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Is Canadian Cinema dull and boring?

toodead

over 2 years ago

anyone seen this canadian film?

(post a pretty lady might get more response)

flip trotsky

over 2 years ago

Brief Encounter is pretty dull, so British cinema is probably boring too. Compellingly logical.

Tommy wrote: “check out Guy Maddin, Michel Brault, Atom Egoyan, Denis Villineuve, Xavier Dolan, Don Mckeller, Allan King.”

And Robert Lepage, Jean-Claude Lauzon, Denys Arcand, etc, etc. Jean-Marc Vallee’s films have been getting rave reviews in my local weekly too, but I haven’t seen any yet.

Mathew

over 2 years ago

Our country is saturated with American pop-culture. Old news. We have no culture because the American economy would not benefit from it. 70% of films shown in Germany are American; German filmmakers are forgotten. Even France’s ‘cultural exception’ isn’t enough for them. I think the only countries against the exception were America and Iraq. I don’t even know what ‘Canadian films’ are like. What kind of culture or ‘nationalism’ there could be.

MICHAEL

over 2 years ago

Robert W Peabody:
“I think the OP would have been better written:
Is there a national character and is that character reflected in films?

Tarkovsky’s films rain Russian mysticism.

Canadian films?

Dunno…"

I agree with this – and I’m Quebecois! Quebec cinema has an identity as opposed to the rest of Canada but Canada has a whole does not really have a recognizable “personality” the way, say Russian or Japanese cinema does.

I’ve yet to see a film that I felt accurately reflected Canadian life, values, culture, etc. Well, the ones done in Quebec have seemed pretty authentic but they take place in areas completely different from my own.

ShaKha

over 2 years ago

Flip Trotsky wrote: "Tommy wrote: “check out Guy Maddin, Michel Brault, Atom Egoyan, Denis Villineuve, Xavier Dolan, Don Mckeller, Allan King.”

And Robert Lepage, Jean-Claude Lauzon, Denys Arcand"

Bruce McDonald, Arthur Lipsett, Ryan Larkin, Norman McLaren, Vincenzo Natali, Philip Falardeau, etc.

Let’s keep this list going. Our country may only have a population of 39 million or so, but about half of them seem to be brilliant filmmakers.

And for what it’s worth, Flip, Vallee’s C.R.A.Z.Y. is a beautiful film, strongly recommended as a film of the Canadian queer cinema. I haven’t seen his newest film yet, but will soon. You can skip the Young Victoria (not bad, but not exceptional).

Robert W Peabody III

over 2 years ago

@MICHAEL

I’m only asking the question. If there is national character, I don’t even want to know what it is – it would be abhorrent to me to perceive art in that way.

If there is mysticism in a work, I want to understand the relationships of the work to that feeling – not its relationship to a nation.

I apologize for any confusion.

Danny Bailey

over 2 years ago

To Flip Trotsky
BriefEncounter happens to be a masterpiece. British cinema has more memorable films including Academy Award winners. I don’t see any Canadian films as having resonating in America or at the Academy Awards as much as British films. They have bigger budgets, better actors and directors etc… I have not been overly impressed with any Canadian film. I do like their animated films however.

Danny Bailey

over 2 years ago

Sorry, I meant to say “having RESONATED in America” but you get the idea

Danny Bailey

over 2 years ago

To Michael,
I couldn’t agree more

Vincent​Vendett​a

over 2 years ago

@Michael I would suggest The Sweet Hereafter; the scene with the school bus falling into the river scared the crap out of me when I was like 8 years old, and it still does.

ShaKha

over 2 years ago

@Danny Bailey: Seriously? You consider the worth of a film by the Oscars it has won? I have to admit that I don’t like you very much right now, but this isn’t about childish name-calling, so I’ll give you some recommendations instead.

People often have issues with “Canadian” cinema, but you specifically seem to have an issue with “Quebecois” cinema, so here are some to check out:

Les Ordres – Michel Brault
C’est Pas Moi, Je le Jure – Pierre Falardeau
Maelstrom – Denis Villeneuve
Polytechnique – Villeneuve
Incendies – Villeneuve
Le Confessionale – Robert Lepage
No – Robert Lepage
Les Bons Debarras – Francis Mankiewicz

Then, move on to the Anglophone Canadian cinema (I’m gonna skip the Cronenbergs, because you’ve already written him off):

Last Night – Don McKellar
Speaking Parts – Atom Egoyan
Highway 61 – Bruce McDonald
Hard Core Logo – Bruce McDonald
Trigger – Bruce McDonald

Now, I could keep naming films, but I would think that you would find at least one film here that will change your opinion. And if you don’t, then I will resort to childish name-calling.

Ari

over 2 years ago

At least Danny didn’t call Canadians dull and boring. Or is calling Canadian cinema dull and boring the same as calling Canadians dull and boring? Or can we just say American cinema is stupid and violent? British cinema is polite and refined? French cinema is sex obsessed and intellectual? Ad nauseam. Productive conversation all around. Why are smart people even responding to this nonsense with counter-examples?

House 0f Leaves

-moderator-
over 2 years ago

Ha.

ShaKha

over 2 years ago

@Ari: Admittedly, I’m almost certain this guy is a troll, but this is just in case…

It’s just that it really bugs me when people attack Canadian cinema, because it is so common, not just internationally, but within the country. They just see the shit being produced to compete with American films (who the fuck thought a gunless western (creatively named Gunless) was a good idea?) and just decide that it’s all shit. Then, you have people, like this individual, who actually give the other side shit, saying the films that they see are boring. I’m just sick and tired of it. Excuse me, I’m gonna go punch someone!

Monsieur Zom

over 2 years ago

@Danny Bailey : Honestly, I never felt that the dream sequence was out of place or that the film would have benefited from showing it right after the spying scene. I think it’s best that there was some space between the scenes that dealt with Benoit’s sexual awakening, it feels a bit more gradual that way (not exactly something that happen at a precise moment) – the dream being the climax. Plus, I prefer that it runs throughout the movie instead of it being just one long sequence dealing with the subject.

Also, I’m not sure why it’s that much of a good thing (it ain’t necessarily a bad one either) that a film resonates with the American audiences at large, plenty of masterpieces don’t. And the Academy Awards don’t exactly guarantee excellence either (otherwise Jésus de Montréal – a film that did resonate with the American public enough to be nominated and that you disliked – should be considered excellent).

And why are bigger (aka inflated) budgets so great? A very mainstream QC film like Bon Cop, Bad Cop ; 8,000,000$. Another recent buddy cop, but this time American (sorry, I don’t know any recent British one) like Cop Out ; 37,000,000$ . The former is a better film and looks like it costed more. Big budget doesn’t equal quality and most films don’t exactly require big budgets unless you want to overpay your actors and inflate the costs.

As for the better actors, better directors and et cetera (or the fact that we make clichéd melodramas), well that’s highly subjective and you don’t exactly provide a lot of examples and comparison to make your point.

Joks

over 2 years ago

Yes, i agree it is, for the most part. it’s just a notch or two above Australian cinema ;-)

Kenji

over 2 years ago

ybe the best Canadian films haven’t resonated as much as British films in the US cos they are less comfortably put in a niche, and less suited to conventional US audience expectations. No bad thing. And the size of a budget or the production values are no indicators of quality. Also the US “indie” scene gets more attention simply for being for being a US alternative to crash (and cash) bang Hollywood bombast, tho quirkiness has in a way been gobbled up and twisted as a marketable product.

Kenji

over 2 years ago

Has anyone seen Le Vieux Pays ou Rimbaud est Mort? That doesn’t seem to be on mubi. (oh and i don’t know how to type the accent on ou)

Kenji

over 2 years ago

Zachary W

over 2 years ago

No one can tell me that “Lupo the Butcher” is dull and boring. Lupo rules!

Kenji

over 2 years ago

Canada is part of the Commonwealth but doesn’t have such posh accents, the stately homes of England, yeomen of the guard or- when i was there anyway- customs officials with guns. Has that changed with the wars of terror? They were laid back and friendly while the US customs cut menacing figures with their fancy weapons on display. i was relieved to get back from the US side of Niagara. No surprise then to hear of a Gunless western. Canadians are simply not English enough or “American” enough. Some even speak French! Canada goes heading off willy nilly in the direction of Greenland while saying hi to people arriving the other side from Asia! It may not have enough inhabitants for a collective fart in the direction of Hollywood to reach target. The Canadian is hardened by the snows but does things his or her way; the Canadian lumberjack is a real man who wears suspenders and a bra.
One pastime (albeit less common these days) is wrestling with a narwhal in a kilt (though why the narwhal should wear a kilt is beyond me). In any event, it’s just not cricket.

Judicial Joe

over 2 years ago

This calls for a “best Canadian films” poll. Kenji, care to do the honors?

Judicial Joe

over 2 years ago

Cronenberg’s Videodrome, Egoyan’s Chloe, McLaren’s Neighbors and several of Maddin’s shorts would make my list.

Kenji

over 2 years ago

@JJ: I’ll be having to count the short films poll next week, and that will take some time. Then i had another poll in mind, unconnected with films. But yeah, i’m all for attention to Canada, among various national cinemas.

Has anyone mentioned Caroline Leaf, eg The Street (#2 all-time animation in 1984 poll), Metamorphosis of Mr Samsa?

Danny Bailey

over 2 years ago

@To Monsieur Zom
I do have an example of insipid acting in Canadian cinema. “Black Robe”, while well done in the artsy areas (ie. Music, Set Design) failed to have good actors to bring the whole film to life (with the exception of the Genie award winning performance of August Schellenberg). If it were any other country, the acting would have been slightly better. However this is my perception of things. What do you think?

Ari

over 2 years ago

“If it were any other country, the acting would have been slightly better. However this is my perception of things. What do you think?’

Considering your latest update, Danny, features lavish praise for a Canadian actor named Christopher Plummer, I think your perception is as ill-advised as this thread.

Danny Bailey

over 2 years ago

@Ari
Christopher Plummer is an exception because he has proved through various outside of Canada that he is a true thespian and a man of talent. At least he didn’t remain in Canada for his entire career.

Kenji

over 2 years ago

Monsieur Zom

over 2 years ago

@Danny Bailley : I haven’t watched Black Robe, but I have seen several films with Lothaire Bluteau and while I won’t claim he’s an acting powerhouse, I do think he’s an alright actor. And most Canadian actors (for Québécois it’s a different thing) can’t remain in Canada for most of their career, not enough working opportunity really (unless they also speak French). And in Québec it’s only rather recently that you can stay home for most of your career. Anyway, I don’t think that Québécois actors and actresses like Gilbert Sicotte, Pascale Bussières, Réal Bossé, Luc Picard or Charlotte Laurier, etc. have any reason to be envious of the talent of others.

Maybe you’d enjoy the Québécois and Canadian cinema of the 2000s more ; after all, since 2003 (included) there has been three Academy Awards nominations (one win) vs two nominations prior in 31 years. And I don’t think Québécois films have ever been more popular in the festival circuits than now and it is doing better business domestically than ever. So I guess it resonates more with people now than it did before.

I think it’s a bit difficult for non-French speaking outsiders to be that familiar with Québec’s cinema prior to the advent of DVD. A good many of the films made before that time are simply unavailable outside of French-only VHS and a fairly recent Québec-only VOD service (the market is just too small to re-release those films in DVD or blu-ray). That is unless the film has an ONF connection and even when it has, that doesn’t guaranty a bilingual release. Michel Brault’s films at the ONF (minus one) were lucky to get one, but Gilles Groulx’s – also one of the most well-known and appreciated Québécois filmmaker, at least in Québec, by cinephiles – films didn’t have a bilingual release (with the exception of two shorts and one feature-length, sold separably). Unless, a lot of those films were available fansubbed via some fancy torrent web-site, but I wouldn’t know.

Elvis Is King

over 2 years ago

Mon Oncle Antoine is not only the best Canadian film, it is the ONLY good Canadian feature film (I would like to see Jutra’s follow-up Kamouraska but it has remained frustratingly hard to find).
Pardon my hyperbole. But Canadian directors are some of the most over-rated. Cronenberg, Egoyan, Madden, McLaren, Lepage, (his film work at least), Arcand. They make me crazy!
However, I do love the animated short The Cat Came Back (1988). Too funny!