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LawrenceA

Best Canadian Films

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I ran across this list in the Toronto Film Review from writer Seth Feldman of the 100 Best Canadian Films. I've seen a few.

Seth Feldman’s 100 Best Canadian Films
 
Pre-NFB
1. Back to God’s Country (David Hartford, Neil Shipman, 1919)
2. Carry On, Sergeant! (Bruce Bairnsfather, 1928)
3. Rhapsody in Two Languages (Gordon Sparling, 1934)
4. The Viking (George Melford, Varick Frissell, 1931)
5. ****-Coq (René Delacroix, Gratien Gélinas, 1952)
6. Lest We Forget (Frank Badgley, 1935)
 
NFB (1939-1959)
1. Churchill’s Island (Stuart Legg, 1941)
2. The War for Men’s Minds (Stuart Legg, 1943)
3. Alexis Tremblay Habitant (Jane Marsh, 1943)
4. The Loon’s Necklace (F. R. Crawley, 1948)
5. Neighbours (Norman McLaren, 1952)
6. Corral (Colin Low, 1954)
7. City of Gold (Colin Low, Wolf Koenig, 1957)
8. Skid Row (Allan King, 1956)
9. Begone Dull Care (Norman McLaren, Evelyn Lambart, 1949)
10. The Days Before Christmas (Wolf Koenig, Terence Macartney-Filgate, Stanley Jackson, 1958)
11. Back Breaking Leaf (Terence Macartney-Filgate, 1959)
12. A Chairy Tale (Norman McLaren, Claude Jutra, 1957)
13. Les Raquetteurs (Michel Brault, Gilles Groulx, 1958)
 
1960s – 1970s
1. Glenn Gould: On the Record (Wolf Koenig, Roman Kroitor, 1959)
2. Universe (Colin Low, Roman Kroitor, 1960)
3. Lonely Boy (Wolf Koenig, Roman Kroitor, 1962)
4. Warrendale (Allan King, 1967)
5. The Things I Cannot Change (Tanya Ballantyne, 1967)
6. In the Labyrinth (Roman Kroitor, Colin Low, Hugh O'Connor, 1967)
7. La Lutte (Michel Brault, Claude Jutra, Marcel Carrière, Claude Fournier, 1961)
8. À Saint-Henri le cinq septembre (Hubert Aquin, 1962)
9. Pour la suite du monde (Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault, Marcel Carrière, 1963)
10. À tout prendre (Claude Jutra, 1963)
11. The Cat in the Bag (Gilles Groulx, 1964)
12. Very Nice, Very Nice (Arthur Lipsett, 1961)
13. Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967)
14. Reason Over Passion (Joyce Wieland, 1969)
15. The Hart of  London (Jack Chambers, 1970)
16. La Région Centrale (Michael Snow, 1971)
17. The Far Shore (Joyce Wieland, 1976)
18. Tiger Child (Donald Brittain, 1970)
19. The Mills of the Gods (Beryl Fox, 1965)
20. Waiting for Fidel (Michael Rubbo, 1974)
21. La vie heureuse de Léopold Z (Gilles Carle, 1965)
22. The Death of a Lumberjack (Gilles Carle, 1973)
23. Les Ordres (Michel Brault, 1974)
24. Nobody Waved Good-bye (Don Owen, 1964)
25. Goin’ Down the Road (Donald Shebib, 1970)
26. Mon Oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra, 1971)
27. Paperback Hero (Peter Pearson, 1973)
28. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Ted Kotcheff, 1974)
29. The Old Country Where Rimbaud Died (Jean Pierre Lefebvre, 1977)
 
1980s – 1990s
1. The Grey Fox (Phillip Borsos, 1982)
2. Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983)
3. The Wars (Robin Phillips, 1983)
4. Margaret Atwood: Once in August (Michael Rubbo, 1984)
5. Moose Jaw (Rick Hancox, 1992)
6. Canada’s Sweetheart (Donald Brittain, 1985)
7. My American Cousin (Sandy Wilson, 1985)
8. Decline of the American Empire (Denys Arcand, 1986)
9. Night Zoo (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1987)
10. A Winter Tan (Jackie Burroughs, John Walker, John Frizzell, Louise Clark, Aerlyn Weissman, 1987)
11. Bye Bye Blues (Anne Wheeler, 1989)
12. The Company of Strangers (Cynthia Scott, 1990)
13. Black Robe (Bruce Beresford, 1991)
14. Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg, 1991)
15. Canal (Richard Kerr, 1981)
16. Illuminated Texts (R. Bruce Elder, 1982)
17. Lamentations (R. Bruce Elder, 1985)
18. ?O, Zoo! (Philip Hoffman, 1986)
19. Forbidden Love (Lynne Fernie, Aerlyn Weissman, 1992)
20. Kanehsatake (Alanis Obomsawin, 1993)
21. Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (François Girard, 1993)
22. Le Confessional (Robert Lepage, 1995)
23. Rude (Clement Virgo, 1995)
24. A Place Called Chiapas (Nettie Wild, 1998)
25. Last Night (Don McKellar, 1998)
 
2000s
1. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005)
2. What These Ashes Wanted (Philip Hoffman, 2001)
3. Ararat (Atom Egoyan, 2002)
4. Le Confessional (Robert Lepage, 1995)
5. Ataranjuat: The Fast Runner (Zacharias Kunuk, 2002)
6. From the Journals of Knut Rasmussen (Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn, 2006)
7. Ginger Snaps (John Fawcett, 2000)
8. The Heart of the World (Guy Maddin, 2000)
9. Waydowntown (Gary Burns, 2000)
10. Manufactured Landscapes (Jennifer Baichwal, 2006)
11. The Barbarian Invasions (Denys Arcand, 2003)
12. Beowulf and Grendel (Sturla Gunnarsson, 2005)
13. C.R.A.Z.Y. (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2005)
14. Fire (Deepa Mehta, 1996)
15. Water (Deepa Mehta, 2005)
16. The Trotsky (Jacob Tierney, 2009)
17. Maelström (Denis Villeneuve, 2000)
18. My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007)
19. Away From Her (Sarah Polley, 2006)
 
2010 –
1. Angry Inuk (Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, 2016)
2. Bear 71 (Jeremy Mendes, Leanne Allison, 2012)
3. High Rise (Katerina Cizek, 2009-2015)
4. Tom at the Farm (Xavier Dolan, 2013)
5. Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)
6. Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau, 2011)
7. Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley, 2011)
8. Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012)
 
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I just watched The Viking (1931) just today. Stumbled upon it on YouTube. It is Canada's first talking film. About a sealing expedition with fascinating footage of location setting within the arctic circle. This is the principal value of the film. The movie must be seen even if for that alone. The images of sealers dancing across ice floe will hold your attention, believe me. There is an adversarial relationship between two crew members, one bullying the other, and both after the same girl. The story line is not particularly compelling but does have a nice irony. While on location, an explosion occurred aboard ship that killed about 20 crew members, which I believe is the worst disaster in the history of movie making. Although the story was substandard and the sound horrific, the footage of the expedition itself is of a crisp black and white that is excellent.

***

out of 5

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This is my personal favourite ...

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Ted Kotcheff, 1974)

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Out of those listed, my choice would easily be Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983). But to be fair I have to admit to having only seen a few of these (11, to be specific).

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'Goin' Down the Road' (1970) was the very first Canadian movie that qualified as a true classic. Realistic of the time it was made to perfection.

'A History of Violence' (2005) I've now watched 3 or 4 times - with and without commentary - and it just gets better with each viewing. Maria Bello gives the best performance of her career in that.

One movie not on the list is a beautiful little film called 'Rip Off' (1971), directed by 'Goin' Down the Road' director Don Shebib. A really funny and heart-warming movie with the realism to it for which Shebib is known.

 

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It is rather embarrassing to admit that I have only seen one film on the list : Away from Her.

Shocking snub here: The Sweet Hereafter, which was nominated for Directing and Script at the Oscars for 1997 films.

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Without checking my diary I've seen at least 46 of these films.  Quite a few of the older ones are NFB short subjects.

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8 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

It is rather embarrassing to admit that I have only seen one film on the list : Away from Her.

Shocking snub here: The Sweet Hereafter, which was nominated for Directing and Script at the Oscars for 1997 films.

All I've seen are:

  • The Grey Fox
  • Videodrome
  • Decline of the American Empire
  • Naked Lunch
  • Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould
  • Last Night
  • A History of Violence
  • Ginger Snaps
  • The Barbarian Invasions
  • Beowulf & Grendel
  • My Winnipeg
  • Away from Her

I'm baffled by the inclusion of Beowulf & Grendel, a rather routine adaptation featuring Gerard Butler.

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Like CinemaInternational, I've seen only a handful of movies on the list, perhaps the better known titles, like The Sweet Hereafter, Away From Her, Naked Lunch, The Grey Fox, of which The Sweet Hereafter is my favorite.

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Another Canadian film that's oddly missing from the above list is 1988's 'Dead Ringers'. Directed by David Cronenberg (Canada's most famous director at this point), it has been praised as one of the top Canadian films of all time. Toronto International Film Festival critics have ranked it in the Canadian top 10.

Jeremy Irons gives a phenomenal performance in it, playing identical twin brothers, both of whom are gynecologists. The film is very creepy. Irons won several awards as best actor for his work in this - New York Film Critics Circle; Canada's Genie Award; L.A. Film Critics Association; Chicago Film Critics Association. Cronenberg was similary praised and nominated (winning two at least) as was co-star Canadian Actress Genevieve Bujold.

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