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L’art du masque

Behold! This vintage cover art for the the French VHS release of Julian Roffman’s THE MASK may make the film look like a knock-off of THE CRAWLING EYE, but it’s still pretty amazing (sent by Tal, via here).

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Canada’s Token 10?

The Toronto International Film Festival’s 2011 Canada’s Top 10 list is receiving some unexpected scrutiny. The 10 selections of TIFF’s annual list of the best Canadian feature films of the year, picked by a panel of 10 specially appointed film writers, filmmakers, programmers and ex-bureaucrats, are been questioned far more in the press than perhaps ever before, an interesting trend that seems to mirror the evolving approach critics and audiences are taking towards Canadian film.

If you only read one article about the Top 10, make it Norman Wilner’s recent piece for Toronto alt-weekly NOW, “Canuck Conundrum,” which takes issue with the TIFF panel’s reliance on established and celebrated Canadian directors–even when their latest work is not considered up to par. Noting his reservations about nine of the list’s 10 selections (including Sarah Polley’s sophomore effort TAKE THIS WALTZ), Wilner zeros in on Cronenberg’s new psychiatry melodrama, A DANGEROUS METHOD, as an example of a less-than-essential work from a minted Canadian icon that may have been recognized at the expense of a “hungry” up-and-coming director.

Looking back over TIFF’s lists for the last 11 years, it’s hard to argue with Wilner’s point–every single Cronenberg film made since TIFF started this initiative in 2001 has been listed (yes, even SPIDER), and the only Atom Egoyan film of the last decade not officially recognized is 2009’s CHLOE. Wilner argues that such selections amount to little more than pandering; that we should constantly reassess the quality of the films of our most visible filmmakers like Cronenberg (or Egoyan, or Polley, for that matter) instead of automatically including them on “best of” lists.

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CanFilm Five: Cult Film Comix Artist Rick Trembles

“CanFilm Five” is the Canuxploitation blog’s ongoing guest column, which brings together prominent filmmakers, bloggers, critics and programmers to discuss their most loved offbeat Canadian films.

Rick Trembles’ critically acclaimed and always awesome hybrid comic strip/ movie criticism column Motion Picture Purgatory has been appearing every week in the Montreal Mirror since 1998 (after originating in the same pages with the paper’s inception in the ’80s). His unique work has been compiled and published as books by Fab Press (volume 1 & volume 2 are currently available).

Trembles also continues to make animated short films that occasionally tour the globe and to play in his 32-year-old post-punk band The American Devices. His more experimental comix work has been featured in numerous galleries and published internationally. The L.A. Times called him “a famous free thinker,” and Concordia University English Professor Marcie Frank featured Trembles in her chapter about comix for the book QUEER DIASPORAS (Duke University Press).

For this CanFilm Five, Rick offers his five favourite Canadian films that he has  featured in Motion Picture Purgatory. Click the thumbnail to see the full, comprehensive reviews on Rick’s site!

Rick sez: 

Not only does SWEET MOVIE (1975) have nostalgia-inducing footage of Montreal’s landmark Guaranteed Pure Milk tower that I used to frequently walk past, but full-frontal chocolate-covered split beaver from ’70s Quebec sex icon Carole Laure (at her confused counter-culture best), & Otto Muhl’s scatological “Cult of Infantilism” flailing about; who can resist such a banned oddity?

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Upcoming Screenings: January 2012

While many of us discovered Canuxploitation films through late night TV screenings and VHS rentals, there’s still something special about catching a locally produced B-movie classic in the theatre alongside other Canadian film fans. Here’s a selection of classic Canadian B-movie screenings happening soon.

THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVED DOWN THE LANE — 16mm
Friday January 6, 7pm
Trash Palace, Toronto
This understated, genuinely creepy psycho-thriller is one of the finest Canadian co-productions of its time. More info here.

ILSA, SHE-WOLF OF THE SS — 35mm
Friday January 20, 11:55pm
Mayfair Theatre, Ottawa
A midnight screening of this Cinepix classic of sleaze, sex and sadism. More info here.

VIDEODROME— 35mm
Wednesday January 25, 7pm
Bytowne Theatre, Ottawa
Long live the Lost Dominion Screening Collective‘s Canadian Cult Revue! More info here.

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Canuxploitation’s Best of 2011

2011 was a big year for Canadian film. A resurgence of grindhouse-influenced genre film stuck with filmmakers here a little longer than our southern peers, and we’ve seen production booms in areas not usually noted for their output. There were big changes happening here at Canuxploitation.com too, from the July 1 redesign, our appearance at FanTasia, course at the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, and the launch of this blog to help explore the culture that continues to spring up around these films. So as we clean up the holiday mess and bring in 2012, let’s take an entirely unscientific  look back at the year that was.

 

BEST FEATURE OF 2011

HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN

A lot of movies are made in Canada every year but no genre film was as well-made, visible and influential as Jason Eisener’s HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, which caused a sensation in 2011 with its balls-out, gritty homage to 1970s and ’80s trash. From landing the cover of RUE MORGUE to making it on TIFF’s Canadian top 10 list–a feat unheard of for a Canadian exploitation movie–HOBO was everywhere and it’s influence will be felt for years. One has to wonder whether a Genie lies in the film’s future.

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