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L'autre Rive (A Shore Away)

average rating is 5 out of 5


Chris Buick


Posted on:

Jul 26, 2023

Film Reviews
L'autre Rive (A Shore Away)
Directed by:
Gaëlle Graton
Written by:
Gaëlle Graton
Judith Baribeau, Rosalie Fortier

Former social worker Geneviève, now limited to caretaking and cleaning duties at an emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness, reunites with Camille, a young woman now returning to the shelter for refuge despite Geneviève’s belief she had helped reintroduce her to the world during her time as a social worker.


Filmed in a real emergency shelter on location in Montreal, QC, Canada (where in 2020 many of those whom the film represents where horribly displaced and then abandoned after the destruction of a large encampment, pushing shelters like these to breaking point), this eloquently put together debut from writer/director Gaëlle Graton tackles the many preconceptions around homelessness; how anyone, from all walks of life, falling victim to any number of circumstances, can find themselves trapped and clinging to a failing and broken system that has completely left them behind and the judgements and injustices they face every day.


Graton’s film is as authentic and inspiring as they come when it comes to putting forward such a vitally important discussion. The very real existence of those seeking refuge like Camille and those doing all they can to help like Geneviève face every day is not only depicted with great veracity, but tremendous consideration. Shelters like these are constantly swimming against the tide, doing all they can and more each day but ultimately always finding themselves understaffed, under-resourced and inevitably, unable to help everyone. Setting the film within such a real place really drives home this harsh reality and all the way through, you feel that constant futility, especially in Geneviève, who represents the unsung heroes we all know, who do what they do simply because someone must do something, carrying on despite everything else.


But framing this story as an intimate tale between these two women is where the real beauty of Graton’s film lies, the whole piece bolstered by two powerful performances from two outstanding performers. Fortier’s nuance in theirs manages to fully exemplify not only the type of frustration and desperation that someone like Camille struggles with each day, but also a kind of inner hope that might never truly die, a simple longing for someone to understand what it's like to dream, to truly want, but also how to see the small but beautiful in the world as they do. And it’s Baribeau’s patient, respectful and compassionate Geneviève that gives Camille that understanding and has the empathy to see the world through their eyes, this deep bond between the two giving real beauty to a film celebrating the fact that it's the little gestures, such as simply lending an ear to listen that can change worlds, and remind us that we are all unified more than we think, especially in our desire to dream.


An elegantly crafted film with an important message. Through a considered and deeply affecting intimate piece of storytelling, L’autre Rive celebrates human connection and humanity, while also shining a bright light on a very pertinent humanitarian crisis that is only worsening.

About the Film Critic
Chris Buick
Chris Buick
Short Film
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