In 2144, the Earth is experiencing a new ice age. A human child raised by a polar bear must face many dangers to find Polaris, the last star that shines.

On the festival road since its world premiere at Fantasia in 2022, Polaris takes to the stage as terrible fires ravage Western Canada. A prophetic vision for this Canadian production that was shot in the stunning landscapes of the Yukon and is set in a post-apocalyptic world?

If so, we should imitate the young heroine of the film and put ourselves in survival mode. Able to talk to animals and trees, Sumi (Viva Lee) looks like something out of an opus by Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke). She is endearing and courageous, being the life force of this poetic and environmental initiation story.

What promises to be a feature film for the whole family (the introduction with the bear is particularly cute) quickly turns into a bloodthirsty suspense where people are brutally killed and even beheaded. It’s Mad Max – or Turbo Kid – in the snow, without the budget and the humor. An amalgam between innocence and violence that sometimes leaves you perplexed, although it remains representative of reality.

More interesting is the choice to eliminate the dialogues. The characters express themselves in unintelligible dialects, yet manage to create links through music. An idea that makes the subject universal, even if it ends up weighing on the screenplay, which is surprisingly linear and superficial.

The all-female cast is another lucky find. Despite the archetypes in place, it is these allies and enemies who enforce the law of the strongest so dear to Darwin. The most striking role is the hermit played by the venerable Muriel Dutil (yes, yes). Not only does it allow you to develop a mother-daughter relationship with Sumi (while at the same time invigorating Viva Lee’s game), but seeing her take up arms and fight is pure fantasy.

Carefully directed by Kirsten Carthew (The Sun at Midnight), who has captured all the beauty of its vast territories, Polaris turns out to be a tale full of hope and fantasy that manages, despite all its imperfections, to bring blood new to Canadian genre film.