A year after her husband’s death, Adèle (Laure Atika) leaves France and settles in Quebec City with her 14-year-old son Victor (Zacharie Chasseriaud). She works nights at a bar in the city. Her son goes to school but has difficulty fitting in. Then one day he accidentally witnesses a teenaged boy’s suicide. French filmmaker Christophe Cousin has resisted the cliché conventions of a widow-and-orphan story, instead drawing maximum effect from eloquent silences and unspoken meaning. Cousin calls himself a writer/traveller, and his take on Québec City is stripped of
all exoticism: no Château Frontenac, no majestic St. Lawrence, no cobblestones. Instead, his Québec is reminiscent of early Léa Pool with its vacant lots, abandoned buildings and open skies that are at once liberating and stifling. The featureless landscapes are well suited to the rootless condition of mother and son, mirroring the erratic journey each has undertaken, leaving open the possibility of redemption. Even in 2013, the “New World” can hold hope for travellers from the old country.