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Canadian Film Fest Review: Beneath the Surface

March 31, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2022 Canadian Film Fest runs in two segments from March 22nd to 26th and March 29th to April 2nd, exclusively on Super Channel.

Director Marie-Geneviève Chabot’s documentary Beneath the Surface follows three adult brothers who reunite with their father for a fishing trip in Quebec, in hopes of finding some closure around the fact that he walked out on the family and was absent for most of their childhoods.

Chabot’s film follows the four men with a great deal of patience as they spend time on the boat, their lines in the water reeling in fish. In another sequence, we watch them play cards in the cabin, and see them cleaning and cooking the fish that they have caught. Throughout it all, they are having a sustained conversation about growing up with a father who wasn’t a constant in their lives, and how it continues to impact them and their relationships.

The film unfolds almost entirely through these often stationary long shots, which are nicely composed by cinematographer Karine van Ameringen, with the camera simply observing as the men quietly discuss trauma from their pasts and going to therapy. The slow, almost meditative pace of the film won’t be for everyone. But what emerges is an interesting, thoughtful, and candid conversation piece about absentee fathers and men’s mental health, set against a beautiful natural backdrop.

Beneath the Surface plays tonight on Super Channel at 9 PM and Midnight (ET). Tickets and more information can be found right here.

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