________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 14 . . . . March 7, 2008


A Sunday at 105.

Daniel Léger (Director). Murielle Rioux-Poirier (Producer). Jacques Turgeon (Executive Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2007.
13 min., 20 sec., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153E 9907 307.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.

Review by Betty Klassen.

* /4

This short film provides the viewer with brief glimpses into the day of an Acadian centenarian, Aldéa Pellerin-Cormier. It is filmed in French and includes the option of viewing it with either French or English subtitles to aid in understanding, since the words are not always clearly enunciated. The film is a breakfast to bed look at the activities of Aldéa’s day, beginning with her morning grooming routine and a bit of cycling on her exercise bike. We then see her crossing herself in prayer as she begins her breakfast, and the camera pans across the room revealing an array of family photos and objects of faith, such as a cross-shaped mirror and her rosary. After breakfast, she makes a few comments on what she sees in the paper and then moves to sit in her rocking chair where, she says, she usually sits and thinks until it’s time for lunch.

     Throughout the film, Aldéa responds to questions asked of her by her great-grandson, but we neither see him nor hear him clearly, except for a foray into the garden where he assists his great-grandmother in placing a statue of Jesus in her garden.

     Aldéa comments briefly but strongly on politics and religion, stating that “Americans want to be smarter than God, but they won’t succeed,” and she has “always voted Liberal; voting Conservative is a sin.”

     Working and praying are her forte, and she has reached the conclusion that, “There may be purgatory, but no hell. I don’t believe in it. Hell is of your own making.”

     Aldéa’s remarks about being self-educated, only going to school for two days because there was no teacher, and her comment that, for a time when she was young, she wished she could be a man because it appeared to her then that men didn’t work as hard as the women she knew, left this viewer wishing for an elaboration on these topics. Throughout her 105 years, she must have adapted to many changes, but no topic is dealt with in any depth.

     After lunch, we see her playing cards with some family members. We learn that, even at 105, she would like to go to the moon to see it up close, but that she is also ready to die, saying, “I’m not doing anything on earth that is worthwhile.” A bittersweet statement her family may not agree with.

     At bedtime, she uses a plastic medicine cup to pour herself a wee nightcap and toddles off to bed.

     This is a charming film for a family to remember their grandmother, but it has little merit beyond that.

Not recommended.

Betty Klassen teaches in the Faculty of Education in the Middle Years Program at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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