Sunday, March 13, 2011

Genie Awards 2011: Best of Canadian film

It is not surprizing to see that Denis Villeneuve's Incendies is one of the main winners at this year's Canadian Genie Awards, winning 8 awards in total. Barney's Version is the other big winner, with 7 Genies. It is remarkable that these two films won 15 out of the 19 awards eligible for fictional features, with The Trotsky winning two Genies. The Golden Reel Award for top grossing Canadian film at the box office in 2010 went shockingly to Resident Evil: Afterlife. Both Incendies and Barney's Version did not get a proper Canadian theatrical release until January 2011 but even if they were released in 2010, it is hard to imagine either of them grossing more than the $7 million that Resident Evil: Afterlife took in. In fact, Resident Evil accounted for 21% of the total Canadian revenue at multiplexes. One would not consider Resident Evil: Afterlife as a Canadian film but in this day and age of co-productions, the line does blur. Last Train Home, another Canadian co-production, won best documentary.

Full list of winners:

Best picture: Incendies
Direction: Denis Villeneuve, Incendies
Original screenplay: Jacob Tierney, The Trotsky
Adapted screenplay: Denis Villeneuve, Incendies
Lead actor: Paul Giamatti, Barney's Version
Lead actress: Lubna Azabal, Incendies
Supporting actor: Dustin Hoffman, Barney's Version
Supporting actress: Minnie Driver, Barney's Version
Art direction/production design: Barney's Version
Cinematography: Incendies
Costume design: Barney's Version
Make-up: Barney's Version
Editing: Incendies
Original score: Barney's Version
Original song: Already Gone (The Trotsky)
Overall sound: Incendies
Sound editing: Incendies
Documentary: Last Train Home
Live action short drama: Savage
Animated short: Lipsett Diaries (Les Journaux de Lipsett)
Claude Jutra Award: Jephté Bastien, Sortie 67
Golden Reel Award: Resident Evil: Afterlife

Incendies also had the honor of winning best Canadian film at the Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary International film festivals. Hopefully, all these awards means that more Canadians will bother seeing this film in its current limited theatrical run and eventual DVD release.

Popular award shows rarely get things right in awarding the best film, so it is good to see that in Canada a truly worthy film won the top prize. Overall, 2010 was one of the strongest years for Canadian films in recent memory. Besides Incendies, here are some of my picks for 2010 Canadian films which are worth a look:

Curling (Denis Côté)
Heartbeats (Xavier Dolan)
Taylor’s Way (Rene Barr)
Small Town Murder Songs (Ed Gass-Donnelly)
Fubar II (Michael Dowse)
A Simple Rhythm (Tess Girard)
Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Canada co-production, Edgar Wright)
Splice (Canada co-production, Vincenzo Natali)

Splice would have made my best of 2010 year list if the film had not gone overboard in the last 15 minutes. Still, the film deserves to be seen for the many interesting ideas that it contains. Plus, Splice never lets the viewer get comfortable with the material and constantly tries to unsettle its audience.

Fubar II was completely shutout from this year's Genies but the film is enjoyable and has a good heart. Seeing the first Fubar film is not a prerequisite for the second film but it does help in outlining the humor style and the characters. Also, Fubar II won the audience award at last year's Calgary International Film Festival and was easily sold out well in advance of its screening.


Sam Juliano said...

As you may know Sachin, one of our writers (Jim Clark) is a Canadian. and he and his lovely wife Valerie reside in Toronto. Just earlier today I received an e mail from Jim, appraising me of the upcoming MOMA screening of "Curling" by Dennis Cote. Cote is a director he has recently been in contact with, and I was waiting to hear of teh screening date. As it turns out I am heartbroken, as the prime time Saturday evening showing slated for March 26 can't be negotiated as I have theatre tickets for that date. Literally any other date would have worked. In any case your own high regard only the complicates the situation. I am not surprised you have highly promoted INCENDIES, which I do hope to see soon, (as well as BARNEY'S VERSON, which thus far has eluded me, but plan to see before it disappears) and I appreciate this stellar roundu-up and appraisal of Canadian cinema within the parameter of the Genie Awards.

Sachin said...

I missed Cote's previous film, Carcasses, a few years ago when it had just a single screening at the Calgary International Film Festival. On that particular day, I had opted for another film over Carcasses. So last when Curling had a single showing at the same time as another film I wanted to see at CIFF, I made sure I picked Cote's film this time around. His films are hard to come by but thankfully has two of his films online now, especially Carcasses which finally got a DVD release last fall. So that gives me hope that Curling will find a bigger theatrical release and eventual DVD release.

I am sure you will get another chance to see this film. In Canada, the DVD of Curling will be released in May.

I have missed Barney's Version so far as well but it is still playing in the theaters so I plan to catch it soon.

Thanks again for your words.

Piotr said...

Someone remarked that "Incendies" is the closest contemporary approximation of Greek tragedy, and I agree with this assessment: the crimes and consequences are universal and timeless, and if a film holds up a mirror to question our capacity for barbarism, it is reason to applaud. Regardless of the outcome at the Academy Awards, "Incendies" is a major achievement for Canadian cinema.

Sachin said...

Thanks for you comment Piotr. I agree that Incendies is a fine achievement for Canadian cinema. That is an interesting and relevant point about a Greek tragedy. Now I just hope more people across Canada see this film.