuit elder
- Reepah Arreak - Avik's girlfriend
Map of the Human Heart grossed $539,000 at the box office in Australia,.
- "Festival de Cannes: Map of the Human Heart". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
- Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
- Map of the Human Heart at the National Film and Sound Archive
- Map of the Human Heart at the Internet Movie Database