BIFF 2009, Day 2: Canadian Films That Don’t Suck

Of Time and the City, directed by Terence Davies

Yesterday I did two back-to-back screenings at The Liberty Theatre. First up was Of Time and the City, a documentary about Liverpool by a director who hates The Beatles.

Commissioned to celebrate Liverpool’s year as Cultural Capital of Europe, the striking archival footage certainly made me want to visit this “capital of the north”, but the biting narration damning the Catholic Church was a bit lost on me.

West of Pluto, directed by Henry Bernadet & Myriam Verreault

Next up was À l’ouest de Pluton (West of Pluto) yet another fantastic Quebecois film that highlights the disparity between English and Francophone cinema in Canada.

On the plane ride down to Bermuda I chose to watch a feature called Toronto Stories, and it was awful. The dialogue written for the two child actors was particulary bad — was there no parent on the production to raise their hand and say: “Kids don’t really talk like that…”?

The makers of À l’ouest de Pluton, on the other hand, auditioned and improvised with students from their old high school rather than trained actors — and got predictably more authentic results. The portrayal of suburbia as an alien landscape was also a stroke of genius.

And the title? You’ll have to see the film to get the clever double entendre, which I highly recommend you do.





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