Film
valentine-film-header
sandra_oh_last_night

A still from the 1998 film “Last Night” starring Sandra Oh and Don McKellar.

Canadian filmmakers have long maintained an uneasy relationship with romantic films – comedy or drama – at least in their classical form. If the Hollywood version ends by finding stability in couples (and the famous last kiss), the typical Canadian romantic comedy leaves its lovers alone and somehow unfulfilled. They tend to be off-kilter, with only a few actually telling a romantic tale straight up. In a country more famous for producing seriously deranged love stories such as Lynne Stopkewich’s Kissed and David Cronenberg’s Crash, notable Canadian romantic movies have been few and far between. Here’s a sampling of the best half-dozen for your Valentine’s Day viewing – and some even have a happy ending.

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Film
History
a-christmas-story-header

The tag line for Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story is: “A Tribute to the Original, Traditional, One Hundred Per Cent, Red-Blooded, Two Fisted, All-American Christmas.” Except that the film isn’t. American that is. It’s a 100-per-cent Canadian production, shot on location in St. Catherines and Lindsay, Ontario, and studios in Toronto.

This is the story behind one of the most popular Yuletide movies that’s right up there with the holiday holy trinity of A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street

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Film
History
nanook-header

Arguably the most famous film ever shot in Canada, Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North was first shown to the public 90 years ago in New York City and then around the world in the summer of 1922. It caused an immediate sensation with its real-life depiction of the people and their struggle to survive the harsh landscape of Canada’s Far North. The film went on to exert considerable influence on the development of documentary films worldwide, although the word “documentary” was not in use when the film was made. It came later, in 1926, when Scottish film critic John Grierson, the man who would go on to create the National Film Board of Canada in 1939, coined the word to describe Moana of the South Seas, another Flaherty film.

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Film
In the News
genie-awards

The 2012 Genie Awards are upon us once again with high hopes and low grumbling.

There are high hopes for a film industry perennially long on promise but short on delivery, and grumbling from critics who have watched the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the organization responsible for the Genie and the Gemini Awards, struggle to live up to its claim that its awards are the “ultimate accolade” for Canadian films.

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Film
In the News
David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg at the Toronto International Film Festival, Maclean’s

“If David Cronenberg did not exist, would we invent him? Could we invent him?” – Tom McSorley, Take One: Film in Canada

Living in this peculiar, fractious confederation called Canada, it is satisfying to observe the slow but certain ascension of David Cronenberg to the status of full-blown Canadian cultural institution – to see him in the polite, lofty company of Margaret Atwood, Peter Mansbridge or Robert Lepage. For this is a country of supremely timid and conservative cultural inclinations, which tends to favour longevity over vitality, and cast its more indelicate cultural voices into permanent exile from the mainstream.

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