|Molly Parker and William Hurt in Rare Birds|
Happy Canada Day! In celebration of July 1st, here are some Canadian film recommendations to enjoy if you happy to get rained in and can’t make it to the fireworks!
If you liked the hypnotic nightmarish-ness of Enemy, then dine on Denis Villeneuve’s equally feverish short, Next Floor:
(Denis Villeneuve, 2008)
During an opulent and luxurious banquet, complete with cavalier servers and valets, eleven pampered guests participate in what appears to be a ritualistic gastronomic carnage. In this absurd and grotesque universe, an unexpected sequence of events undermines the endless symphony of abundance.
If Rhymes for Young Ghouls leaves you wanting to learn more about dark chapters of Canadian history, then take in these two equally haunting shorts:
(Michelle Latimer, 2011)
When Jimmy leaves his Fist Nation's reservation, drawn by the lures of city life, he finds himself confronting a world he could never have imagined. In his encounters with the city's lost souls, he is reminded that no matter how far you travel, you cannot escape who you are. Inspired by the life of the late, teenaged artist Kyle Morrisseau, Choke uses stop-motion animation to explore themes of urban isolation and the individual search for identity in modern society.
(Lisa Jackson, 2009)
The first day of school for a First Nations girl in the 1950s is depicted in musical style as akin to being detained as just another number in a prison in this Genie-winning short.
If you liked The Grand Seduction and want to see more Newfoundlanders pull pranks to squeak by during tough times:
(Sturla Gunnarsson, 2001)
Dave Purcell (William Hurt) is at an impasse. His marriage has failed, his restaurant's going bankrupt, and his optimism is being crushed by the weight of his own apathy. One of the only bright spots in his world comes in the form of Phonce (Andy Jones), a fellow Newfie. Living the life of a true eccentric, Phonce fills his days with invention and his nights with conspiracy theories. In an attempt to bring business back to Dave's flailing fine dining establishment, he and Phonce start a rumour that an extinct breed of duck was seen on the bluffs just behind the restaurant. The plan works—only too well.
(Reginald Harkema, 2006)
Dan (Don McKellar) and Linda (Tracy Wright) are bohemians who survive by scavenging from garbage and trawling yard sales for items they can sell over the internet. Their precarious yet comfortable routine is thrown into hilarious confusion when Susan (Nadia Litz), an attractive and mysterious young radical, enters their world and threatens their complacent lifestyle. Susan soon learns however, that she is not the only one with secrets.
If you’re excited for that upcoming Xavier Dolan movie, here are some other Canadian films with serious mommy issues:
(Scott Smith, 2003)
Based on Barbara Gowdy's acclaimed novel, Falling Angels is the wryly funny story of three sisters coming of age in a wildly dysfunctional family. Set against the backdrop of 1960s’ free love, the Cold War, LSD, and the dawn of feminism, Falling Angels is a sardonic look at what really goes on beneath the surface of suburban harmony and bliss.
C’est pas moi, je le jure! (It’s Not Me, I Swear!)
(Philippe Falardeau, 2008)
Léon (Atoine L’Écuyer) is ten years old, has lots of problems and an overly fertile imagination. Of course, there is mom (Suzanne Clément) and dad (Daniel Brière) who are always fighting, and those annoying neighbors who get to spend the summer at the beach. And then, there's Léa (Catherine Faucher), the exasperating girl who's always right about everything. In the summer of '68, when mom decides to leave everything behind to start a new life in Greece, Léon is prepared to do anything to kill the pain. Destroy the neighbors' house, become a professional liar and even, why not, fall in love with Léa. Together, they will overcome the pain of growing up when you feel abandoned.
Available on YouTube VOD.