Montreal-born director Kim Nguyen's first fiction film following his Oscar-nominated Rebelle is a hypnotic romance about two star-crossed lovers (Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan) who find that even the icy expanses of the Arctic offer little refuge from their pasts.
Two Lovers and a Bear
Montreal-born director Kim Nguyen's first fiction film following his Academy Award–nominated Rebelle is a hypnotic romance about two star-crossed lovers who find that the icy expanses of the Arctic offer little refuge from their pasts.
Lucy (Tatiana Maslany, a 2012 TIFF Rising Star alumna) and Roman (Dane DeHaan) are deeply and claustrophobically in love, having limited interaction with the few other people (including Lucy's family) who live in their remote town of Apex in Nunavut. But when Lucy is offered a scholarship to continue her studies, it plunges Roman — whose psychological equilibrium is tentative at the best of times — into a deep depression. He shuts Lucy out (literally), but finally accedes to her pleas that they spend time together before her imminent departure. Reunited, the couple sets out on one last voyage through the uncharted Arctic wilderness, where it soon becomes clear that Lucy has equally debilitating (and perhaps even more dire) demons of her own.
As in his previous features Le Marais, La Cité, and Rebelle, Nguyen transforms his story's unforgiving yet visually stunning environment into a space both viscerally realistic and metaphorical. (Indeed, Nguyen's approach throughout is less realist than magic realist: Roman's only other friend in the area is a caustic, philosophical bear, memorably voiced by Gordon Pinsent.)
As Lucy and Roman venture ever further into the wild — where the harsh conditions they encounter literalize their troubled, combative relationship with the rest of the world — the central question becomes not how they will survive but how they will escape from the dark shadows of their pasts.