Celebrate National Canadian Film Day with six essential Canadian films

Celebrate National Canadian Film Day with six essential Canadian films

Today is National Canadian Film Day and there's no better way to celebrate than by watching Canadian movies!

Canadian films are largely underrated, but there are tons of filmmakers, both new and old, that are resurrecting the Canadian film scene. While Quebec has always had a strong presence in the film-making world, with directors like Xavier Dolan, Denis Villeneuve and Jean Marc Vallee constantly doing us proud, there's also a lot of great efforts from the English-speaking Canadian film realm, that we often forget about.

Legends like David Cronenberg, Deepa Mehta and Guy Maddin have always made distinct, challenging work, and there's a new emerging scene--from the more established filmmakers like Jason Reitman and Sarah Polley, to a new crop of directors like Matt Johnson and Andrew Cividino. The point is, Canadian film is vital and deserves to be recognized equally to American film, and that starts with us.

Help us celebrate some of our incredible movies on this special day by watching any of the following films that we personally recommend on National Canadian Film Day, and you'll soon see that Canadian movies have their own unique vision and their own important place in the larger cinematic canon.

Check out six awesome Canadian films below!

The Forbidden Room, Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson (2015)

One of the most mind-boggling, fun, and visually stunning films we've ever seen, Guy Maddin truly outdid himself with his latest film, The Forbidden Room. Weaving together countless vignettes, all of which are based on old, lost movies that were either intentionally destroyed or that naturally decayed, Maddin and his co-director Evan Johnson bring their own interpretation to the kind of film that we don't often get to see anymore, with plot lines that include men stranded inside of a submarine, lumberjacks trying to rescue a woman they love, and a talking mustache.The Toronto Film Critic's Association named The Forbidden Room the Best Canadian Film of 2016.


Mommy, Xavier Dolan (2014)

Canadian cinema has become largely popular internationally through our own wunderkind Xavier Dolan, who at age twenty-seven already has five acclaimed directorial efforts under his belt, with two more on the way (one of which just won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes this year, It's Only the End of the World). Mommy, his most successful film of the bunch, tells the story of a single mother and her son, who despite his many behavioral problems, have an unbreakable bond. Dolan's stylistic choices, from a changing aspect ratio which for the majority of the film is in 1:1 (imagine it like an IPhone screen), and his use of pop music from the likes of Lana Del Rey and Celine Dion, make his films stand out, and make them a staple of Quebecois cinema. 


Monsieur Lazhar, Philippe Falardeau (2011)

This heartbreaking story of a new teacher taking over for one who has just committed suicide in her classroom, and the effect that this had on her students, is a human drama like few others. Dealing with grief, and the differences it possesses for adults and children, Monsieur Lazhar is a touching portrait of childhood, and how tragedy affects how we grow up, and how we learn about the world. Through helping his new students through their grief, Monsieur Lazhar (Mohamed Saïd Fellag) goes through his own healing process. The film features stand out performances from all involved, but especially the young actors including Sophie Nélisse, who has gone on to star in films like The Book Thief and Endorphine. The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar back in 2012.


Sleeping Giant, Andrew Cividino (2016)

Andrew Cividino broke onto the scene this year with his debut feature Sleeping Giant, adapted from his short film of the same name. The film follows three adolescent boys at a summer cottage in Thunder Bay, where their masculinity is tested. It is a coming of age story featuring some of the most authentic performances we've seen from young actors in some time, and co-star Nick Serino won a Canadian Screen Award for his performance in the film. Sleeping Giant also took home the Best Canadian First Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015. Its dark themes set against a typical Canadian summer vacation make this a haunting film, and we can't wait to see what Cividino does next.


The Sweet Hereafter, Atom Egoyan (1997)

Atom Egoyan is a Canadian legend, and The Sweet Hereafter is easily his most famous and acclaimed work, as it also won the Grand Jury Prize when it played Cannes. About a tragic bus accident in British Columbia that killed fourteen children, the film is a very quiet, poetic rendering of a horrific event. We follow a lawyer as he persuades grieving parents to file a class action lawsuit against the province and the school board, claiming the accident to be an act of negligence. The case relies on witnesses, a pivotal one being Nicole Burnell (Sarah Polley), who is paralyzed from the accident and who has her own story to tell.

Videodrome, David Cronenberg (1983)

Videodrome is revered not simply as a Canadian film, but as one of the all-time greats. We'd go so far as to say that this is Cronenberg's definitive film, out of a large and impressive filmography. Max Renn (James Woods) is a television programmer who sees his own life spin out of control when he programs something dangerous called Videodrome onto his station. A commentary on society, media, and induced with Cronenberg's signature body horror, Videodrome is a film that is still relevant today, and is an utterly timeless and horrific depiction of the power of media.

Check out more Canadian titles at the Cineplex Store!

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