CanFilm Five: THE CORRIDOR Screenwriter Josh MacDonald

“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.

Josh MacDonald is the writer of THE CORRIDOR, which will be released by IFC Midnight (U.S.) and D Films (Canada) March 30th, In Theatres and On Demand. For this CanFilm Five, Josh presents his top five “Surprise-Stirrings of Patriotism While Watching Movies.”  Take it away, Josh:

Growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the 1980s, I was a movie-struck kid who—like most Canadians, I figure—predominantly consumed American pop culture. Out here on the East Coast, I felt pretty far away from where movies actually got made, and pretty far away from seeing my own nation, province, city, or self reflected on the big screen. (I also spent a lot of time finding movies like MON ONCLE ANTOINE or JESUS OF MONTREAL in the Foreign Film section of my local video store: now what kind of cultural schizophrenia was that, I ask you?)

Discovering unexpected Canadiana (or better yet, “Maritime-ishness”—a word I’m now coining) in my movies has always given me a happy jolt, and it’s an experience which usually time-stamps itself onto my movie-going grey matter.Recently, I had this out-of-left-field, knee-jerk “hey, it’s us!” moment while watching WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Tilda Swinton’s character has a wanderlust wish to escape her maternal bonds because, well, her baby son is an asshole. Just before Tilda’s Bad Seed can deface her study-room, we see it decorated in a wallpaper collage of world maps, the most prominent of which is a close-up of the Province of Nova Scotia (its shape sorta resembling a lobster-in-profile). My heart high-fived itself.

I’m hoping that GAME, a short horror movie I’ve recently finished writing and directing, also might trigger some memories in Canadians who grew up in the 1970s and ’80s. As GAME is only seven minutes long, I do want to hold back some surprises about it, but let me say it tries to invoke a generation’s televisual understanding of our hinterland outdoors… I’ve got my fingers crossed for GAME to make it into some festivals later this year, and I’ve also got my fingers crossed that—should you check it out—it’ll startle unexpected patriotism out of you, too, for our True North, Strong and Free.

Top 5 Surprise-Stirrings of Patriotism While Watching Movies

The first time I experienced this joy-buzz recognition was while watching a sold-out screening of GHOSTBUSTERS during its first-run at Halifax’s Oxford Theatre. I was too young to know that Ivan Reitman or Rick Moranis were Canadians, but when Moranis’ Louis Tully held his apartment party and told his guests, “This is real smoked salmon from Nova Scotia, Canada: $24.95 a pound! Only cost me $14.12 after tax, though,” the entire Oxford Theatre blew up in cheers and laughter. I can say with confidence this line didn’t provoke a reaction anywhere near as strong anywhere else on the planet, but in Halifax we couldn’t hear the movie again until Moranis wondered, “Okay… who brought the dog?”

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