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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Canadian Cinema: Posters

Cinema Studies

A Problem With Fear (Gary Burns, 2003)

A young man begins to suspect that his debilitating phobias are the cause of a massive and deadly outbreak of fear sweeping the nation.

Cast: Emily Hampshire, Keegan Connor Tracy, Willie Garson, Paulo Constanzo, and Camille Sullivan

Archangel (Guy Maddin, 1990)

A British soldier fighting in World War I finds himself trapped in Archangel, a remote village in Russia. There he meets a woman who reminds him of his deceased wife, and a bizarre love triangle ensues. 

Cast: Kyle McCulloch, Michael Gotti, Kathy Marykuca, Ari Cohen

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (Zacharias Kunuk, 2002)

A drama of crime, resolution, and forgiveness in among the Inuit in Northern Canada. 

Cast: Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu, Pauloosie Qulitalik, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq

A Winter Tan (Jackie Burroughs, Louise Clark, John Frizzell, John Walker, Aerlyn Weissman, 1987)

A disillusioned academic travels to Mexico in search of love and sexual freedom, but ends up being brutally murdered by a man she trusts. Based on the letters and journals of Maryse Holder published as Give Sorrow Words by Grove Press.

Cast: Jackie Burroughs, Diane D'Aquila, Anita Olanick, Hernando Gonzáles, Javier Torres

Beefcake (Thom Fitzgerald, 1989)

A dramatized depiction of the origins af Bob Mizer's Physique Pictorial magazine and the colorful individuals who made it into the legendary institution it has become. 

Cast: Daniel MacIvor, Joshua Pearce, Jack Griffin Mazelka 

Being At Home With Claude (Jean Beaudin, 1993)

Taut story of an investigation into a crime of passion, based on the play of the same name by René-Daniel Dubois.

Cast: Roy Dupuis, Jean François Pichette, Gaston Lepage, Jacques Godin

Black Christmas/Silent Night, Evil Night/Stranger in the House (Bob Clark, 1974)

An unidentified killer stalks a sorority house over winter break. Widely recognized as the first-ever "slasher" film, structured around moving camera shots from the killer's POV. Director Bob Clark would later go on to greater international fame with his teen sex comedy, Porky's. 

Cast: Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, Keir Dullea, John Saxon, Art Hindle, Doug McGrath

Bollywood Hollywood (Deepa Mehta, 2002)

A young Indian millionaire hires an escort to pretend to be his fiancée to end his mother's demand that he find a suitable wife. 

Cast: Rahul Khanna, Lisa Ray, Moushumi Chatterjee, Dina Pathak. Ranjit Chowdhry, Jessica Paré, Akshaye Khanna

Les bons debarras/Good Riddance (Francis Mankiewicz)

A precocious girl systematically destroys the lives of everyone around her in order to gain her mother's undivided love. 

Cast: Charlotte Laurier, Marie Tifo, Germain Houde

Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (Kelly Makin, 1996)

The cast of the popular cable comedy program Kids in the Hall bring some of their most popular characters (and several new ones) to the big screen.

Cast: Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, and Dave Foley,

C.R.A.Z.Y. (Jean-Marc Valée, 2005)

Coming of age comedy-drama about a Catholic teenager from a conservative Québécois family, who must come to terms with his gay identity and then come out to his parents and family. 

Cast:  Marc-André Grondin, Michel Côté, Pierre-Luc Brillant, Danielle Proulx, Alex Gravel 

Careful (Guy Maddin, 1992)

The citizens of Tolzbad live in a constant state of alert. Any noise or movement could set of a massive avalanche that would wipe out their village. 

Cast: Kyle McCulloch, Gosia Dobrowolska, Sarah Neville, Paul Cox, Brent Neale

Crime Wave (John Paizs, 1984/1985)

A film that truly deserves to be called a "cult classic," John Paizs's Crime Wave made its debut at the 1984 Toronto Film Festival, but its bizarre second act alienated viewers so much that the director decided to go back and re-shoot. Unfortunately, the delay cost him the corner of the market on surreal suburban black comedies, as David Lynch's far more widely distributed Blue Velvet premiered in the interim. Nonetheless, Paizs's film has continued to attract fans around the world from viewings on DVD and VHS, and at festivals and single screenings. 

Paiz's film and its unique history are the subject of Jonathan Ball's entry in the University of Toronto's Canadian Cinema book series, John Paizs's Crime Wave (ISBN 978-1442648128)

Cast: John Paizs, Eva Kovacs, Darrell Baran. 

Dance Me Outside (Bruce McDonald, 1994)

A group of young Native Canadians discover the body of a woman they know. Her (white) killer is caught, and given only two years prison time. As his release draws near, the friends plot revenge. 

Cast: Adam Beach, Ryan Black, Michael Greyeyes, Jennifer Podemski, Lisa LaCroix 

Le Déclin de l'empire américain/Decline of the American Empire (Denys Arcand, 1986)

A professor and his wife call together a group of academic friends for a pleasant dinner party. The arrival of an unexpected guest transforms the event into chaos. 

Cast: Gabriel Arcand, Rémy Girard, Pierre Curzi, Louise Portal, Dominique Michel

Double Happiness (Mina Shum, 1994)

A young Chinese-Canadian woman risks being disowned for making life decisions that do not conform to her conservative family's beliefs. 

Cast: Sandra Oh, Stephen Chang, Alannah Ong, Frances You, Johnny Mah, Callum Keith Rennie, Claudette Carracedo

Drive, She Said (Mina Shum, 1997)

A woman is kidnapped by a bank robber, on whom she has romantic designs. Her lovelorn boyfriend follows the two as their getaway winds through parts unknown. 

Cast: Mina Shum, Moira Kelly, Sebastian Spence, Jim Byrnes, Peter Stebbings 

Emporte-moi/Set Me Free (Léa Pool, 1999)

An alienated teenager from a troubled family finds solace in the films of Anna Karina. Soon, her attentions move from the actress to a classmate. 

Cast: Nancy Huston, Karine Vanasse, Pascale Bussières

Exotica (Atom Egoyan, 1994)

An exotic strip club becomes the juncture at which several separate tales of love, loss, and grief come together. 

Cast: Mia Kirshner, Bruce Greenwood, Elias Koteas, Sarah Polley, Arsinée Khanjian

The Five Senses (Jeremy Podeswa, 1999)

Five individuals living and working in Toronto interact with one another, as their stories, each involving a specific human sense, unfold. 

Cast: Mary Louise Parker, Nadia Litz, Molly Parker, Daniel MacIvor, Brendan Fletcher

Goin' Down the Road (Don Shebib, 1970)

Two disillusioned young men from rural Nova Scotia set off for the city in hopes of finding a better life there.

Cast: Paul Bradley, Doug McGrath, Jayne Eastwood, Cayle Chermin, Pierre La Roche

The Grey Fox (Phillip Borsos, 1982)

A veteran train robber from the days of the Wild West is released from prison after thirty years, and soon falls back into a life of crime. He goes on the lam and meets a photographer with whom he seems to have a romantic connection. Based on a true story. 

Cast: Richard Farnsworth, Ken Pogue, Jackie Burroughs, Wayne Robson

The Grocer's Wife (John Pozer, 1991)

The dreary life of a lonely factory worker who lives with his controlling mother is interrupted one day by the sudden and unexpected romantic advances of the aptly named Mrs. Friendly, the local grocer's wife, and the arrival in town of an exotic dancer, who takes up residence in the factory worker's house following his mother's untimely demise. 

Cast: Nicola Cavendish, Jae Brazeau, Susinn McFarlen, Simon Webb, Alec Burden.  

Highway 61 (Bruce McDonald, 1991)

A mlld-mannered young barber's life is thrown into disarray by the sudden appearance of a corpse hear his home. A strange woman appears and claims that the body is that of her brother, and asks the barber to help her transport her dead sibling back to their home in New Orleans. Unbeknownst to the young man, the stranger hopes to use the body as a means of transporting illegal drugs across the border. 

Cast: Bruce McDonald, Valerie Buhagiar, Earl Pastko, Peter Breck, Jello Biafra

Hustler White (Bruce La Bruce, 1996)

Author Jurgen Anger (no relation to Kenneth) travels to Hollywood in search of an exciting story for his book on male prostitution. 

Cast: Bruce La Bruce, Tony Ward, Rick Castro, Kevin P. Scott, Ron Athey

Incendies (Denis Villeneuve, 2010)

A dying woman leaves her twin children two separate and very different letters to be read after her death. The daughter's letter instructs her to find the father the twins never knew, while the brother's note instructs him to track down the brother they've never met. The twins travel to the Middle East, where they uncover a shocking family history. 

Cast: Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, Rémy Girard, Abdelghafour Elaaziz

I Love A Man In Uniform (David Wellington, 1994)

A Canadian bank clerk moonlighting as an actor in an American crime drama begins to have a profound effect on his self image and mental health. 

Cast: Tom McCamus, Brigitte Bako, Kevin Tighe, Daniel MacIvor, Henry Czerny, Albert Schultz, J.D. Nicholsen, Matthew Ferguson

I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (Patricia Rozema, 1987)

A scatterbrained photographer who lands a job at a posh art gallery learns some hard lessons after she secretly displays one of her boss's artworks in the gallery space. 

Cast: Sheila McCarthy, Paule Baillargeon, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Richard Monette, Brenda Kamino

Jésus de Montréal/Jesus of Montreal (Denys Arcand, 1990)

A group of Roman Catholic priests hire a troupe of actors to perform the Passion Play. The performers decide to offer an unconventional interpretation of the work, and find themselves the target of the priests' outrage. In an odd twist of fate, the lead performer's life ends up echoing the life of Christ in unexpected ways. 

Cast: Lothaire Bluteau, Catherine Wilkening, Johanne Marie Tremblay, Gilles Pelletier

Joe's So Mean To Josephine (Peter Wellington, 1996)

Despite an immediate attraction to one another, Joe and Josephine discover that their relationship is doomed.

Cast: Sarah Polley, Eric Thal, Waneta Storms, Don McKellar, Jason Cadieux

John and the Missus (Gordon Pinsent, 1986)

When the government shuts down a copper mind in a small Newfoundland town, one man and his family stay behind to try and continue life in their ancestral home.

Cast: Gordon Pinsent, Jackie Burroughs, Jessica Steen, Timothy Webber, Neil Munro

J'ai tué ma mère/I killed my mother (Xavier Dolan, 2009)

The semi-autobiographical story of a young gay man's troubled relationship with his single mother. 

Cast: Xavier Dolan, Anne Dorval, Suzanne Clément, François Arnaud

Kissed (Lynne Stopkewich, 1996)

A death-obsessed teenager gets a job at a mortuary, where she indulges in private passions.

Cast: Molly Parker, Peter Outerbridge, Jay Brazeau, Annabel Kershaw

Last Night (Don McKellar, 1998)

The citizens of Toronto prepare for the end of the world, which arrives in just a few hours. 

Cast: Don McKellar, Sandrah Oh, David Cronenberg, Callum Keith Rennie, Sarah Polley, Tracy Wright, Geneviève Bujold, Arsinée Khanjian, Karen Glave, Trent McMullan, Robin Gammell, Charmion King, Jessica Brooker, and Jackie Burroughs

Laurence Anyways (Xavier Dolan, 2012)

High school teacher Laurence, loves his female companion, Fred, but feels that he has been born the wrong gender. Laurence reveals to his friend that he is transgender.

Cast: Melvil Poupaud, Suzanne Clément, Nathalie Baye, Monia Chokri, Yves Jacques 

Léolo (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1992)

A  boy dreams of escaping the unhappy life he leads with his bizarre and dysfunctional family. 

Cast: Gilbert SIcotte, Maxime Collin, Ginette Reno, Giuditta del Vecchio, Julien Guiomar. 

The Life Before This (Jerry Ciccoritti, 1999)

A thoughtful film about how the tiniest of details in people's lives can have profound repercussions. Based on an actual event. 

Cast: Catherine O'Hara, Sarah Polley, Stephen Rea, Joe Pantoliano, Leslie Hope, Emily Hampshire, David Hewlett, Joel S. Keller, Dan Left, Martha Burns, Fab Filippo, Alison Pill, Callum Keith Rennie, Alberta Watson, Jenniver Dale, Jacob Tierney, Albert Schultz, and Bernard Behrens

Lilies/Les feluettes (John Greyson, 1996)

A bishop visits a local prison to hear the final confession of an inmate and finds himself held hostage, forced to confront his own role in the convict's criminal past. Based on the Michel Marc Bouchard play of the same name. 

Cast: Michel Marc Bouchard, Jason Cadieux, Matthew Ferguson, Brent Carver, Marcel Sabourin, Albert Pallascio, Danny Gilmore. 

The Lotus Eaters (Paul Shapiro, 1993)

A headmaster's formerly clandestine affair with a teacher comes to light, with dramatic results. 

Cast: Sheila McCarthy,  R.H. Thomson, Tara Frederick, Michèle Barbara Pelletier, Frances Hyland, Andrea Libman, Paul Soles

Love and Death on Long Island (Richard Kwietnowski, 1997)

Following the death of his wife, literary critic Giles De'Ath is lost. One dreary afternoon he visits a local multiplex for an E.M. Forster adaptation but mistakenly wanders into the theater screening Hotpants College II and he rediscovers the will to live.

Cast: John Hurt, Jason Priestly, Fiona Loewi, Sheila Hancock, Harvey Atkin, Gawn Grainger, Elizabeth Quinn, Mary Chaykin

Love and Human Remains/De l'amour et des restes humaines (Denys Arcand, 1993)

A gay man and his straight female roommate search desperately for love in Edmonton during a serial killer's reign of terror. 

Cast: Thomas Gibson, Ruth Marshall, Cameron Bancroft, Mia Kirshner, Joanne Vannicola, Matthew Ferguson, Rick Roberts

Monkeys in the Attic (Morley Markson, 1974)

Two bohemian artists, a pizza delivery boy, and a conservative couple share a townhouse. 

Cast: Jackie Burroughs, Louis del Grande, Jim Henshaw

Mon Oncle Antoine (Claude Jutra, 1971)

A fifteen-year-old boy comes of age as Quebec's "Quiet Revolution" begins to take shape. 

Cast: Jacques Gagnon, Jean Duceppe, Olivette Thibault, Lionel Villeneuve

Mourir à Tue-Tête/A Scream from the Silence (Anne Claire Poirier, 1979)

Two women are working on a film in which a young nurse is brutally attacked, abducted, and sexually assaulted. As her story moves forward, the filmmakers pause and discuss the film on which they are working. 

Cast: Julie Vincent, Germaine Houde, Paul Savoie, Monique Miller, Micheline Lanctôt

Mustard Bath (Darrel Wasyk, 1993)

A young Toronto doctor travels to Guyana after receiving a letter from his dying mother. He arrives too late, and finds himself alienated and without direction. He throws himself into volunteer work at a local hospital and attempts to befriend an orphaned child and an elderly Hungarian woman. 

Cast: Michael Riley, Martha Henry, Tantoo Cardinal, Eddy Grant, Elizabeth Shepherd

My American Cousin (Sandy Wilson, 1985)

A teenager's life is turned upside-down when her older American cousin comes to her family's rural BC ranch for the summer. 

Cast: Margaret Langrick, John Wildman, Jane Motifee, Babz Chula, Camille Henderson

My Life Without Me (Isabel Coixet, 2003)

A  young woman discovers she has very little time to live. She makes a list of things she must do, both for herself, and for her family, before she can die. 

Cast: Sarah Polley, Scott Speedman, Mark Ruffalo, Leonor Watling, Deborah Harry, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros

Nobody Waved Good-bye (Don Owen, 1964)

A disillusioned teen turns his back on his comfortable middle-class life and finds himself regretting it. 

Cast: Peter Kastne, Julie Biggs, Claude Rae, Toby Tarnow, Charmion King, Ron Taylor

Les Ordres/Orderers (Michel Brault, 1974)

Film details the events of the so-called October Crisis of 1970, when members of the Front de libéreation de Québec kidnapped the Quebec Deputy Premier and a British Diplomat. As innocent citizens are rounded up and incarcerated, their stories unfold for the viewer. 

Cast: Hélène Loiselle, Jean Lapointe, Guy Provost, Claude Gauthier, Louise Forestier, Louise Pratte, Martine Pratte, Monique Pratte, Amulette Garneau

Perfectly Normal (Yves Simoneau,1990)

An unscrupulous businessman convinces a naïve young brewery worker to sink his life savings into an Italian restaurant/bar with opera-singing waiters.

Cast: Robbie Coltrane, Michael Riley, Deborah Duchêne, Eugene Lipinski, Kenneth Welsh, Patricia Gage, J.D. Nicholsen

Rabid (David Cronenberg, 1977)

A doctor's uses an experimental treatment on a young woman who has been severely injured in a motorcycle accident. After languishing in a coma for over a month, she suddenly awakens, and unbeknownst to her, triggers a pandemic that makes those infected become blood-craving zombies. Cronenberg's film is notable for providing former Ivory Snow model and adult film star Chambers with her first serious role. 

Cast: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver, Howard Ryshpan, Patricia Gage, Susan Roman

Rude (Clement Virgo, 1995)

Canada's first feature to be written, directed, and produced by a team of all black artists, tells the story of a group of young people living in Toronto's Regent Park. 

Cast: Maurice Dean Wint, Rachael Crawford, Clark Johnson, Richard Chevolieau, Sharon Lewis, Melanie Nicholls-King

Saddest Music in the World (Guy Maddin, 2003)

Baroness Helen Port-Huntley announces a contest to discover the saddest music in the world. Her reasons for doing so are more financial than artistic: She hopes the event will bring attention to her company, Muskeg Beer, as Prohibition is soon to be abolished in the US. 

Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Mark McKinney, Maria de Medeiros, David Fox, Russ McMillan, Louis Negin, Darcy Fehr

Scanners (David Cronenberg, 1981)

A private security company unveils its latest weapon, "scanners" (individuals with psychic powers). 

Cast: Steven Lack, Jennifer O'Neill, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane, Michael Ironside

Soul Survivor (Stephen Williams, 1995)

A young Jamacan immigrant becomes involved in a life of crime after he leaves his hairdressing job to become a collector for a local loan shark. When one of his targets ends up being a family member, he begins to have doubts about his  career choice. 

Cast: Peter Williams, George Harris, Clark Johnson, David Smith, Judith Scott, Arden Bess, Leonie Forbes

Speaking Parts (Atom Egoyan, 1989)

An obsessive love triangle develops between Lance, an aspiring actor who works as a hotel custodian and moonlights as a male escort; Lisa, a smitten co-worker who obsessively watches all of the actor's (non-speaking) bit performances; and Clara, the screenwriter who, intrigued by the resumé left behind by Lisa in her room, recommends Lance for a part in her upcoming film and begins an affair with him. 

Cast: Michael McManus, Arsinée Khanjian, Gabrielle Rose, Tony Nardi, David Hemblen

Sweet Hereafter (Atom Egoyan, 1997)

Members of a remote community in the mountains attempt to rebuild their shattered lives following a devastating school bus accident in which more than a dozen children are killed. 

Cast: Ian Holm, Sarah Polley, Tom McCamus, Gabrielle Rose, David Hemblen, Bruce Greenwood, Marc Donato, Alberta Watson, Maury Chaykin, Arsinée Khanjian, Earl Pastko, Simon R. Baker, Russell Banks, Peter Donaldson, Mychael Danna

Tales from the Gimli Hospital (Guy Maddin, 1988)

Guy Maddin's 1988 feature film debut. As two children sit quietly in the room of their dying mother in the modern-day Gimli Hospital, their Icelandic grandmother passes the time by telling them a convoluted and disturbing tale about a series of disasters in the distant past. 

Tom à la Ferme/Tom At The Farm (Xavier Dolan, 2013)

Tom, a young advertising executive from Montéal, travels to a remote rural village to deliver a eulogy at the funeral of his lover. Unbeknownst to him, his lover's family had no idea the young man was gay. Adapted from Michel Marc Bouchard's play of the same name. 

Cast: Xavier Dolan, Pierr-Yves Cardinal, Lise Roy, Évelyne Brochu, Manuel Tadros

Top of the Food Chain/Mars à table (John Paizs, 1999)

A small village in northern Canada is nearly wiped out when a group of sex-crazed, cannibalistic aliens lands nearby. 

Cast: Campbell Scott, Fiona Loewi, Tom Everett Scott, Nigel Bennett, Lorry Ayers, Bernard Behrens

Waydowntown (Gary Burns, 2000)

A group of young coworkers each wager a month's salary in a bet to see who can stay inside Calgary's sprawling maze of interconnected offices, apartment buildings, and businesses for the longest time. It's day 24...

Cast: Fab Filippo, Don McKellar, Marya Delver, Gordon Currie

White Room (Patricia Rozema, 1990)

A youthful voyeur witnesses the murder of a woman whose claim to fame and fortune is her beautiful singing voice. His investigation uncovers secrets from the past and threatens to ruin the lives of innocent people. 

Cast: Kate Nelligan, Maruice Godin, Margot Kidder, Sheila McCarthy, Barbara Gordon, Nicky Guadagni, Erika Ritter 

Winter Kept Us Warm (David Secter, 1965)

Friendship between two young men attending the University of Toronto in the winter of 1965 slowly becomes something more. One of the first Canadian feature films to attract international attention, and certainly one of the first to deal with LGBT issues. 

Cast: John Labow, Henry Tarvainen, Joy Tepperman, Janet Amos

Zero Patience (John Greyson, 1993)

John Greyson's wildly inventive movie musical about AIDS.

Cast: John Robinson, Normand Fauteux, Dianne Heatherington, Richardo Keens-Douglas, Michael Callen, Marla Lukofsky, Von Flores

Un Zoo La Nuit/Night Zoo (Jean-Claude Lauzon, 1987)

The most successful film in the history of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, with awards (a total of 13) in every category in which it was nominated. A young ex-con attempts to reconcile with his dying father, while being pursued by a corrupt cop. Aided by his former cell mate and an ex-girlfriend, the man exacts revenge. 

Cast: Giles Maheu, Roger Lebel, Corrado Mastropasqua, Lorne Brass, Germaine Houde, Jerry Snell