Films & Schedules

  • Lost Song

  • Rodrigue Jean

102 minutes

Production Company:
Transmar Films
Rodrigue Jean, François Landry
Rodrigue Jean
Production Designer:
Simon Guilbault
Mathieu Laverdière
Mathieu Bouchard-Malo
Gilles Corbeil, Martin Allard, Hugo Brochu, Luc Boudrias
Principal Cast: Suzie LeBlanc, Patrick Goyette, Ginette Morin, Louise Turcot, Marilou Longpré Pilon

Saturday September 0606:30PM VARSITY 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0709:45AM AMC 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Lost Song is writer-director Rodrigue Jean's graceful and deeply unsettling new feature about a couple's struggle with postpartum depression. From its tense opening moments, the film builds a sense of unease, resulting in an affecting portrait of a rarely discussed illness.

Pierre (Patrick Goyette) and Elisabeth (Suzie LeBlanc) drive to the country to stay with his mother after the birth of their first child. It was a difficult delivery, evidenced by Elisabeth's extended illness and the visible tension on their faces. The still unnamed infant is restless, refusing to breast-feed and unable to sleep. The anxious new parents are at a loss, and when Pierre has to return to work, he leaves Elisabeth to care for their child alone. Frustrated, Elisabeth leaves the baby with her overly attentive mother-in-law Louise (Ginette Morin) and spends time with her youthful neighbour Naomi (Marilou Longpré Pilon). Pierre misses the signs of Elisabeth's emotional state, and instead unknowingly worsens the situation. When the pressure mounts to finally baptize the baby, Elisabeth takes desperate and devastating action.

Lost Song is intimate and disquieting as it exposes the wound in Patrick and Elisabeth's relationship. It is obvious that something is not right from the very beginning, and their failure to acknowledge the cause is representative of a larger cultural amaurosis. Lost Song encapsulates the shame and denial associated with this illness within society and uses the example of one family's struggles with postpartum depression to break the silence that has surrounded the issue in Western culture for too long.

Employing a minimalist, observational aesthetic, reminiscent of Kieslowski's The Decalogue, Lost Song is an at times claustrophobic reflection of the emotions of the characters. Jean's subtle, naturalistic style coaxes stunning performances from Goyette and Leblanc, who create an engrossing familiarity between their characters while maintaining a sense of realism. The rural setting provides both allusive depth and visual splendour to the film's landscape, heightening the mood of isolation while establishing a fittingly foreboding atmosphere for the eventual catastrophe. Sure to provoke a reaction, Lost Song is brave and vital cinema, examining a reality seldom confronted onscreen with deep emotional understanding.

Jesse Wente

Rodrigue Jean is an Acadian from New Brunswick who studied theatre and directing. His short films include La Déroute (89), the documentary La Voix des rivières (95) and La Mémoire de l'eau (96). His debut feature, Full Blast (99), received a Special Jury Citation for the Best Canadian First Feature Film Award at the Festival in 1999. He has since directed Yellowknife (02), L'Extrême frontière (06) and Lost Song (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award