Dheepan and noxious substances at Cineplex: this is why we cant have nice things

Last years Palme Dor winning film Dheepan has moved on from the TIFF Bell Lightbox after a decent but not.


Last years Palme Dor winning film Dheepan has moved on from the TIFF Bell Lightbox after a decent but not great three-week run. If I find its box office performance disappointing, its because I counted on the art-house French thriller to be a major hit in the GTA.

The refugee drama about a former Tamil Tiger assuming a new identity and family in Paris struck a deep personal chord with me. And I expect it would have done the same for the GTAs massive Tamil diaspora. But most of them havent come out to see it.

The Tamil community mostly resides in suburban enclaves like Scarborough, Markham, Mississauga and Brampton, and many are allergic to the idea of travelling to the heart of downtown for a movie.

We expected Dheepan (NNNNN) to eventually expand into the Cineplex theatres in those key suburbs, which it never did and likely wont. And who can blame Cineplex. Recent events made it difficult for the cinema chain to chance a film like Dheepan in their venues.

Two weeks before the film’s release, Cineplex auditoriums in Scarborough, Brampton and Mississauga playing the Tamil-Indian action movie Theri were hit with coordinated attacks. According to police, a noxious substance similar to pepper spray was released in those auditoriums, forcing Cineplex to evacuate the theatres. Cineplex had to cancel Theris run as a precaution against more attacks.

The police are still investigating the incidents and have not released any information on suspects or motives.

There are also reports of a screen slashing at the Scarborough Coliseum last fall, which occurred in the auditorium playing the Tamil movie Puli starring Vijay, the lead in Theri.

All is not lost though. The refugee drama still has a home at the Regent, and the Tamil community still has a chance to get over their travel allergy and discover a beautiful film that is very much about them.

Just do us all a favour and leave the fucking pepper spray at home.

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