Canada's Top 10, Cinematheque's screenings of the 10 best Canuck films of 2005, kicks off Friday (January 27) and runs till February 4, along with a series of panel discussions and interviews. It was a strong year for Canadian film. Three of the films on the list (A History Of Violence, Water and C.R.A.Z.Y.) are still playing somewhere in the city. David Cronenberg's A History Of Violence was one of the best-received films from anywhere last year, and the director's name could be read out when the Oscar noms come out January 31. Three others - Horloge Biologique, The Life And Hard Times of Guy Terrifico and Where The Truth Lies - had respectable runs in the fall. But what about those films that have yet to be commercially released? Here's the scoop on them. See Indie & Rep Cinema Listings.
MEMORY FOR MAX, CLAIRE, IDA AND COMPANY Sunday (January 29), 3 pm
Synopsis: Documentary veteran Allan King looks at a handful of residents (and their families) at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.
Buzz: Incredibly powerful, a fitting companion to King's 2002 doc Dying At Grace. It's airing soon on TVO, but why no commercial release?
Look for: Exquisite, truthful moments: some unintentionally funny, others heart-rending. One brief moment of victory comes near the end, when one resident's challenged memory is put to the test.
LA NEUVAINE (THE NOVENA) February 2, 6:30 pm
Synopsis: Two strangers - a Montreal doctor ( Elise Guilbault ) and a young store clerk ( Patrick Drolet ) - meet in a small Quebec town and grapple with issues of faith.
Buzz: Critical opinion was divided when director Bernard Emond 's third feature played at the Toronto International Film Festival. Solid performances and stark shots of rural Quebec (specifically Petite-Riviere-St-Franois) can't make up for glacial pacing.
Look for: The moody scene where the two strangers finally meet at a lake-side. They sit for hours, and when one of them finally speaks, it's startling.
FAMILIA February 4, 6:30 pm
Synopsis: A spirited but troubled gambling addict ( Sylvie Moreau ) and her daughter move in with the mother's well-to-do childhood friend ( Macha Grenon ) and her daughter, who have their own problems. Chaos ensues. Buzz: Louise Archambault 's sensitive look at the lives of fucked-up girls and women was a deserving opener of TIFF's Canada First program. Archambault's definitely a director to watch. Look for: A quiet early scene where a mother and daughter are playing a simple game of cards and the mother (the formidable Quebec actor/director Micheline Lanctot ) cheats. Everything is in that one scene.
A SIMPLE CURVE February 4, 8:45 pm
Synopsis: A 20-something son ( Kris Lemche ) struggles with his ex-hippie, draft-dodger father ( Michael Hogan ) and their woodworking business in the stunning Slocan Valley, BC.
Buzz: Clichéd coming-of-age story is almost redeemed by stunning vistas and credible performances. The rural landscapes should look terrific on the big screen - it's getting a wider release February 3.
Look for: The anecdote about the placenta and a wise bit of dialogue about putting off one's dreams of raising a family till later.