8.28.2010

Canadian Cinema

You could be excused for not knowing who Xavier Dolan is. His first feature film J'ai tué ma mere (I killed My Mother) caused a bit of a a stir at last year's Cannes film festival, winning all of the categories it was entered in and receiving an 8 minute standing ovation at its Cannes premier. The film shuffled around the 2009 festival circuit (TIFF last September, and dozens of others), nabbing a bunch of awards along the way. It was picked up for theatrical distribution in 20 markets, a rare feat for an indie film about a young gay man's turbulent relationship with his mother. It was announced the film had been selected as Dolan's native country's submission for Best Foreign Language film at the 82nd Academy Awards in the fall of 2009. Not bad for a director who was then just 20-years-old.


All of this would make for an interesting side note except for one frustrating fact. Dolan is Canadian and beyond a couple of festival screenings outside Quebec, J'ai tué ma mere, remains nearly unknown (and mostly unseen) in the rest of Canada. Two solitudes indeed. I grant you that indie pictures like this one remain difficult to market at the best of times with English Canadians. Toronto, for all its talk of being a sophisticated film market, remains a city of festival attendees and not cinephiles. If you doubt that contention, take a quick look at the English language films currently showing in Paris right now... check this out

While in Montreal this past week, I spent some time scouting around for DVDs that haven't been released in Ontario. On past trips, I've picked up a few terrific Quebecois films (C.R.A.Z.Y. and Days of Darkness come to mind) and some solid French pictures that didn't get any real distribution outside Quebec (MR 73, OSS 117, Department 36, to cite a few numbered ones). On this trip, I found 1981, a Genie-nominated and generally well-reviewed feature from Quebec director Ricardo Trogi, and Luc Picard's 2009 Detour, a film that sounds pretty good, but received mixed reviews. We'll see.

I also found a DVD release of J'ai tué ma mere but only bought one copy because, as per fucking usual, it doesn't have subtitles. AHHHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRR! What gives? It would have taken about $100 with of post-production to include an English-language subtitle track and release the film to the rest of Canada, but no.... Xavier Dolan's world-renowned film (films actually, he's on his third now) will continue to remain nearly unknown (and mostly unseen) in his native country, at least until Here! (a U.S. label specializing in gay and lesbian film who picked up the U.S. rights) gets around to releasing it in the States.... so we can then import it here to Ontario.

It simply boggles the mind.

Sporgey

6 comments:

Worsenfunk said...

I actually saw 'i killed my mother' in a parisian cafe when i was there. just playing on tv late at night. totally bonkers that the film gets no distribution - particularly since a dozen or so customers at the west end have inquired about it. meaning that theres a market at least in home video.

Worsenfunk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Davey - Water hobo said...

$100 for subtitles is a little inaccurate, but Mongrel and Seville should have distributed this. Maybe they have? I'm guessing they haven't, based on your post.

La Sporgenza said...

actually they're done already and free......

http://www.opensubtitles.org/en/subtitles/3709483/i-killed-my-mother-en

La Sporgenza said...

...and just for future reference, neither Mongrel nor Seville distribute Quebecois films either theatrically or on DVD.

Maybe they should start though.

Justin Davey - Water hobo said...

Wow. I agree