Two Lovers and a Bear

TIFF 2016: Two Lovers and a Bear Review

Special Presentations

Did you hear the one about the Two Lovers and a Bear? More than just the setup to a joke, this magical film manages to find warmth in the most frigid of environments, crafting a witty, challenging and unique portrayal of finding human connection in the most extreme of circumstances.

This unequivocally Canadian film checks off so many of our cultural festishes, from its striking setting to its sardonic yet hopeful tone. Directed by Oscar-nominated, Canadian Screen Award-winning Kim Nguyen, Tatiana Maslany from Orphan Black and Dane DeHaan from Chronicle star, as well as a talking bear voiced by Gordon Pinsent. Shot up in and around Iqaluit, the work is a dreamy, complex drama with moments of fancy mixed with dark humour and raw emotions as evocative and chilly as the setting.

Following its bow at Cannes, Nguyen’s film unfolds at times like a dream, filled with the kind of quirky characters that drew Herzog to the other pole with his own sublime Encounters at the End of the World. There’s a particular psychology tapped into with the film for those Caucasians that find themselves drawn away from the South, a kind of escape that not only relies upon the generosity and grace of their indigenous neighbours, but speaks to the ambivalence of their very arrival, mixing the want for removal from their past but embracing some of the trappings that keep them mired in what has transpired.

The cold of the North can either cleanse or freeze, and Nguyen’s film shows that even the warmest of emotions can at once be defeated by the elements but also forever entwine those embracing the notion of hope, no matter how futile.


Tuesday Sept. 13, 6:30pm @ Visa Screening Room

Wednesday Sept. 14, 3:00pm @ Ryerson