TB film acclaimed in Canada, Quebec

Natar Ungalaaq harvests two best actor awards


The film, Ce Qu'il Faut Pour Vivre (The Necessities of Life), the story of an Inuk hunter in a tuberculosis sanatorium in the 1950s, continues to rack up awards.

Natar Ungalaaq of Igloolik received the award for best actor at the April 4 Genies, saying thanks afterwards in English, French and Inuktitut.

Two weeks ago, Ungalaaq also claimed the best actor award at the Jutra awards, Quebec's equivalent of the Oscars, where the film was also named as the year's top film.

The Necessities of Life is set in 1952, where Tivii, played by Ungalaaq, finds himself in a sanatorium near Quebec City.

There, the treatment for tuberculosis, which involves bed rest, painful medical procedures, bad food and isolation, feels worse than illness or death.

But hope arrives when Tivii is introduced to a young Inuk boy from Aupaluk called Kaki, who has lived in a southern sanatorium long enough to speak French and understand what is going on.

Tivii finds a reason to live as he uses wooden carvings to illustrate stories for Kaki, played by Marc-André Brasseur.

Backstage at the Genie awards ceremony, Ungalaaq told reporters about his own grandfather, who had been treated for tuberculosis during the same 1950s epidemic portrayed in the film.

"From the start of the film and the time that I read the script I didn't want to [talk about] that very personal part of the film. After the film was made, that is when I started to share the whole personal part of it," Ungalaaq said.

At the Genies and the Jutra awards, screenwriter Bernard Émond received an award for original screenplay and Benoît Pilon won awards for his direction.

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