TIFF recently announced their picks for the Top 10 Canadians films of 2011. Canada's Top Ten celebrates and promotes contemporary Canadian cinema and is intended to raise public awareness of Canadian achievements in film. Here's a quick sum-up of the 10:
"Café de flore" – Jean-Marc Vallee
Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y.) returns to Canada's Top Ten with the elegant and heart-wrenching Café de flore, a decades-spanning, often mystical rumination on love and destiny that tells two seemingly unrelated stories set in 1960s Paris and present-day Montreal.
"A Dangerous Method" – David Cronenberg
One of the world's most esteemed filmmakers explores the birth of psychoanalysis in this fascinating drama about the complicated and combative relationship between Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortenson), his brilliant disciple Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), and their mutual patient, the disturbed Sabina Speilrein (Keira Knightley).
"Edwin Boyd" – Nathan Morlando
The story of this notorious Canadian bank robber is rooted in loss, trauma and frustration – elements evident in Scott Speedman's charismatic performance as the eponymous antihero. Brisk-paced and energetic, Nathan Morlando's debut feature instills a compelling sense of how a career in crime can find its roots in a refusal to accept a life of misery and failure.
"Hobo With a Shotgun" – Jason Eisener
A fierce and funny splatterfest riffing on grindhouse classics like "The Exterminator" and "Escape From New York," Jason Eisener's film is a singular debut. As gruesome and grisly as any film ever made in Canada, its well-crafted crudeness invests it with a kind of twisted sincerity.
"Keyhole" – Guy Maddin
Guy Maddin's hypnotic ghost story/gangster movie stars Jason Patric as hoodlum Ulysses Pick and Isabella Rossellini as his long-suffering wife. A dreamlike rumination on memory, family, love and loss set in a labyrinthine house, "Keyhole" is packed with Maddin's characteristic surreal visual touches.
"Marecages" – Guy Edoin
Guy Édoin's powerful and eagerly anticipated feature debut follows a family as they struggle to keep their ancestral farm afloat. Édoin delicately combines naturalism and melodrama to create a heartbreaking look at a dysfunctional family, featuring exceptional performances from veterans Luc Picard, Pascale Bussières, François Papineau, and newcomer Gabriel Maillé.
"Monsieur Lazhar" – Philippe Falardeau
An exploration of how adults speak to children about issues they'd rather not confront themselves, Philippe Falardeau's nuanced and beautiful flickwon Best Canadian Feature prize at the Festival in 2011. The film's emotional impact is made all the more powerful by its deceptively simple style.
"Starbuck" – Ken Scott
This 2011 Festival audience favourite focuses on a lovable no-account (Patrick Huard) who finds his visits to the local sperm bank have made him the father of several hundred children – who now want to meet him.
"Take This Waltz" – Sarah Polley
Margot (Michelle Williams) is a young writer happily married to fellow scribe Lou (Seth Rogen); yet when she meets Daniel (Luke Kirby), their mutual attraction becomes impossible to ignore. One of the finest and most delicate explorations of the troubling, evanescent nature of romance in recent memory, "Take This Waltz" showcases Sarah Polley's maturation as a director.
"Le Vendeur" – Sebastien Pilote
Widower Marcel Levesque (Gilbert Sicotte) is past retirement age but remains the top car salesman in his small Quebec town; yet his life is about to change immeasurably. "Le Vendeur" is fuelled by writer/director Pilote's delicate realism and sensitivity towards small-town life, and boasts exceptional performances.