VIFF review: Montreal's Prayer for a Lost Mitten documents stories from the lost and found—and beyond

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      Prayer for a Lost Mitten (Canada) 79 min. Streaming online at the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival from September 24 to October 7 at VIFF Connect

      The lost and found department of Montreal’s Métro system becomes a starting point for documentarian Jean-François Lesage to observe people seeking to locate missing items, ranging from passports to a pink binder. From the search for these mundane items, Lesage begins to delve into the stories behind these items, including a woman’s obsession with a beloved tuque, or a photo with deep meaning that was lost along with a metro pass.

      And then from there, elliptical jumps take viewers across the wintry city and into the dining and living rooms of homes where people exchange stories about what they have lost, much of which revolves around the theme of love.

      One woman says she’s afraid of losing the happiness she is enjoying from rediscovering herself. A man shares a particularly poignant story about how his HIV diagnosis affected his relationship. A man with disabilities has learnt there’s much more to loss than loss itself.

      Light, artful touches frame these life lessons that help to illuminate and, ultimately, whether you’re in rainy Vancouver or snowy Montreal, illustrate that what provides the most enduring warmth are stories about the human spirit.