DC – Saluting Canada at 150 Film Series – July 1-July 8

Saluting Canada at 150

July 1-8

Honoring Canada on the occasion of the sesquicentennial of the Canadian Confederation (Confédération canadienne), the National Gallery of Art has organized seven programs of cinematic landmarks from our northern neighbor’s notable production history, including narrative fiction, documentary, and artists’ experimental shorts. The series begins on Canada Day, July 1. Special thanks to the Embassy of Canada, the National Film Board of Canada, Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, and Toronto International Film Festival.

 

July 1 at 2:00
East Building Auditorium

“Films are moving myths,” according to Guy Maddin, “chimerical and ever-mutating artifacts of intense delight and arousal, role modeling, cautionary warning, Utopian reverie, and social wrath.” My Winnipeg is Maddin’s tongue-in-cheek homage to his hometown, a virtual fever dream (he prefers the term docu-fantasia) of fake and real home-movie footage, melodrama, documentary, and quirky clips that leave the viewer with a mind-altering impression of this outwardly modest city at the dead center of North America. (Guy Maddin, 2007, 35mm, 80 minutes)

 

July 1 at 4:00
East Building Auditorium

In the late nineties Atom Egoyan completed The Sweet Hereafter, his adaptation of Russell Banks’s 1991 novel about a small town struggling to cope with the aftermath of a school bus accident. While Banks’s narrative was set in upstate New York and the actual incident on which it was based occurred in Texas, Egoyan set his film in British Columbia. Adding a fairy-tale-like metaphorical Pied Piper, he suggests the universality of the tragedy yet preserves the novel’s aura of time fragmentation. “It’s an investigation into the minds of the characters and their sense of time.” — Atom Egoyan (Atom Egoyan, 1997, 35mm, 112 minutes) Print courtesy of TIFF Bell Lightbox

 

July 2 at 1:00
East Building Auditorium

Canada has long been in the vanguard of innovative documentary practice. Pour la suite du monde is an early example of hybrid documentary — cinéma vérité combined with storytelling to enrich a portrait of a traditional lifestyle that had been waning for decades. Shot on Île-aux-Coudres, Pour la suite du monde, the first Canadian feature to screen at Festival de Cannes, was selected this year for the official list of 150 essential works of Canadian cinema. (Pierre Perrault and Michel Brault, 1963, subtitles, 105 minutes)

 

July 2 at 4:30
East Building Auditorium

Founded in Canada’s centennial year, 1967, Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC) is the country’s first artist-run, not-for-profit film cooperative. Michael Snow, one of CFMDC’s creators, crafted in that same year the legendary 16mm Wavelength. Showcasing seminal works alongside contemporary films from an emerging generation of artists, CFMDC marks its fiftieth anniversary this year with this program of shorts from the other side of the forty-ninth parallel: Wavelength for Those Who Don’t Have the Time (Michael Snow, 1967 – 2003, 16mm to HD, 15 minutes); By the Time We Got to Expo (Eva Kolcze and Philip Hoffman, 2015, 16mm to HD, 9 minutes); Whitewash (Nadine Valcin, 2016, 6 minutes); View of the Falls from the Canadian Side (John Price, 2006, 35mm, silent, 7 minutes); A Celebration of Darkness (Jaene Castrillon, 2015, 6 minutes); Canadian Pacific / Canadian Pacific II (David Rimmer, 1974, silent, 9 minutes); A & B in Ontario (Joyce Wieland and Hollis Frampton, 1984, 16mm, 16 minutes); Helium (Daniel McIntyre, 2017, 4 minutes). (Total running time 73 minutes)

 

July 4 at 1:00
East Building Auditorium

Four classic shorts from the National Film Board of Canada begin with Norman McLaren’s legendary animation Begone Dull Care (1949, 8 minutes) and his famous pixilation Neighbours (1952, 8 minutes). Next is City of Gold (Colin Low and Wolf Koenig, 1957, 22 minutes), a groundbreaking compilation of archival and contemporary photography depicting author Pierre Berton’s childhood in Dawson City and his father’s involvement in the Klondike Gold Rush. Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen . . . Mr. Leonard Cohen — the first documentary portrait of the famous poet and songwriter, released two years before his first album — captures Cohen’s imagination and candor during live performance and casual interaction (Don Owen and Donald Brittain, 1965, 44 minutes). (Total running time 82 minutes)

 

July 4 at 3:00
East Building Auditorium

Actor and director Sarah Polley addresses the complicated mystery of her mother’s life in Stories We Tell, a rousing mix of memoir, interview, reconnaissance, and copious Super-8 home-movie footage, both real and staged. Polley gently probes the very foundations of domestic life and values, as friends and relatives over time give different versions of the same tale. “A work of some audacity, even effrontery . . . avowedly because the film is about the unreliability of memory and the consequent importance of democratizing personal histories.” — Peter Bradshaw (Sarah Polley, 2012, 108 minutes)

 

July 8 at 2:00
East Building Auditorium

In a recent survey of Canadian critics and audiences, the indigenous epic Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner was selected best Canadian film of all time. Written and spoken entirely in Inuit, the narrative is a mix of drama, myth, and oral tradition that, in its sense of verisimilitude, resembles a documentary, yet is a fictional tale (employing amateur actors) about an ancient evil disrupting a remote settlement in the Arctic. (Zacharias Kunuk, 2001, subtitles, 172 minutes)

 

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