Portion d'éternité

Directed by Robert Favreau

Hosted by Director Robert Favreau and Actor Marc Messier<br>



Robert Favreau


Robert Favreau


Raymond Cloutier, Marc Messier, Patricia Nolin, Gilles Pelletier, Danielle Proulx, Paul Savoie


Jean-Roch Marcotte



Quebec 1989 96 mins OV French Subtitles : English

It begins with a car crash, followed by this on-screen text: “Pierre and Marie Lemieux were killed on impact, leaving three embryos frozen in liquid nitrogen.” We then see the attempts of Mr. Lemieux (Gilles Pelletier), Pierre’s father, to have said embryos destroyed, which the fertility clinic’s biologist (Paul Savoie) refuses to do before receiving a decision from the government. This leads to an investigation by public servant Hélène (Patricia Nolin), who gradually discovers the subtleties of in vitro fertilization. Meanwhile, via flashback, we see the steps taken by Pierre (Marc Messier) and Marie (Danielle Proulx) to try to have a child, and how this couple dealt with the tensions created by that long process. Beyond the legal and moral issues raised lies a taut suspense film, a rare genre in Quebec…

Robert Favreau, who would go on to direct NELLIGAN, LES MUSES ORPHELINES and UN DIMANCHE À KIGALI, made this first fiction feature in 1989, and 30 years later, it still stands apart from most local productions. While telling the dramatic story of a couple having difficulties conceiving, there is also a clinical coldness to some of PORTION D’ÉTERNITÉ, as it delves into the scientific aspect of assisted reproductive technology, in a laboratory that resembles the set of a science-fiction film that could have been helmed by David Cronenberg. Furthermore, the screenplay sets off an ethical debate about the right to life (or lack thereof) of embryos, as well as about related issues such as cloning and eugenics. The attention to detail in this finely observed film reminds us that Favreau started out as a documentary filmmaker (he notably directed LE SOLEIL A PAS D’CHANCE). Winner of the Best Canadian Film and Best Actress (Danielle Proulx) awards at the Montreal World Film Festival in 1989, PORTION D’ÉTERNITÉ is a striking film that has now been restored by Éléphant: mémoire du cinéma québécois, highlighting the superb images of cinematographer Guy Dufaux. – Kevin Laforest