Mild themes

Film synopsis

In 1952, a consumptive Inuit hunter named Tivii (Natar Ungalaaq, star of Atanarjuat:The Fast Runner) leaves home and family in Baffin Island to recuperate at a sanatorium in Quebec City. Uprooted, far from his loved ones, unable to speak French and faced with a completely alien world, he becomes despondent. When he refuses to eat and expresses a wish to die, his nurse, Carole (Evaline Gelinas), comes to the realization that Tivii’s illness is not the most serious threat to his well-being. She arranges to have a young orphan, Kaki (Paul-Andre Brasseur), transferred to the institution. The boy is also sick, but has experience with both worlds and speaks both languages. By sharing his culture with Kaki and opening it up to others, Tivii rediscovers his pride and energy. The two become such close friends that Tivii hopes to adopt Kaki and bring him back to Baffin Island and a true Inuit life. Among other accolades, The Necessities of Life won four Genie awards and was Canada’s official entry for the Academy Award’s Best Foreign Language Film. In French and Inuktitut, with English subtitles.

Running time

97 Minutes

Year of production



Natar Ungalaaq
Éveline Gélinas
Paul-André Brasseur


Benoît Pilon


René Chenier, Bernadette Payeur



Available formats



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