The top 10 Canadian films to look out for at TIFF 2014
TIFF is renowned for its vast array of Hollywood and world cinema, it can be easy sometimes to forget the festival does an excellent job of making sure Canada is well represented. This year in particular, the crop of Canadian films (note: not American movies directed by Canadians) seems very promising. Here are our top ten picks for Canadian films worth checking out at this year's festival.
Bang Bang Baby
Between this and the 2010 TIFF selection The Bang Bang Club, it appears Canadian filmmakers have an unexplained "Bang Bang" fixation. But that's about all these two movies have in common. The feature debut for short-film director Jeffrey St. Jules, Bang Bang Baby sounds like a "has to be seen to be believed" genre-mashup of musical and 1950s sci-fi homage set in small town Canada.
An Eye For Beauty
International award-winning Québécois director, Denys Arcand (The Decline of the American Empire, Jesus of Montreal, The Barbarian Invasion), returns to TIFF with his first film in seven years. That alone makes this a must-see, but An Eye For Beauty is also worth checking out to see how Arcand brings his knack for emotional complexity to his first ever love story.
Homages to giallo films appear to be becoming en vogue. Following in the footsteps of Berberian Sound Studios (a 2012 TIFF selection), director duo Matthew Kennedy and Adam Brooks create a little homegrown channeling of Dario Argento of their own with this Midnight Madness movie about an editor suspected of murdering the actors of the film he's editing.
With an air of Primal Fear about it, Elephant Song sees a psychiatric patient (Xavier Dolan, whose own film Mommy is also at TIFF) square off against a doctor (Bruce Greenwood) investigating the disappearance of a colleague (Colm Feore). Intriguing plot aside, this dramatic thriller from Charles Binamé (Séraphin, The Rocket: The Legend of Rocket Richard) should prove worth watching just to see two generations of Canadian actors--Dolan and Greenwood--face-off.
Sturla Gunnarsson, director of the David Suzuki documentary Force of Nature (the People's Choice Award for best doc in 2010), returns to the festival to look at another force of nature: the heavy rain that falls upon India every year. The film promises to be both an insightful and beautiful look at the effect monsoons have all over India.
Ruba Nadda's switch from quieter dramas (Sabah, and 2009 Best Canadian Feature winner Cairo Time) to thrillers (Inescapable) continues with her TIFF entry this year. The director reunites with Cairo Time star Patricia Clarkson who plays a doctor that helps a wounded man (Scott Speedman) and suddenly finds herself in more trouble than she could have anticipated.
Director Jacob Tierney has built himself into a popular TIFF regular--all his feature films have premiered at the festival. After the darker Good Neighbours, his latest sounds like a return to lighter fare like The Trotsky. Preggoland is a comedy about a maturity-challenged thirty-something woman (Sonja Bennett, who also wrote the screenplay) who fakes a pregnancy in order to keep in touch with her friends.
The outlandish "well that's a first" plotline of Blaine Thurier's Teen Lust alone should inspire curiosity. A teenager (Jesse Carere) finds out his Satanist parents are going to make him a virgin sacrifice, so naturally there's only one thing he can do to save himself. Just when you thought teen sex comedies had no new places to go.
Trick or Treaty?
Alanis Obomsawin adds to her essential documentary work investigating injustices inflicted upon First Nation members with her latest feature, Trick or Treaty? Exploring 1905's Treaty 9, her doc will undoubtedly be a powerful must-watch that reminds us being Canadian isn't just about celebrating our victories, but acknowledging our failures.
Tu Dors Nicole
A buzzed about favorite at the Cannes Film Festival this year, Stéphane Lafleur's Tu Dors Nicole recalls Frances Ha in focusing on a recently graduated woman trying to figure out her next step with friends and career. The relatable premise and millennial topicality will hopefully prove to make Tu Dors Nicole as popular at home as it was in France.