CANADA NOW, the annual UK film festival showcasing the best of new Canadian cinema has launched – and this year it’s virtual.
The films are available to rent exclusively on Curzon Home Cinema, with every title available for at least two months.
As well as the six feature films, a selection of live online interviews with the filmmakers is being made available for free throughout the programme.
The festival launched on Friday 5 June with the Curzon Artificial Eye’s release of Atom Egoyan’s Guest Of Honour, starring David Thewlis and Laysla De Oliveira. The programme is continuing with five UK premieres and includes a special live interview with journalist Robert Fisk and director Yung Chang for the critically acclaimed documentary This Is Not A Movie on Monday 15 June.
The full programme is listed below, and more information is available on the official website: http://canadanow.co.uk/
FRIDAY 5 JUNE | GUEST OF HONOUR (Atom Egoyan | 105 mins | PG)
Internationally-acclaimed veteran filmmaker Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Adoration, Remember) returns with a complex, absorbing family drama about a father-daughter relationship wrestling with past traumas that inform present circumstances.
Jim Davis (David Thewlis) is a health inspector in Hamilton, making sure restaurants are up to health code standards. His daughter, Veronica (Laysla De Oliveira), a high school music teacher, has been recently incarcerated for inappropriate behaviour with students. Jim is convinced that she is innocent, but his efforts to reduce her sentence are blocked by Veronica’s mysterious refusal to cooperate. In the midst of trying to understand his daughter’s attitude, Jim channels his energy and frustration into his work, with some unsettling results and, as always in Egoyan, some startling revelations.
FRIDAY 12 JUNE | THIS IS NOT A MOVIE (Yung Chang | 106 mins | 15)
This fascinating, intimate portrait of British political correspondent Robert Fisk may be about a single journalist, but it’s also an intelligent and valuable documentary about how – now more than ever – credible, reliable journalism is crucial to understanding our tumultuous world.
Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Yung Chang ( Up The Yangtze) follows Fisk’s storied and often dangerous career, from his early coverage of the Troubles in Northern Ireland to the various, ongoing, and intense Middle East conflicts from the Israeli-Palestinian tensions to recent events in Syria.
FRIDAY 26 JUNE | ANNE AT 13,000 FT (Kazik Radwanski | 75 mins | PG)
In just two features – TIFF selections Tower (2012) and How Heavy This Hammer (2015) – Kazik Radwanski has emerged as one of the most distinctive young voices in Canadian cinema, with his refreshingly unadorned yet empathic portraits of alienated individuals struggling to keep it together. His latest and best film to date, Anne at 13,000 ft, centres on a precarious period in the life of Anne, played by an electric Deragh Campbell in one of the year’s most staggering performances.
FRIDAY 3 JULY | ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF NOAH PIUGATTUK (Zacharias Kunuk | 113 mins | PG)
Set in 1961 on Canada’s far northern Baffin Island, Zacharias Kunuk’s (Atanarjuat) latest drama is a quietly riveting tale drawn from the historical reality of the attempted forced relocation and cultural assimilation of Canada’s Inuit Indigenous peoples.
One Day revolves around Noah Piugattuk and his nomadic Inuit band who live and hunt as their ancestors have done for millennia in the vast snowy landscapes. During one hunting trip, proceedings are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of an Inuit translator and a white government employee, known as Boss. Dispatched by the Government of Canada, Boss wants to convince Noah and his band to move to a settlement far from their traditional lands. Their intense conversation, translated with varying (and amusing) degrees of accuracy, is both dramatic and illuminating about the processes of, and strategies of resistance to, the forces of colonisation. Mesmerizing.
FRIDAY 17 JULY | AND THE BIRDS RAINED DOWN (Louise Archambault | 127 mins | 15)
In this meditative drama about time and friendship, award-winning director Louise Archambault ( Familia, Gabrielle) weaves together the stories of three ageing hermits who have left their former lives and gone “off the grid” into the Quebec landscape. Living in a remote forest near a lake, Tom, Charlie, and Ted pass the time by tending to their neighbour’s cannabis crop, swimming, singing, and reminiscing. Their peaceful pastoral existence is soon shattered by a sudden death of one in their group, and by the arrival of two women: a young photographer who wants to know more about the troubled pasts of these hermits, and an elderly woman who spent most of her life institutionalised and is now looking for solace in nature.
Meanwhile, wildfires are threatening the region and encroaching on what was their idyllic life away from the modern world. Within its quiet, intimate personal dramas, And The Birds Rained Down delivers a poetic, elegiac study of intertwined lives and destinies, where love can happen at any age. It also features a star-studded ensemble cast of legendary Quebec actors, including Remy Girard, Gilbert Sicotte, Louise Portal and Andrée Lachapelle.
FRIDAY 31 JULY | WHITE LIE (Yonah Lewis, Calvin Thomas | 96 mins | PG)
Twentysomething university student Katie Arneson (played with arrestingly intensity by Kacey Rohl) is struggling to balance life and school. Estranged from her father and damaged by the death of her mother, Katie is trying to cope with not only financial stresses in her life, but also a recent cancer diagnosis. To deal with both, she starts an online funding campaign to pay her way through school and for the ongoing cancer treatments. Trouble is, Katie’s cancer story is fake; she’s made it up as a personal fundraising scheme. While initially convincing, cracks soon begin to appear in her story.
Pressure mounts when her girlfriend, her father, university officials, and nurses and doctors start asking Katie for proof of her condition. Her increasingly desperate strategies to maintain the fiction will lead her into dangerous territory. A fascinating, tautly constructed psychological drama, White Lie is a searching examination of millennial identity and morality in the age of social media.
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