Inspired by last year’s programming of “Good Canadian Cinema?” at Toronto Underground Cinema last year I decided to set my own little challenge related to the festive season with the 12 Days of Canuckmas where I aim to watch at least twelve Canadian movies over December. Big screen, small screen, portable pocket screen all count. Starting on December 1st here were the first three I’ve watch so far on my mini mission – as if December wasn’t busy enough already?!
Surviving Progress - Cumberland 4 – Alliance Cinemas 159 Cumberland Street, Toronto
I survived Surviving Progress! Normally I check my brain at the door ready for pure jaw dropped drooling mindless escapism fun at the movies. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get away with such a mind set going in to this film. If anything this was confrontism (is that even an ism?) on the big screen, presented in the style of a hand on your shoulder gently informing you rather than a giant wagging finger & tutting in surround sound.
Starting by trying to define the term progress the documentary seeks answers from a host of notable intellects and reflects on how this is draining the planets resources. Still chugging along from the industrial revolution we’re gauging more machines as a success measurement. While our devices are getting smarter we are still running the same primitive hunter/gatherer operating system behind our eyes. The human mind needs an upgrade before it’s too late. While thoughts are connected via the internet there is a new moral perspective filtering through, the bigger companies & economic situations still out there are akin to brain damage.
It was great to watch with an audience who applauded during several scenes featuring David Suzuki.
Much like the poster, it’s easy to dig a hole and pretend to be an ostrich ignoring the problems. If you’re going to involve an ostrich I’d suggest problem solving like the Swiss Family Robinson & ride one in to the future with a new route of hope.
Everything & Everyone - Screening at Projection Booth East Until Dec 8 1035 Gerrard St. East, Toronto
Bittersweet Complexity replaces the words behind the BC abbreviation of British Columbia, where Everything & Everyone was filmed. Opening on an eventful afternoon Rose & William snatch a few moments for a funny bedroom fumble while their yet to fly the nest son, Noah, has a special delivery from a care worker in the form of his 8 year old son. His new found Fatherhood manual seems to have been lost in the mail & a dog training book delivered in it’s place, as he’s helped by Rose to raise Ben after the sudden passing of his mother.
When best pal Eric visits Noah on the street during his unsuccessful charity collection he meets Max a hot headed businessman who soon becomes more than a partner for sharp banter.
Life being turned upside down by those entering & leaving, ripple across the interconnecting relationships between family members and friends.
An added pressure from an unannounced illness balances the comedic elements showing that the people we love are never a burden.
Showtimes Mon 5pm Tues, Wed at 9pm Thurs at 5pm
NURSE.FIGHTER.BOY – DVD
Deciding to take a break from the theatre going experience, where it’s often hard to find a Canadian film outside of a film festival or special set of programming, I decided to find a movie to take out & home. Luckily Toronto has a host of indie video stores, much like Rep Cinemas, that specialise in hosting a great library of titles. Big Daddy’s DVD Shop on Dundas Street West was the closest place to browse the boxes hoping for something to jump out and catch my eye. The “Canadian Eh!” easily assisted me on my mission to watch. Noticing the bright type capitalised title on the spine of the case I chose NURSE.FIGHTER.BOY, the first time feature from Charles Officer. Each titular punctuated character is introduced through colour as we meet Jude raising her son Ceil. She’s working in a hospital taking on a night shift when she treats Silence a trained boxer & street fighter. Mature for his age Ceil finds magic everywhere from conjuring tricks to his hidden den of a stage like space. By chance Jude & Silence connect again as she rides her bike between the alleys of neighborhoods in Toronto on her way to work, pausing to listen to the music leaving the window from his apartment. At first unwilling to let her guard down they both take the chance to let each other inside their lives. I normally prefer watching a movie with an audience as a communal event but this film felt perfect for a more intimate viewing. I’d almost forgotten about special features on a disc & enjoyed learning about the production experience & watching a family of crew members retell their memories on set with some stills and video diaries. Two short films were also included that worked well as an introduction & follow up to the feature.
You can follow my progress finding the other nine movies over on tumblr - 12daysofcanuckmas.tumblr.com