Canada on ICM
Canada on ICM
A group where you can talk about Canadian cinema in french or english!... or about anything else! :P
- 3 January 2012
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I can recommend a few starting points for you depending on your interests.
If you like Cronenberg I think you would like Atom Egoyan's stuff, which focuses on psychosexual drama, the effect of media on human relations, and loss. The Sweet Hereafter is probably his best-known work but I can't recommend Calendar and the Adjuster enough.
Guy Maddin is my other favourite. His films are typically inspired by early cinema and are weirdly funny explorations of subconscious and repressed desires, vaguely recalled childhood memories and warped gothic sensibilities. My Winnipeg and Brand Upon the Brain are both great; maybe the hockey-themed Cowards Bend the Knee or the morosely humourous musical the Saddest Music in the World would be a better starting point.
Donald Shebib's Goin' Down the Road is probably the acknowledged classic of English Canadian cinema so you should probably check that out one day. It pretty much lives up to the hype. But Don Owen's Nobody Waved Goodbye is equally good and reminded me in a way of Gilles Groulx's Le chat dans le sac.
Allan King's raw and cathartic documentaries are also great and perennially under-rated (or at least under-watched). Warrendale is the most well-known but I prefer the uncomfortable A Married Couple and the devastating Dying at Grace.
For something more down-to-earth, Bruce McDonald's punky road-trip movies are fun; I like Highway 61 personally. He also has a cool radio drama-based horror movie, Pontypool, as well as a solid First Nations dramedy, Dance Me Outside.
Not sure if you are interested in queer cinema but Bruce LaBruce (or La Bruce) is known for his campy, humourous and provocative x-rated work as well as his riffs on the zombie genre. I've only seen Hustler White but I thought it was a lot of fun.
For experimental stuff I love Jack Chambers' enigmatic and beautiful the Hart of London, although it's a bit hard to locate a copy. There's one on tpb. Also, having seen all of Joyce Wieland's film work, although she is rather hit-and-miss I can recommend the short Rat Life and Diet in North America as well as the mesmerizing feature-length Reason Over Passion; but I would probably avoid the underwhelming period drama the Far Shore.
A promising debut I recently watched was Jeff Barnaby's Rhymes for Young Ghouls, which isn't totally brilliant but is a striking drama set during the residential school era.
Another First Nations filmmaker with whom I am unfortunately unfamiliar is Alanis Obomsawin, whose documentaries on indigenous issues seem to receive a lot of praise.
Lastly, although they are not English but Inuktitut films, I highly recommend Zacharias Kunuk's criminally under-watched follow-up to the better-known Atanarjuat, the Journals of Knud Rasmussen. Equally amazing is the closing film of the loosely related trilogy, the beautiful and elegiac Le jour avant le lendemain.
I'm always looking for new Canadian movies to check out, so if anybody has any please let me know. I recently saw Stephane Lafleur's Tu dors Nicole at TIFF and really liked its blend of suburban ennui and wry humour, so I am working my way back through his previous two films. 1 year 1 month ago
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