Canadian Front 2007 begins tonight with the New York premiere of Sarah Polley‘s Away From Her at MoMA. The next four days include eight films made in Canada by a diverse group of filmmakers including four women making their feature debuts (Polley being one of them). Film description and screening times are below.
Remembering Arthur. 2006. Canada. Directed by Martin Lavut. Arthur Lipsett was a leading Canadian experimental filmmaker whose 1961 short Very Nice, Very Nice remains a seminal work of the avant-garde. A troubled man, Lipsett committed suicide in 1986. Martin Lavut, who knew Lipsett and many of his contemporaries, presents a full-bodied, passionate biography of one of cinema’s neglected masters. George Lucas wrote, “No one understood the power of image and sound better than Lipsett.” 90 min.
Wednesday, March 14, 4:30; Saturday, March 17, 6:30. T2
Away from Her. 2006. Canada. Written and directed by Sarah Polley, based on a story by Alice Munro. With Julie Christie, Gordon Pinset, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Murphy. A married couple, together for many years, separate at the woman’s insistence. She knows she is beginning to lose her memory and seeks care in assisted living, yet her bereft husband is reluctant to accept the separation. Actress Sarah Polley’s moving directorial debut examines the dynamics of change and the surprise of adaptation. Courtesy Lionsgate. 110 min.
Wednesday, March 14, 6:15 (followed by a question-and-answer session). T1; Saturday, March 17, 4:15. T2
Maurice Richard (The Rocket). 2005. Canada. Directed by Charles Biname. Screenplay by Ken Scott. With Roy Dupuis, Julie LeBreton, Stephen McHattie. Scott, the screenwriter of Seducing Doctor Lewis (2003, featured in MoMA’s New Directors/ New Films series), returns with a biography of one of Canada’s greatest sports heroes: Maurice Richard, the hockey player who brought the Stanley Cup to the Montreal Canadiens eight times during the 1940s and 1950s. The film is distinguished by exciting footage of the game, its recreation of the tension between the French and the English in Quebec, and Roy Dupuis’s electric performance as the laconic “Rocket.” In French, English subtitles. 124 min.
Wednesday, March 14, 8:45. T1; Sunday, March 18, 1:30. T2
Stone Time Touch. 2006. Canada. Directed by Gariné Torossian, with the artistic and conceptual collaboration of Arsinee Khanjian. Torossian, an experimental filmmaker whose work was featured at MoMA during a one-woman Cineprobe program in 1995, created a personal and somewhat autobiographical work for her first feature. In search of her identity, she visits Armenia, the land of her forebears, and makes a vivid and impressionistic diary of beauty, wonderment, and sadness. In English, Armenian; English subtitles. 70 min.
Thursday, March 15, 6:30; Monday, March 19, 8:30. T2
Immigrant. 2006. Canada/Bosnia. Written, directed, and photographed by Bojan Bodruzic. With Emily R. Laue, Bojan Markovic, Jovan Milojevic. Two Balkan immigrants in Vancouver adapt to a life in exile. One is a young filmmaker who returns with his Canadian girlfriend to Dubrovnik and Sarajevo, where cultural differences strain their relationship. The other is a widower who cannot rid himself of his memories of Bosnia. Bodruzic divides his two parallel narratives into nine quietly compelling chapters. In English, Bosnian; English subtitles. 101 min.
Thursday, March 15, 8:30; Monday, March 19, 6:00. T2
Radiant City. 2006. Canada. Directed by Gary Burns, Jim Brown. Gary Burns, best known in New York for Kitchen Party (1997, featured in MoMA’s New Directors/New Films series), and journalist and broadcaster Jim Brown collaborated on this witty quasi-documentary about suburban sprawl and the social lives it diminishes. Peppered with interviews by passionate urban critics like James Howard Kunstler, Joseph Heath, and Mark Kingwell, Radiant City follows—sort of—the Moss family as the patriarch stars in a community musical. 86 min.
Friday, March 16, 6:00; Saturday, March 17, 2:00. T2
Dans les villes (In the Cities). 2006. Canada. Written and directed by Catherine Martin. With Hélène Florent, Robert Lepage, Hélène Loiselle. Photographer and filmmaker Martin’s second feature is an emotionally modulated study of the intersecting lives of four lonely, isolated people in Montreal. Among them is a blind man—played affectingly by the celebrated director Robert Lepage—whose life is suddenly enriched by an accidental encounter. In French, English subtitles. 87 min.
Friday, March 16, 8:30; Sunday, March 18, 6:30. T2
Rechercher Victor Pellerin (Looking for Victor Pellerin). 2006. Canada. Written and directed by Sophie Deraspe. According to Deraspe, Victor Pellerin was a highly successful and eccentric Montreal artist in the mid-1980s. In 1990 he recalled his work, purportedly to be photographed for a catalogue, and burnt all his paintings before disappearing. In her first feature, Deraspe rediscovers Pellerin through a series of interviews with colleagues, critics, and lovers, and she journeys to Colombia to find the missing artist. In French, English subtitles. 110 min.
Saturday, March 17, 8:30; Sunday, March 18, 4:00. T2