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film review

Baby boomers have never been shy about marking rites of passage in self-indulgent, often highly public ways. Now that members of this generation are increasingly slipping this mortal coil, or at least experiencing greater intimations of mortality, there's a certain inevitability to Chi, an NFB documentary tracing the final months of beloved Vancouver actress Babz Chula. Much of Chi (the Tao term for "life force") takes place in an ayurvedic clinic in Kerala, India, where Chula, with director Anne Wheeler and cameras in tow, travelled for cancer treatments in 2010. Wheeler manages a neat "trick" here, expertly balancing (and evoking) sympathy for her friend with a shoot-from-the-hip, almost cosmic matter-of-factness. A hard, often unflinching look at "the art of dying," Chi fully earns the tears you'll likely be shedding.