‘Life,’ ‘Borderline’ top Jutra kudos

Pics honored at Quebec film awards

MONTREAL — Psycho-sexual drama “Borderline” and Inuit period piece “The Necessities of Life” shared the top honors Sunday at the Jutra Awards, the annual Quebec film kudos.

The Jutras, which focus on French-language Canuck fare, took place Sunday night at the headquarters of the French-language pubcaster Radio-Canada, which aired the gala nationally.

“The Necessities of Life” nabbed the trophy for best film; lead thesp Natar Ungalaaq took home the hardware as actor; and the film also won the prize for screenplay (Bernard Emond, with the participation of helmer Benoit Pilon).

“Life,” which was on the nine-film short-list at the Oscars in the category of foreign-language film, tells the story of an Inuit man suffering from tuberculosis who is taken from the Far North to a sanatorium in Quebec City in the 1950s. The film is inspired by the real experience of many Inuit men and women who were brought south during that era for treatment of tuberculosis.

“Borderline” garnered first-time feature helmer Lyne Charlebois the Jutra for director. Isabelle Blais won actress for her critically acclaimed performance as the extremely disturbed, sexually obsessed Kiki in “Borderline,” and Angele Coutu for supporting actress for her perf as Kiki’s manipulative grandmother. Based on two novels from Quebec author Marie-Sissi Labreche, “Borderline” is a high-intensity pic about a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

There was much controversy prior to the Jutras, with many local critics grumbling that helmer Yves-Christian Fournier’s “Everything Is Fine” — the past year’s best-reviewed Quebec pic — only landed four nominations and did not make the best-film shortlist. That controversy is likely to continue given that “Fine” only won one Jutra, supporting actor for Normand D’Amour, who plays a father whose teen son commits suicide.

There was also grumbling about the fact that Susan Sarandon was nominated for actress for the Quebec pic “Emotional Arithmetic” rather than nominating another Quebec thespian. Sarandon lost to Blais.

The most-nominated film was “Babine,” with nine nods, but the hit fantasy film only managed to win four behind-the-scenes trophies. The Billet d’Or Jutra went to the smash hit comedy “Cruising Bar 2,” the year’s top Quebec-made box office performer. The Jutra for film that achieved the most success internationally was given to helmer Lea Pool’s “Mommy is at the Hairdresser’s,” in recognition of its international festival career.

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