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.

… Continue Reading


Upcoming Screenings – Halloween Edition!

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. With the Halloween season well upon us, here’s just a selection of worthwhile classic Canadian horror screenings happening this week.

Monday October 24, 7pm
Innis Hall, University of Toronto
Free screening! Cinepix tapped French director Eddy Matalon for this Montreal-lensed rip-off of The Exorcist.

Wednesday October 26, 8:30pm
TIFF BELL Lightbox, Toronto
 The Toronto Film Reference Library presents Julian Roffman’s 1961 classic The Mask, in 3-D! Don’t miss this rare screening of the first Canadian horror film on its 50th anniversary! More info here.

RABID — 35mm
Wednesday October 26,  6:50pm
Bytowne Cinema, Ottawa
The Lost Dominion Screening Collective keeps the ball rolling on its second Canadian Cult Revue season as rabid Montrealers run wild, infected by Marilyn Chamber’s parasitic underarms. More info here.

SHIVERS — 35mm
Thursday October 27, 9pm
Revue Cinema, Toronto
Free screening! Fango editor-in-chief Chris Alexander unspools David Cronenberg’s nightmarish 1975 classic of body horror paranoia as part of his ongoing Film School Confidential series. Special guests are slated to appear. More info here.

Friday October 28, 8pm
Blue Sunshine Psychotronic Film Centre, Montreal
Blood-spattered prom suits and dresses highly encouraged– be crowned the king and queen of Blue Sunshine’s BLOODY PROM as you thrill to this bloody “dead teenager” Canadian slasher classic. More info here.

Monday October 31, 6:30pm
TIFF BELL Lightbox, Toronto
Director George Mihalka will be in attendance to discuss the MPAA’s attack of his gleefully gory East coast Canadian slasher flick and to present the film’s censored scenes. More info here.