Year of the Carnivore

April 29 marked Canada’s first National Canadian Film Day, which has sent me into a sea of Mountie-centric distraction – not for the flocks of Canadians who headed south (more than you’d ever believe), but for the rich cinematic history nestled north, and one of the big reasons I ultimately settled in the land of Scott Pilgrim. There’s something really special about Canadian talent, which has given us the humour* of SCTV and Kids in the Hall, the crazy, shivering brilliance of David Cronenberg, the classics of Norman Jewison, the quiet impact of Atom Egoyan, or the massive, modern talent of Sarah Polley – the names that toe the border between nations, creatives that are only part of a greater whole. I’m often found griping at my friends up here in Toronto who haven’t indulged in the insanity that is Guy Maddin, the humour of Don McKellar, the range of Bruce McDonald, or Jean Marc Vallee’s cinematic life before Matthew McConaughey and The Dallas Buyer’s Club. Working without the massive Hollywood dollars, it’s not always polished as American output. Canadian action hits might contain French (Bon Cop, Bad Cop), or delve into the beautiful ice battles in hockey (Goon). They might actually show Toronto for the city it is, and not the unnamed backdrop of Orphan Black, or numerous American cities like Manhattan (American Psycho) and Chicago (Chicago). They’re idiosyncratic, fun, dark, troubling, often funny, and quite frankly, a must for anyone who loves film. Let the following be a test […]



We live in a shrinking world. Boundaries are becoming more porous, commerce straddles the oceans, and communication is wide-reaching and constant. The movies have followed suit. There are hyperlink projects like Babel, of course, but international connections have also been explored on a more modest scale. Québec in particular has produced a mighty handful of films that embrace not only the nation’s multi-cultural character but also its global implications. Recent Oscar nominees Monsieur Lazhar and Incendies weave intercontinental stories with ease. Jean-Marc Vallée has added a new layer to this globally open trend with his new film, Café de Flore. Where other movies have simply been content to tell a single story that happens to span thousands of miles, Vallée has undertaken to make the interconnectedness of humanity itself his thematic focus. He reaches across both space and time, building bridges between the most impossibly distant of characters. He starts in modern-day Montreal. Antoine Godin, played by the newly cleaned and buffed Québecois rocker Kevin Parent, is leading a mostly perfect life. He is deeply in love with his girlfriend, the vivacious Rose (Evelyne Brochu). He has two beautiful daughters from his ex-wife, Carole (Hélène Floren), with whom he still has a strained but amicable relationship. An internationally successful DJ, he jets around the globe helping people lose their inhibitions. Yet as his relationship with Rose progresses, he is forced to confront the grounded parts of his life and the residual damage to his family left by the divorce.

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published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.25.2015

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