Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Watching Carlos in Canada

So do you want to see the new Olivier Assayas film Carlos?

Do you live in Toronto or Vancouver?

If your answer is no, then you are not privileged enough to see this film in movie theatres. The rest of Canada does not matter as currently only Toronto & Vancouver have had the benefit of showcasing this movie outside of their film festivals.

If the film does open in a few more select Canadian cities, it will more likely be spring or summer of 2011, closer to a year since the film first made headlines when it premiered at Cannes in May 2010.

So what is a Canadian film lover to do?

Simple. Order the film from

The film is in PAL but most Canadian/North American film lovers need to have a PAL DVD player anyway as that is an essential requirement to be able to legally watch most foreign films.

A lot of time and energy is wasted on whether film criticism is dead, whether film viewing is only relevant if seen in a movie theater or whether online film bloggers are putting critics out of a job. No one seems to be paying attention to the bigger issue that the current North American film distribution model is broken. There are great films being made in the world yet most people in North America won't get to see most of them. Certain foreign films will show only once or twice at a local North American film festival and some might play at an art house/indie theatre or at a cinematheque before disappearing for good. Some might not even see a North American DVD release. One way to see a good number of these foreign films is to fly around the world to various film festivals. But that is just not a feasible option.

I truly believe if more quality films are regularly shown in North American movie theatres, then film criticism would be even more alive than ever before. But in the current situation, multiplexes across Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver are showing mostly the same films. As a result, film criticism is restricted to just a few titles. Do we need 30+ writers analyzing The Social Network? No!

Incredibly this same film in multiple venue model dominates the US and parts of UK. It is baffling that in this day and age when there are more choices of films than ever before, the selection at a regular movie theatre is quite limited. But thankfully, the DVD and the online world provides a very useful option.
[Update, Nov 13, 2010]

The Regina Public Library Film Theatre is showing Carlos On Nov 27 & 28. The shorter film version is showing as opposed to the longer 5.5 hour version but still it is incredible to see another Canadian city get this film.


Michael C said...

Hi there,
Totally agree with you on this. I live in Melbourne, Australia, and it's the same here. No sign of CARLOS turning up at our doorstep here soon, yet THE SOCIAL NETWORK, THE TOWN, and the ultra-turgid EAT PRAY LOVE would have to be playing in nearly every movie theatre in the city. If you're an avid cinephile here in Australia, and have a rough idea of what is out there in the current cinema-world, then seeing films mentioned in Film Comment, Cinemascope, etc, is an often-impossible experience. Off the top of my head, two films that graced the end-of-the-year best-of lists in the past two years never arrived here in Melbourne at all - not even as part of a festival! I had to watch A HEADLESS WOMAN on DVD earlier this year, and I've just obtained a copy of POLICE, ADJECTIVE very recently, haven't watched it yet. Thank god for other channels, BUT it is so goddamn frustrating that the opportunity to see these films did not occur on the big screen. The more one reads and delves into the wider (and wider) world of cinema shaking and grooving at festivals around the globe, the more you realise that there is SO MUCH out there that is NOT being widely distributed. I personally feel like I have a hard time keeping up with the entire world of film sometimes, overwhelmed with the sheer beautiful weight of cinema, but I want to have the choice to see these films I read about, not having to wait, and cross my fingers that they'll get one or two screenings at a film festival here.

CARLOS showed here at our local international film festival in July-August this year. I missed seeing it, due to the pressures of squeezing in as many films as possible while working, researching, and maintaining my relationship with my girlfriend! I would really like the chance to see it - the reviews I've read seem a bit mixed, but I want to see it to make my own mind up.

By the by, I'm guilty of being yet another one of the millions who has written on THE SOCIAL NETWORK on my blog (oh no, a plug!). I couldn't help myself - god knows why i wrote it, it's been analysed to death, and it was an inconsequential little splurge that I felt i had to say, but oh well, I said it.

I've just stumbled across your blog, still getting used to the blogosphere (getting used to using that word, too), but I've really enjoyed reading your posts. Cheers!

Sachin said...

Thanks for dropping by and your comments Michael.

Yes it does get frustrating to wait and wait to see films mentioned in those magazines. On average, in Canada one has to wait 1.5-2 years from when a film appears in Cannes to see the movie. But even then, only half of the films from the Cannes competition category might show up. Some of the worthy films from the Un Certain Regard might never show up or arrive 3 years later.

The Headless Woman never made it to theaters here so I only had to see it on DVD. Thankfully Police, Adjective made it to our film festival so I was able to see it.

I am luckier than most people that I get to see a lot of films previewing for our local film festival but even I still miss a lot of the films that get talked about. For example, I have no idea when I would I get to see Enter the Void, a film with mixed reviews but like you said, one that I need to see for myself. The DVD will be out in the UK next year but I want to see this in a theater.

I have found that if one has to be a cinephile, one has to spend money to seek out films on their own. Either by buying DVD from overseas or even going to a film festival abroad, but traveling around the world is just not feasible for the average person -- relationship, work and money have to be balanced as you mention, and that is something I struggle with as well.

Well I too have been guilty in the past about writing for some of the big hyped up movies like Inception or The Dark Knight but sometimes you can't avoid writing (or rambling :) because something in the film inspires you to put down words.

keep seeking out films and writing :)