The Necessities of Life

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The Necessities of Life
The Necessities of Life.jpg
Directed by Benoît Pilon
Produced by René Chénier
Bernadette Payeur
Written by Bernard Émond
Starring Natar Ungalaaq
Music by Robert Lepage
Cinematography Michel La Veaux
Edited by Richard Comeau
Distributed by Seville Pictures
Release dates
  • August 25, 2008 (2008-08-25) (Montréal World Film Festival)
  • August 28, 2008 (2008-08-28) (Canada)
Running time
102 minutes
Country Canada
Language French

The Necessities of Life (French: Ce qu'il faut pour vivre; Inuktitut: Inuujjutiksaq ᐃᓅᔾᔪᑎᒃᓴᖅ or ᐃᓅᔾᔪᑦᐃᒃᓴᖅ[which?] [inuːjjutikˈsaq]) is a 2008 film directed by Benoît Pilon. The film was acclaimed by critics and received the Special Grand Prize of Jury of the Montreal World Film Festival.[1][2] It was also nominated at the Namur International Film Festival and Vancouver International Film Festival. The film was Canada's submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Academy Awards.


The film uses the 1950s-era tuberculosis epidemic in the Far North as its starting point. The spread of the disease forced many Inuit to go to various Canadian cities for treatment. Tiivii (Natar Ungalaaq; Atanarjuat: the Fast Runner) is taken to a sanatorium in Quebec City, from Baffin Island July 1952. Uprooted, far from his loved ones and faced with a completely alien world, he finds himself unable to communicate with anyone.

When his nurse, Carole (Éveline Gélinas) realizes that Tiivii’s illness is not the most serious threat to his well-being, she arranges to have a young orphan, Kaki (Paul-André Brasseur), transferred to the institution. The boy is also sick, but has experience of both worlds and speaks both languages. By sharing his culture with Kaki and opening it up to others, Tiivii rediscovers his pride and energy. Ultimately, he also rediscovers hope through a plan to adopt Kaki, bring him home and make him part of his family.

The film also stars Denis Bernard, Louise Marleau, Antoine Bertrand, Guy Thauvette, Luc Proulx and Vincent-Guillaume Otis.

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