The winner of the audience award at the recent Locarno film festival, Gabrielle is a feel-good drama about a developmentally disabled young woman, Gabrielle (Gabrielle Marion-Rivard), who sings in a local choir. She wants more independence so she can pursue a romantic relationship with fellow singer Martin (Alexandre Landry), but Martin's mother pulls them apart. Although Louise Archambaud's drama is predictably heart-tugging, the work of special needs actors and professionals is faultlessly integrated, and the film represents a fresh approach to a musical. Key dramatic moments are built around choir rehearsals, and Quebec singer-songwriter Robert Charlebois makes a entertaining cameo for the climax.
At VIFF: Oct. 6, 7 pm, Vancity; Oct. 7, 4 pm, Playhouse