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Have You Seen These Films?

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Have You Seen These Films?
by Ralph Lucas – Publisher

(April 10, 2023 – Toronto, ON) Nominated by members of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, the posters above represent the 6 Canadian films nominated for Best Motion Picture. As Screen Week 2023 kicks off, we take a quick look at these films. In fairness, we have listed them in alphabetical order beginning with the Québec comedy, Babysitter.

Adapted from Catherine Léger’s stage play of the same name and directed by Monia Chokri, Babysitter is a comedy that centres on Cédric (Patrick Hivon), who is suspended from work after drunkenly kissing a female reporter while on live TV. Stuck at home with his girlfriend, Nadine (Monia Chokri) and their crying baby, Cédric teams up with his brother, Jean-Michel (Steve Laplante), to co-author a book apologizing for their past misogyny. Enter Amy: a mysterious and provocative young babysitter who, like a Mary Poppins of the libido, forces the trio to confront their sexual anxieties while turning their lives upside down.

Set in Toronto and based on the novel of the same name by David Chariandy, Clement Virgo’s 2022 feature Brother is the story of Francis and Michael, sons of Caribbean immigrants maturing into young men. The film explores themes of masculinity, identity and family as a mystery unfolds during the sweltering summer of 1991, and escalating tensions set off a series of events that change the course of the brothers’ lives forever.

Thom Ernst reviewed Falcon Lake for Northernstars saying, in part, “Falcon Lake is a gift. And it’s a good one.” Like the first two films, Falcon Lake is also based on the graphic novel Une Soeur by Bastien Vivèson. A Canada-France co-production, teenaged Bastien is a 13-year-old boy from Paris on a family vacation at a lake cabin in Québec that is believed to be haunted. He meets and develops a relationship with Chloé, the 16-year-old daughter of his mother’s old friend Louise. Despite the age gap between them, the two form a singular bond. Charlotte LeBon won the Emerging Canadian Director award at the 2022 Vancouver International Film Festival. Falcon Lake is a Canada-France co-production.

Riceboy Sleeps was the winner of the TIFF 2022 Platform Prize, winner of the Best Canadian Film Award by the Toronto Film Critics Association and has been nominated for six 2023 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture. Does its past success carry any weight with Academy voters? We’ll learn that this week.

Summer With Hope, a Canada-Iran coproduction, is the second film in a planned trilogy from Montreal-based writer-director Sadaf Foroughi. It won the Crystal Globe Grand Prix for Best Feature Film at the 2022 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and has screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Haifa International Film Festival and Outfest Fusion Film Festival, among others. It has been nominated for three 2023 Canadian Screen Awards including Original Screenplay for Foroughi, Performance in a Supporting Role for Leili Rashidi, and for Best Motion Picture. Chances are you haven’t seen this yet as it is still on the festival circuit but after it screens on April 16, 2023 at TIFF’s Next Wave Film Festival in Toronto, it lands on Crave on April 21.

Last on the list is Viking. Directed by Stéphane Lafleur, it’s sort of a space film, but the space here is a lot closer to home. The title comes from The Viking Society, which is recruiting volunteers to collaborate on the first manned mission to Mars. The objective is to form an alter ego B-team who will live the space adventure in parallel, but behind closed doors on Earth, in the hope of remotely solving the interpersonal problems encountered by the five real astronauts who will soon land on the red planet.

Have you decided which film you would vote for? I have. But I’m not saying.

Northernstars™ will be covering the Canadian Screen Awards this week. The final gala broadcast, The Canadian Screen Awards with Samantha Bee will be broadcast Sunday, April 16 at 8:00 PM (9:00 PM AT, 9:30 PM NT) on CBC and CBC Gem

Northernstars logo imageRalph Lucas is the founder and publisher of Northernstars.ca. He began writing about film and reviewing movies while in radio in Montreal in the mid-1970s.