Published Sep 08, 2012Having completed his trilogy about the three Christian virtues (La Neuvaine, Contre Tout Espérance and La Donation), the reflective and poetic Bernard Émond continues his auteur trajectory of tackling metaphysical subject matter with All That You Possess, a treatise on what it means to be connected to the world around us.
It does so by focusing on literary academic and professor Pierre Leduc (Patrick Drolet), a man that attempts to escape the world by withdrawing from office politics and quotidian drudgery by quitting his job and spending his time at home translating an obscure Polish poet into French.
But while there is appeal in eschewing the humdrum nonsense of collective social insanity, the practicality of worldly obligations draws Pierre back in when his mortally ill father dumps money and responsibility on his lap, and a chance meeting finds him face-to-face with a teenage daughter he's never met.
Such subject matter could easily gravitate towards the accessible and twee, detailing Pierre as a misguided soul that just needs a big hug from the lexicon of traditionalist values. Howver, Émond isn't interested in glib resolutions or easy answers. Pierre's quest is far deeper and more complex than a mere change of attitude. His analysis of identity in relation to society boils down to sheer annihilation anxiety and the nature of knowledge and material success as identity signifiers that ultimately mean nothing when mortality comes into the picture.
Understandably, such material plays quite heavily and is exacerbated by Émond's quiet, contemplative approach. Occasionally, there's a tendency to dote on the prosaic and angst-ridden, particularly when Pierre reads aloud the Polish poetry he's translating, which borders on purple prose, but the overall message of the film rings loud and clear.
Valuing objects and social signifiers over human relationships and responsibilities may bring temporary pleasures, but it's ultimately fleeting. (eOne)