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34 days
16 min
Quebec, 2021

Production : Sarah Baril Gaudet

Special mention - Best Canadian Short Documentary - Hot Docs 2022

The films of Sarah Baril Gaudet


The Benevolents takes us into the world of Tel-Aide Montreal call center, as we follow a group of future volunteers. Through an intimate treatment, the film seeks to remind us of the importance of attentive ears in a society rife with solitude.

A word from Tënk

In 2018, the term "benevolence" was crowned Word of the Year by Éditions Le Robert. In the first half of 2019, it was used nearly 3,500 times in the Canadian francophone media. By the same time, in 2021, there were already over 15,000 uses of the same word. If "benevolence" has become part of our daily lexicon in recent years - and especially since the pandemic - it is because society needs it. This significant breakthrough seems proportional to the surge of hatred, toxicity, resentment, and malice that plagues our living environments, both real and virtual. This need for light, kindness, and altruism seems symptomatic of the state of the world we live in.

If there is a film that can capture the very essence of the word "benevolence", it is this magnificent short documentary by Sarah Baril Gaudet. With great modesty and a sensitive camera that doesn’t hesitate to capture the evocative silences of listening, the director plunges us into the microcosm of a call center and the volunteers who work there. How many human tragedies, desperate acts, and grief does empathetic listening prevent every day? Far from complacency and niceties, true benevolence is rather a disposition of the mind that beckons to the understanding of others. And, by extension, to an understanding of oneself. Our societies have been able to withstand their own demise thanks to these benevolent people who have been acting behind the scenes since time immemorial. No human being, no society, can do without benevolence. A world without kindness cannot endure.



Jason Burnham
Tënk's programming coordinator




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