National Canadian Film Day is technically celebrated on April 22, 2020, but given our current collective situation, why not your quarantine just a tiny bit more patriotic by viewing these worthy Canadian titles.
HYENA ROAD Three different men, three different worlds, three different wars – all stand at the intersection of modern warfare – a murky world of fluid morality where all is not as it seems. Directed by and costarring Paul Gross, who’s gone full silver fox, plus Rossif Sutherland and Allan Hawco
INDIAN HORSE Follows the life of Native Canadian Saul Indian Horse as he survives residential school and life amongst the racism of the 1970s. A talented hockey player, Saul must find his own path as he battles stereotypes and alcoholism. Directed by Stephen Campanelli, starring Forrest Goodluck and Sladen Peltier
ROOM Held captive for 7 years in an enclosed space, a woman and her young son finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay
RUN THIS TOWN An emerging political scandal in Toronto in 2013 revolving around crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford, seen through the eyes of young staffers at city hall and a local newspaper. Directed by Ricky Tollman, starring Mena Massoud, Nina Dobrev and Ben Platt
THE SONG OF NAMES Several years after his childhood friend, a violin prodigy, disappears on the eve of his first solo concert, an Englishman travels throughout Europe to find him. Directed by François Girard, starring Tim Roth and Clive Owen
BIRTHMARKED Two scientists raise 3 children contrarily to their genetic tendencies to prove the ultimate power of nurture over nature. Directed by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais, starring Matthew Goode, Toni Collette and Suzanne Clément
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS The story of people whose lives intertwine during a dramatic winter in New York City. Directed by Lone Scherfig, starring Zoe Kazan, Andrea Riseborough, Tahar Rahim, Jay Baruchel and Bill Nighy
FREAKS A bold girl discovers a bizarre, threatening, and mysterious new world beyond her front door after she escapes her father’s protective and paranoid control. Directed by Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein, starring Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Grace Park
THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S SPIVET A ten-year-old scientist secretly leaves his family’s ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother, escapes home, and travels across the country aboard a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, starring Helena Bonham Carter, Judy Davis and Callum Keith Rennie
THE CAPTIVE Eight years after the disappearance of Cassandra, some disturbing incidents seem to indicate that she’s still alive. Police, parents and Cassandra herself, will try to unravel the mystery of her disappearance. Directed by Atom Egoyan, starring Kevin Durand, Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson
THE 9th LIFE OF LOUIS DRAX A psychologist who begins working with a young boy who has suffered a near-fatal fall finds himself drawn into a mystery that tests the boundaries of fantasy and reality. Directed by Alexandre Aja, starring Jamie Dornan, Sarah Gadon and Aaron Paul
ASTRONAUT A lonely widower battles his family, ill health and time to win a competition for a golden ticket to space. Directed by Shelagh McLeod, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Lyriq Bent, Krista Bridges, Colm Feore
BANG BANG BABY A small town teenager in the 1960s believes her dreams of becoming a famous singer will come true when her rock star idol gets stranded in town. But a leak in a nearby chemical plant that is believed to be causing mass mutations threatens to turn her dream into a nightmare. Directed by Jeffrey St. Jules, starring Jane Levy, Justin Chatwin, Peter Stormare and Kristin Bruun
EVERYTHING’S GONE GREEN Ryan, a good-natured slacker, is tempted into a money laundering scheme while working for a lottery magazine. A capitalistic comedy that asks the question – when is “enough” enough? Directed by Paul Fox, starring Paulo Costanzo
DIM THE FLUORESCENTS A struggling actress and an aspiring playwright pour all of their creative energy into the only paying work they can find: role-playing demonstrations for corporate training seminars. Directed by Daniel Warth, starring Claire Armstrong and Naomi Skwarna
TAKE THIS WALTZ A happily married woman falls for the artist who lives across the street. Directed by Sarah Polley, starring Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman
EDGE OF WINTER When two brothers are stranded by a brutal winter storm with an unpredictable father they barely know, the boys begin to suspect their supposed protector may be their biggest threat. Directed by Rob Connolly, starring Tom Holland and Joel Kinnaman
GIANT LITTLE ONES Two popular teen boys, best friends since childhood, discover their lives, families, and girlfriends dramatically upended after an unexpected incident occurs on the night of a 17th birthday party. Directed by Keith Behrman, starring Josh Wiggins, Darren Mann, Taylor Hickson, Maria Bello, Kyle MacLachlan
THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN After a chance encounter on the street, a woman tries to encourage a pregnant domestic abuse victim to seek help. Directed by Kathleen Hepburn and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, starring Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Violet Nelson, Charlie Hannah, and Barbara Eve Harris
AND THE BIRDS RAINED DOWN (IL PLEUVAIT DES OISEAUX) Three elderly hermits live in the woods. While wildfires threaten the region, their quiet life is about to be shaken by the arrival of two women – A story of intertwined destinies, where love can happen at any age. Directed by Louise Archambault, starring Andrée Lachapelle, Gilbert Sicotte, Rémy Girard
WINDOW HORSES A young Canadian poet with Chinese and Persian parents travels to Iran to perform at a poetry festival (animated). Directed by Anne Marie Fleming, voices by Ellen Page, Sandra Oh
WATER Set in colonial India against Gandhi’s rise to power, it’s the story of 8-year-old Chuyia, who is widowed and sent to a home to live in penitence; once there, Chuyia’s feisty presence deeply affects the lives of the other residents. Directed by Deepa Mehta, starring Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray, John Abraham and Sarala
THE GRIZZLIES In a small Arctic town struggling with the highest suicide rate in North America, a group of Inuit students’ lives are transformed when they are introduced to the sport of lacrosse. Directed by Miranda de Pencier, starring Ben Schnetzer, Will Sasso, Paul Nutarariaq, Anna Lambe,Tantoo Cardinal, Emerald MacDonald and Booboo Stewart
MAUDIE An arthritic Nova Scotia woman works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community. Directed by Aisling Walsh, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke
BROOKLYN An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. Directed by John Crowley, starring Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters
ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH Filmmakers travel to six continents and 20 countries to document the impact humans have made on the planet. Directed by Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky. Narrated by Alicia Vikander
CANADIAN STRAIN When cannabis becomes legal in Canada, boutique weed dealer Anne Banting is swiftly run out of business by the biggest gangsters in town – the government. Written and directed by Geordie Sabbagh and starring Jess Salgueiro
DRONE Ideologies collide with fatal results when a military drone contractor meets an enigmatic Pakistani businessman. Written and directed by Jason Bourque and starring Sean Bean
FALLS AROUND HER A successful singer leaves everything behind to return to her reservation to live alone. Written and directed by Darlene Naponse and starring Tantoo Cardinal
JAMES VS HIS FUTURE SELF A scientist meets a version of himself from the future who has traveled back in time to stop himself from inventing time travel. Starring Daniel Stern
LAVENDER After discovering old fractures in her skull, a photographer recovering from amnesia becomes increasingly haunted by a sinister childhood secret. Directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly and starring Abbie Cornish, Dermot Mulroney, Justin Long
BEN’S AT HOME Heartbroken and cynical after he’s dumped by his girlfriend, Ben makes the unusual decision never to leave his house again. Directed by Mars Horodyski and starring Dan Abramovici, Jessica Embro, Jim Annan
TAMMY’S ALWAYS DYING At the end of every month, when the welfare runs out, Catherine talks her alcoholic mother off of the same bridge. Literally. Directed by Amy Jo Johnson and starring Felicity Huffman, Anastasia Phillips, Clark Johnson
Hyena Road was an O.K. film but, I have often wondered why no scriptwriter or film-maker ever calls out the Neocon criminals who start these unnecessary wars in the Middle East and elsewhere for the benefit of a country which isn’t Islamic. You begin to believe America and Canada are fiefdoms of this Zionist state.
Have you watched all of these and are recommending them? Every one of them sounds good.
I’ve seen Room but, oddly, remember almost nothing about after they get out.
A great list Jay but i was curious where is “Phil: the Alien?”
Canadian Bacon, starring John Candy. You can add that to the list.
Really great list! I just saw James vs His Future Self–and Daniel Stern is a riot.
No shortage of great Canadian films. Never has been. Loved Giant Little Ones. And Hyena Road. Thanks for the film map. I’ll use it.
Gonna wallow in this lot! 😀
I loved Falls Around Her – so good. I also loved Water and the Captive.
How about “Away From Her”? Julie Christie and Gordon Pensant. Awesome!
I also recently watched “Werewolf” which was pretty good.
Edge of Winter was filmed in Sudbury – and I have stories of how they were using the Montessori where my Step-dad volunteers. He had to direct traffic and tell the film crew where to park.