The five Canadian films rocking Cannes this week
They’re talented, they’re fresh-faced and they’re bringing Canada to Cannes. A handful of young, homegrown directors are showing off their feature-length and short films at the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, hoping to lure buyers, snatch a few prizes and reap praise from a jury (one of which just so happens to include Canadian kingpin Donald Sutherland). Here, a cheat sheet to the CanCon at Cannes.
The fatalistic flick
Juste la fin du monde (It’s Only the End of the World)
The 27-year-old Montreal auteur Xavier Dolan’s second shot at the Palme d’Or is an adaptation of a play by French writer Jean-Luc Lagarce about a terminally ill writer who returns to his hometown to announce his imminent death. Expect big things: five of Dolan’s six films have been selected for the film fest, and just two years ago, his film Mommy shared the Jury Prize.
The gothic thriller
Rising Toronto director Nathan Morlando debuts this thriller in the Directors’ Fortnight program. The film, shot in Sault Ste. Marie, stars Josh Wiggins and Windsor native Sophie Nélisse as two teenage sweethearts in rural New York and Bill Paxton as Nélisse’s drunk cop dad, who disapproval of the romance takes a psychotic turn. Watch for a stellar performance from Nélisse (“a young Jennifer Lawrence,” according to Morlando), who had critics buzzing after her debut in The Book Thief.
The arctic love story
Two Lovers and a Bear
For an indie, this northern romance by Montreal director Kim Nguyen (War Witch, Rebelle) has a hefty budget—$8.8 million, to be exact—and a sterling cast: Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany and Green Goblin Dave DeHaan. They play Lucy and Roman, a troubled couple searching for inner peace in a tiny Nunavut town.
The spooky short
Oh What a Wonderful Feeling
This entry by 30-year-old Montreal director Francois Jaros is a short film with grand cinematic aspirations. The stunningly shot and darkly funny mystery begins with the ominous image of a car hitting a fox before following a young girl, played by Quebec actor Karelle Tremblay, as she navigates the somewhat spooky world of all-night truckers.
The time-travel tale
Ingrid and the Black Hole
When Nova Scotia filmmaker Leah Johnston learned her grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she found herself becoming a caretaker—and found inspiration for a new film. After winning a $35,000 film-pitch contest last year, she created this touching six-minute short, which imagines time travel as a metaphor for Alzheimer’s through the story of two children who dream about jumping into a black hole and spending a lifetime together.