Nine must-see CanCon movies at TIFF
Canada’s answer to The Revenant, an award-winning Xavier Dolan flick and seven more homegrown movies poised to stun TIFF audiences
Anatomy of Violence
Cast: Tia Bhatia, Seema Biswas
Director: Deepa Mehta
Anyone who heard about the horrific gang rape of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh in Delhi in 2012 has spent the last four years trying to forget the brutal incident. Not the dauntless Deepa Mehta, who dissects the act in Anatomy of Violence, a collaboration with renowned Indian theatre director Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry. The film is an improvisational re-enactment that holds Singh’s six attackers accountable and points a finger at the culture that enabled them.
Cast: Benjamin Kunuk, Karen Ivalu, Jonah Qunaq
Director: Zacharias Kunuk
Revenge features prominently in Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk’s Maliglutit (Searchers), which is something of a Canadian answer to the Revenant. When a band of marauders kidnaps an Inuk woman, her husband pursues the troupe across the Arctic tundra with a gun, a ton of grit and a band of followers (or maliglutit), turning the hunters into the hunted.
It’s Only The End Of The World
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel, Gaspard Ulliel
Director: Xavier Dolan
Canada’s most impish auteur returns with a movie about a family pulled apart and put back together when their terminally ill son comes home. The invigorating new take on Jean-Luc Lagarce’s play Juste la fin du monde features an all-French main cast, and it recently took home the Grand Prix at Cannes.
Cast: Mylène Mackay
Director: Anne Émond, Mylia Corbeil-Gavreau, Mickaël Gouin
Montreal-based filmmaker Anne Émond brings some big-time steaminess to TIFF with Nelly. Mylène Mackay (a TIFF 2016 Rising Star) takes the titular role in a biopic of Nelly Arcan, the late literary provocateur and Quebecois sex worker became an international sensation after publishing 2001’s Putain, a fictional autobiography of a high-end escort in Montreal.
Cast: Dylan Authors, Julia Sarah Stone, Molly Parker, Allan Hawco
Director: Bruce McDonald
Weirdo (and just plain weird) cult director Bruce McDonald blends magical realism with adolescent ennui in this nostalgic adventure. The black-and-white coming-of-age movie follows hitchhikers from Nova Scotia to Australia, taps into the the spirit of Andy Warhol and features a ’70s soundtrack, complete with Elton John, to boot.
Below Her Mouth
Cast: Natalie Krill, Erika Linder, Mayko Nguyen, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Elise Bauman
Director: April Mullen
What would 2015’s Carol have looked like if it were a little less prim and mannered? The answer is April Mullen’s Below Her Mouth. We’re not sure if it’s the all-female cast or the slick soundtrack, but the one-minute trailer for the forbidden love story—which portrays two women falling for each other, despite one of them being engaged to a man—offers more sizzle than Carol did in two hours.
Jean Of The Joneses
Cast: Gloria Reuben, Shailyn Pierre-Dixon, Erica Ash, Sherri Shepherd
Director: Stella Meghie
Meghie, a Toronto-based filmmaker, directs a comedy about three generations of women in Brooklyn after their family’s estranged patriarch drops dead without warning. As the Joneses try to figure out what to do next, they trade relentless, rib-tickling taunts to the backdrop a soulful jazz soundtrack.
Cast: Macha Grenon, Emily VanCamp, Nathalie Doummar
Director: Chloé Robichaud
In Robichaud’s latest film, the fictional East Coast town of Besco fields pressure from a foreign company intent on exploiting its natural resources. As town officials and company executives butt heads over the dollar signs, the townsfolk dish out deadpan, darkly hilarious commentary about the political obstacles to environmental progress.
Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming)
Cast: Sandra Oh, Ellen Page, Don McKellar
Director: Ann Marie Fleming
Ann Marie Fleming’s animated feature features the vocal talents of Sandra Oh, Ellen Page and Don McKellar, and a psychedelic, dreamlike design. The story: a young Canadian travels to Iran for a poetry festival that ends up changing her life.