Canadian Women Film Directors Database
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Before Tomorrow

Directed by Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu
Canada, 2008 (fiction, 93 minutes, colour, Inuktitut)
Also known as "Le jour avant le lendemain"

Film Description:
"It's circa 1840 in the northernmost tundra of Inuit-land. In the Arctic Circle, some Inuit tribes still have never met any white people, although rumors circulate about what they might be like, where they come from, and why they are there. As the Europeans encroach upon the territory and the Inuit clans go about their nomadic life, two elder women and a young boy go to an isolated island to perform the task of drying their clan's cache of fish in preparation for the long winter. The clan promises to fetch them after the fish are dried and before the water freezes over, but as the fall hunting season ends and they fail to return, something appears to have gone very wrong. In their first feature, Madeline Piujuq Ivalu and Marie-Hélène Cousineau of the Arnait Video Collective base their film on the novel For Morgendagen by Danish writer Jørn Riel. They combine traditional Inuit storytelling traditions with European cinema techniques to portray a story of a grandmother and a grandson who fend for themselves after tragedy strikes their clan. With stellar performances by Madeline Piujuq Ivalu as Ningiuq and Paul-Dylan Ivalu as Maniq, viewers experience the harshness of the tundra and the love of family in the most trying of times."
-- N. Bird Runningwater (source)

Film Description:
"Based on Danish author Jorn Riel's classic novel, Before Tomorrow is a timeless Arctic fable of an Inuit woman and her beloved grandson who, after going to the island to dry their fish, return to their camp to discover that their family has been wiped out by infection carried by white travellers. Returning to the island, they confront what it means to be the last human beings on Earth."
-- Telefilm Canada (source)


Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Susan Avingaq, Madeline Ivalu
Based on: Før morgendagen [Before Tomorrow], a novel by Jørn Riel
Produced by: Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn, Stéphane Rituit
Principal Cast: Madeline Ivalu, Paul-Dylan Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq, Mary Qulitalik, Tumasie Sivuarapik
Cinematography: Norman Cohn, Félix Lajeunesse
Film Editing: Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Norman Cohn, Félix Lajeunesse, Louise Dugal
Music: Anna McGarrigle, Kate McGarrigle, Joel Zifkin
Production Company: Igloolik Isuma Productions, Kunuk Cohn Productions
(sources)

Awards won by Before Tomorrow

Notes about Before Tomorrow

(sources)

Quote by the Director

"It was a challenge to make [Before Tomorrow]. It's in a different culture. I was a single mother with two children under the age of 12. I was shooting in four extended periods, so I had to travel a lot. Madeline [Ivalu] has 11 children. Her husband is supportive, but still, she's a grandmother and a mother. And we were filming in the Arctic, which is not an easy thing to do. We had to establish a circle of help."
-- Marie-Hélène Cousineau (source)

Quotes about Before Tomorrow [in French]

"Dans le même ordre d'idées, malgré l'absence physique de protagonistes blancs dans le dernier volet de la trilogie d'Igloolik, Le jour avant le lendemain [..], la tragédie du premier contact est matérialisée à travers les aiguilles de métal, cadeaux empoisonnés de l'étranger et symboles de l'infection qui touche à la fois le corps physique et le tissu social des communautés déchirées entre deux mondes. Les conséquences de cette contamination, c'est-à-dire la mort de tous les habitants du clan hormis une grand-mère et son petit-fils réfugiés sur une île, serviront de prétexte aux événements qui forment la trame principale du récit, soit les épreuves encourues par les deux personnages principaux pour survivre, en ayant pour outil principal cette médecine du coeur qui se manifeste à travers une parole (contes et chants) maternelle venue adoucir les contours tranchants d'une histoire autrement apocalyptique pour le peuple inuit."
-- Karine Bertrand (source)

"Le jour avant le lendemain est le fruit d'une collaboration entre Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Québécoise de naissance et fondatrice d'Arnait Video et Madeleine Ivalu, d'abord conteuse puis comédienne inuit ayant joué dans les deux volets précédents de la trilogie d'Igloolik. Depuis 1991, Cousineau invite les femmes inuit de tous âges à raconter leurs histoires en utilisant le cinéma comme moyen de transmission de leurs récits. Premier long-métrage de fiction de la réalisatrice, l'oeuvre nous plonge au coeur des légendes inuit, à une époque où ces dernières étaient garantes de leur survie. Imprégné d'une touche et d'un regard féminins, le film se distingue de ses prédécesseurs (l'ardent Atanarjuat et l'aride Journal de Knud Rasmussen) entre autres par le traitement esthétique plus modeste que les deux réalisatrices imputent à l'oeuvre, ainsi que par la place centrale accordée à deux groupes d'individus (femmes aînées et enfants) occupant dans les films précédents de [Zacharias] Kunuk des rôles pouvant être qualifiés de secondaires."
-- Karine Bertrand (source)

Bibliography for Before Tomorrow

Dissertation Chapters

Web Sites about Before Tomorrow


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