Director: Bernard Emond
Stars: Elise Guilbolt
How one embraces or rejects Bernard Emond’s somber new drama La Donation (aka The Legacy) depends squarely on one’s tolerance of slow pace. And when I say slow, I mean slow. Like dripping molasses slow. Like paint drying, grass growing, slow. In fact, this French-Canadian picture is so slow that it makes Death in Venice seem like Blade 2 by comparison.
Which isn’t to say that La Donation is bad or without merit. It’s not. In fact writer/director Emond’s final installment in a trilogy of films examining hope, faith and now, in this case, charity, has many profound, often moving things to say about the relationship between doctors and patients. It’s just that it takes a heck of a lot of patience to extract.
Doctor Dion (Elise Guilbolt who reprises her role from Emonds 2005 film, The Novena, the first in his trilogy) is called to a small Quebec town, to relieve ailing Dr. Rainville (Jacques Godin) for a temporary period. During her tenure, however, she becomes more and more embroiled in the often tragic plights of the locals and before she knows it, leaving her station becomes the most difficult decision of her life.
Filled to the snoozing point with scene after scene of barren, desolate roads and chilly exteriors and loaded to the gills with sparse dialogue spoken in hushed tones by the vacant looking actors, La Donation is a litmus test for consciousness.
But there’s a dignity to the film, a sense of high-minded earnestness that bubbles quietly beneath its static exterior. Guilbolt has an interesting, square-jawed, almost masculine face and acts chiefly with her wounded eyes; she’s effective and the final shot alone is almost worth the price of the triple espresso you’ll need to reach it