tiff 2015

The top 5 Canadian films at TIFF 2015

2015 was a strong year for Canadian films at TIFF. Not only did some of our established directors earn (or regain) their reputations, but up-and-coming directors proved they will be our future master filmmakers. This year, Canada did us proud at TIFF.

Here are my picks for the 5 best Canadian films I saw at TIFF 2015.

How Heavy This Hammer
Spending 75 minutes with an unlikeable, miserable man in a mid-life crisis (one he doesn't care to escape) may sound like tough cinema. But in Toronto director Kazik Radwanski's hands it's not only a tremendous character study, but proves to be a more universal snapshot of existential inertia, immaturity, and self-pity.

Hyena Road
Paul Gross' look at the Canadian military's presence in Afghanistan can be a little muddled at times in its intentions - is it anti-war or pro-troops, action movie or melodrama? But it's always immensely entertaining. It's also important. We need more stories about our troops, so thank goodness Hyena Road is a good one.

Into the Forest
Anchored by Evan Rachel Wood and Ellen Page's great performances, Into the Forest stands out as a rare post-apocalypse story that's not about survival and hope as instinct, but as choice. It may hit a few clichĂŠs, but Patricia Rozema's humane empathy for the characters and their choices (even bad ones) made this a lovely treat.

A welcome return for Atom Egoyan, Remember isn't just great as a low-key thriller, a geriatric Memento with dementia as a clever ticking time bomb device. Remember is especially powerful in how it uses its engaging entertainment to suggest a call for genocidal atrocities not to be forgotten as their remaining survivors are slowly disappearing.

Sleeping Giant
Andrew Cividino's Sleeping Giant isn't just one of the best Canadian filmmaker debuts in recent memory, it's one of the best Canadian films in the last few years. Like a cottage town 400 Blows, it is an achingly real coming-of-age story that feels both distinctly Canadian and yet profoundly universal.

What were the best Canadian films you saw at TIFF? Let us know in the comments.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @alxhuls for all the latest on TIFF 15.

Still photo of Remember.

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