________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 19 . . . . May 15, 2009

cover Youthful Passions: Lifelong Lessons.

André Melançon & Danny Croussette (Directors). Monique Huberdeau (Sherpas Films Producer). Colette Loumède (NFB Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
78 min., 12 sec., DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153C 0107 415.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 15 and up.

Review by Cathy Vincent-Linderoos.

**½ /4

Youthful Passions shows a group of talented people watching and discussing themselves as they were captured on film (Les vrais perdants) 30 years prior. As young gymnasts, musicians or figure-skaters, they all studied with their teachers and practised for long hours. The film was filmed with French dialogue and English subtitles.

     The directors question the adults at length about the extent to which they spoke honestly to parents or coaches about the experience of such rigorous training. The individuals are also asked what they were feeling as they were being filmed and about the long-term benefits and drawbacks of their special experiences. Added to this, the directors show several young talents who are currently engaged in similar pursuits. Differences and similarities between the two groups are explored.

     Much as I enjoyed some performance and pedagogy aspects of the film, I found the film was unnecessarily lengthy. The fact that as youth were growing up in 1970's Quebec, they were more likely than their contemporaries to have known that "children are to be seen and not heard." Thus it was not surprising that they did not speak openly. As well, these young people appeared to be self-driven because they loved their special niches and really shone in their undertakings. Why would they ever complain about their lives?

     I would have valued seeing a film where the talented youth saw how others their age -- including other musicians and athletes, but others as well -- had grown up, and discuss their skill-development programs in that light. As it stands, this film would likely appeal to coaches and music teachers whose students are engaged in high-level competitions.

Recommended with reservations.

Cathy Vincent-Linderoos taught gifted students in Toronto in the 1980's.

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