Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!


Today is the 143th anniversary of Canada. Although this year hasn't ended, there's something telling me that our cinema has a bright future ahead.

Obviously, this year proves that it's possible for Canadian films to have great theatrical release in Europe and especially the USA. While most Canadian films only get released in New York and Los Angeles in the USA, Splice and Chloe managed to be seen in many major U.S. cities. Besides, here's a note for all those self-hating Canadians out there with no sense of self-respect: Chloe shows us that a Canadian film can get a good - but still limited - U.S. release even though its story explicitly underlines in an unapologetic way that the film takes place in Canada.

Finally, for all non-Canadians who want to feel like honorary Canuck (i.e. the nickname given to Canadians), here's a list of five recommended Canadian films I adore. Of course, this is only a small sample, because there are so many great films produced by this country. Happy Canada Day!

Heaven on Earth
It's a blessing that Canadian cinema has an interest for the reality of immigration. Besides, this film tells it like it is: this great country of ours unfortunately welcomes detestable men who can't understand that women and and men are equal before the law. While the film doesn't necessarily judge the tradition of arranged marriage, it brilliantly makes us wonder if a husband from an arranged marriage sincerely loves his wife and vice versa thanks to the performance from Indian actress Preity Zinta.
Chloe
Hollywood barely manages to compete with Canada when it comes to depicting on-screen sex. Although the ending is abrupt, the story is a somehow smart exploration of sexual desire by acclaimed director Atom Egoyan. Besides, Amanda Seyfried showed that she's not just a pretty face: she's also one of the most versatile actresses I've seen from the 21rst century. Of course, if you're looking for Egoyan's best film ever, watch The Sweet Hereafter.
Blindness
One might blame this film's storyline for stretching on a bit. However, if we leave that flaw aside, Blindness is an audacious film that illustrates how a catastrophe can either get one's inner wolf out of the woods or their good conscience.
7 Days
This film will definitely go down in history as the most violent Canadian film of all time. However, 7 Days has the guts of showing in an honest way how some people can lose their confidence in the Canadian justice system's (note: death penalty was fully abolished in Canada in 1976) ability to deal with paedophiles. No wonder you see the leading character capture the man who raped his daughter and torture him.
3 saisons (3 Seasons)
If you're looking for an urban drama that is an alternative to Paul Haggis's overrated film Crash, watch 3 saisons. First of all, 3 saisons doesn't have any problem of pacing, which is quite surprising for an independent film. Secondly, the cast's performance looks so incredible, because most of the dialogues in the film were improvised. Now, how does that sound for a pitch?

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