Two lovers and a bear

It is in Nunavut’s capital city of Iqaluit that Kim Nguyen filmed Two lovers and a bear. Lucy and Roman (Canada’s Tatiana Maslany, from Orphan black, and American actor Dane DeHaan) show some signs of mental instability, or at the very least, a dysfunctional past. Roman keeps having those weird encounters with a polar bear. And Lucy is stalked by a frightening old man. But they are in love. This a very isolated place, where things have to be brought in or shipped out by plane. Around them there are miles and miles of land covered in snow and ice. The preferred means of transport is the snowmobile. Lucy and Roman have an opportunity to seek a new life when she gets offered a scholarship to continue her biology studies. But Roman wants to stay. He drowns his sorrows in alcohol and threatens to kill himself until Lucy comes back to save him, and proposes that they leave town and travel on their snowmobiles. A trip without a clear destination is a crazy and potentially dangerous affair in such settings. The road is full magic realism, like that bear who keep popping up at the most inopportune moments. What Lucy and Roman come across is often disturbing. A herd of dead reindeer, their carcasses immobilized in a frozen river. At some point the two lovers seek refuge from an impending storm into an abandoned army bunker. It is like visiting a ghost town, with everything covered in dust and a very old can of (still edible) corn beef. Nicolas Bolduc’s wide lens photography is breathtaking in its beauty and its unending and scary vastness. DeHann’s Roman is an emotionally fragile young man, while Maslany’s Lucy is, on the surface anyway, stronger. The film’s last images are, like the two main actors and the landscape, simply breathtaking.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Two lovers and a bear

Directed by:
Kim Nguyen

Screenplay by:
Kim Nguyen

Starring:
Tatiana Maslany
Dane DeHaan
Kakki Peter
John Ralston
And the voice of Gordon Pinsent

96 min.

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