The Canadian film industry has a lot to be proud of: for the first time ever, three Canadian films will be competing for the 2014 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars,” Atom Egoyan’s “The Captive,” and Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy” have all been included in the official lineup for this year’s festival.
“This year’s Cannes festival is truly a monumental occasion for Canadian filmmakers,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “This is the strongest presence we’ve ever had, and a true testament to the exceptional vision and tremendous artistry of our country’s filmmakers. Canadians should feel very proud.”
And that’s not all! Canadian leading man Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, “How to Catch a Monster,” starring Christina Hendricks and Eva Mendes, will premiere in the Un Certain Regard side category.
Gallery | Best Of Canadian Movies 2013
- “Stories We Tell”
Released at 2012’s TIFF and re-screened to raving critics at Sundance in 2013, Sarah Polley’s very personal documentary “Stories We Tell” is getting some preliminary Oscar buzz. Dissecting her own family for the big screen is a big deal, but the fact that Polley pulled it off in such an outstanding way is the more remarkable thing.
Also not being released until early 2014, “Enemy” stars Jake Gyllenhaal in a leading double role, and is directed by Canadian moviemaker Denis Villeneuve. Jarring and cryptic, in no other movie will you see a gigantic spider slowly walking over Toronto’s skyline.
It’s always sad to see an actor with a drug problem play someone with a drug problem so well. In Cory Monteith’s last movie, “McCanick,” he does just that. Honourable mention goes to the leading man in the film — David Morse — who nails his role as a brutally aggressive cop.
- “The F Word”
No, no, no. It’s not that F word. F in this case stands for “friend.” Brought to you by the same man who gave us hockey-fight masterpiece “Goon” (Michael Dowse), “The F Word” explores what it’s like to be attracted to someone who’s already in a relationship.
- “The Art of the Steal”
Originally titled “The Black Marks” when it started filming in and around Toronto, “The Art of the Steal” features some raw Canadian talent (Jay Baruchel) and some classic tough-guy attitude (Kurt Russell). Most notable about this TIFF movie: Canada plays Canada. Can’t get enough of that.
- “Tom à la Ferme” (“Tom at the Farm”)
As unsettling and disturbing as movies go, Xavier Dolan’s latest outing is not for the weak. Unable to deal with his boyfriend’s death, Tom (played by Dolan) heads to his deceased lover’s country home, where everything goes awry.
“Mama” is a Spanish/Canadian co-production, and was executive-produced by none other than horror/fantasy mastermind Guillermo del Toro. Creepy and full of crazy special effects, “Mama” adds some clout to the Canadian horror canon.
- “Devil’s Knot”
Even though this technically isn’t being released until 2014, “Devil’s Knot” premiered at TIFF 2013. Starring Hollywood juggernauts Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, the movie is directed by Canadian favourite Atom Egoyan, who takes his own look at the disturbing case of three murdered boys in Arkansas.
- “Empire of Dirt”
Underserviced in almost every respect, the aboriginal population of Canada hardly ever sees itself represented on the big screen. “Empire of Dirt” looks at three different generations of First Nations women who struggle to deal with their past(s) and life choices.
Of all the countries in the world, Canada possesses the majority of fresh water, so it’s only apt that one of our finest filmmakers put it to screen. Introspective director Jennifer Baichwal has created “Watermark,” a documentary which examines our historical and current usage of water — of course interspersed with jaw-dropping imagery throughout the movie.
- “Still Mine”
Regular love stories can break your heart, but love stories featuring older folks can devastate you. Starring Canadian Screen Award winner James Cromwell (he won for this film!) and Golden Globe winner Geneviève Bujold, “Still Mine” will tug at your heartstrings long after the movie is over.
- “The Defector: Escape From North Korea”
Director and centrepiece for the documentary, Ann Shin, is an inspiration. Not only does she draw critical attention to a very urgent issue (the defection of North Koreans), she actually gets as close as she can to the actual defection route — which is way more complicated as you can imagine. Watching this doc makes you feel instantly better about your circumstances in life, and makes you fret for the millions of lives on hold (and in danger) in Korea.
- “The Grand Seduction”
Anyone who’s been to the Maritimes understands the allure of the east coast. Even lifelong city-dwellers find it hard to resist the seduction. Canadian director Don McKellar has put this feeling onto film, casting Canuck hottie Taylor Kitsch and acting legend Gorden Pinsent.
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