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TIFF Next Wave Review: ‘Kuessipan’

February 13, 2020Britany Murphy

Inspired by the novel of the same name by Naomi Fontaine and directed by Myriam Verreault, Kuessipan is a coming-of-age story that follows two best friends, Mikuan (Sharon Ishpatao Fontaine) and Shaniss (Yamie Grégoire), who come from an Innu community.

We first meet the inseparable pair as children, as they deal with their respective family's lives. It's a life that is far from easy for either of them, but especially Shaniss; and after tragedy befalls Shaniss' family, she's sent to live with her aunt on another reserve, leaving the two to have to find a way to reconnect — even if this means Mikuan sneaking away from home in the middle of the night. When we next see the duo, they're about to turn 17-years-old; Shaniss has a small baby and Mikuan is falling for a Caucasian boy from her writing workshop class. But Mikuan begins to dream of leaving the reserve, it causes a rift in their friendship like they've never seen before.

Amazingly acted by its cast, Kuessipan never falls victim to any of the tropes inherent in the genre. Instead, it brilliantly bears its heart and soul to viewers, beckoning them to feel every emotion as it plays out on-screen.

Kuessipan screens Sunday, February 16th at TIFF Next Wave. Its runtime is 1 hr. 57 min.

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