- The Free Ones
- Les libres
- Nicolas Lévesque
- May 14, 2021 through May 27, 2021
“Deeply empathetic … This lucid and moving observational documentary listens to people who have to fight constantly to be free.”Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM)
Nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards in the documentary field—Best Cinematography and Best Editing—this artful, empathic work from Quebecker Nicolas Lévesque yields a stirring portrait of inmates preparing to rejoin society and the workforce. A feature-length expansion of Lévesque’s non-fiction short Interview with a Free Man (which screened at The Cinematheque as part of Canada’s Top Ten 2015), The Free Ones follows a cohort of prisoners serving the last six months of their sentences in an employment reintegration program at a sawmill in Roberval, Quebec. In direct-cinema fashion, we observe these men and women as they learn the ropes of lumber production, and sit-in on therapy sessions where their demons are movingly laid bare. (Lévesque wisely withholds the details of his subjects’ crimes, curtailing the stigma around their past offenses.) The result, rendered with striking visual inventiveness by cinematographer Jean-Philippe Archibald, is an affecting and deeply humanizing look at the first steps in rebuilding a life for people exiting the prison system.
“Enlightening, and above all imbued with a beautiful humanism.”Francois Lévesque, Le Devoir
“A great film of value … The camera follows them without judgement and endears them to us.”André Duchesne, La Presse