There are two types of documentaries: those that have a central thesis and a clear opinion, and those that are a more objective look at the film’s subjects. Directors Aude Leroux-Levesque and Sebastien Rist’s A Place of Tide and Time is firmly planted in the latter category. It is a snapshot of life in a sparsely populated region on the East Coast of Canada, and the differing mentalities of older and younger generations.
While there are a number of subjects whose stories are presented, the film focuses on three people in particular: Ethan – a young man about to graduate high school with the intention of joining the army in a bid to get away, his girlfriend Brittney – with another year of school, unsure of what she’ll do next, and Ethan’s Uncle Garland – a local fisherman and museum guide recognizing that his way of life is becoming obsolete.
Set against gorgeous desolate landscapes including the Atlantic coast and the snow covered foothills of Eastern Quebec, the film has a staunchly beautiful aesthetic.
This documentary (despite its themes having a nearly universal resonance) has a uniquely Canadian flavour. The subjects go ice-fishing, duck hunting, and snowmobiling. They fell trees, talk and play hockey, and frequently refer to one another as “bud”.
Leroux-Levesque and Rist focus their film on the struggles of ordinary folks in these communities, and while the movie finds some balance between hope and despair, it often feels rather bleak. I would have loved a little more optimism to give the documentary a silver lining, but real life simply doesn’t always work that way. A Place of Tide and Time is a beautifully frank, intermittently heartbreaking and spirited slice of life that presents a touching and heartfelt shift between the ideologies of generations.