With Canadian cinema big and small making strides year after year, the annual Canadian Film Fest is a curious and necessary flagpole. Toronto has the yearly Top Ten showcase as presented by TIFF, and of course during the International Film Festival, there is plenty of Canadian content as well.
The CFF still assumes an important role in the cinematic calendar. These are films that may be more diverse, less produced by committee, and with greater allegiance to Canadiana. It’s an opportunity to showcase new filmmakers, actors, and stories, while also promoting a diverse lineup that looks to offer something to every Canadian theatre-goer.
So the lineup this year for the fest, which runs March 25-28 at the Royal Theatre, has a bit of everything. There is romance, suspense, horror, comedy, and music – in fact, it’s usually a combination.
With that, here are some of the titles to check out at this year’s Canadian Film Fest.
Late Night Double Feature – March 26, 9:30pm
This dark and bloody meta slasher flick is aggressively, unabashedly ridiculous. It sort of goes like this: we are watching a nightly telecast of what amounts to be a cable access show that features some gory and adult films. Thus, we’ve essentially three stories: the main one features drama among those cast and characters who host and dress up for this night show, including a sexy nurse played by Jamie Elizabeth Samson and the colourful, grotesque Dr. Nasty (Brian Carleton). The other stories are the two short films they show and we watch, ‘Dinner for Monsters’ and ‘Slit.’ As those titles suggest, they are not the most comfortable of films. There is a lot to take in, but Late Night Double Feature delivers on everything you can expect. Filled with horror tropes, cheesy dialogue, and lots and lots of blood, it’s truly a guilty pleasure that should be watched with a bunch of people late at night.
Barn Wedding – March 27, 9:30pm
With an optimistic and rosy opening, Barn Wedding quickly becomes a curious and introspective look at relationships and institutions as viewed by various millennials, all set against the backdrop of a much-anticipated wedding. The maid of honour Jessie has returned from backpacking and exploration just in time as her best friend Emma’s wedding is suddenly pushed and now two weeks away. As the small group of friends readies for this intimate affair, questions arise among everyone about the nature of relationships, general and specific. Driven by fascinating and honest conversation, and powered by emotions, Barn Wedding is both engrossing and challenging, while offering both humour and romance.
Nocturne – March 28, 6:00pm
A beautiful and peculiar cinematic journey, Nocturne is, as its title may suggest, rather dreamlike. We meet a shy insomniac as she navigates the ennui and loneliness of nightlife, but she soon finds something, or rather someone, of interest. Of course a woman who can’t sleep would find adoration with a man who sleepwalks. Her interest leads her into his world, and so proceeds an unlikely dramatic romance that occasionally borders on nightmarish. With beautiful shots that cleverly play with light and framing, Nocturne is led by two great performances in Mary Krohnert and Knickoy Robinson, taking romance and curiosity to compelling places.
For more information, check out canfilmfest.ca/