Films from Quebec directors dominate this year’s Canada’s Top 10 film list, chosen by a panel of film professionals from across the country. The list, now in its 13th year, is an initiative of the Toronto International Film Festival. The winning films, along with top 10 short films, will be screened at TIFF Bell Lightbox at Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival, from Jan. 3-12, with the filmmakers in attendance.
Enemy, one of two English-language films directed by Montreal’s Denis Villeneuve this year (the other was Prisoners), is an absurdist thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, based on the novel by the late Nobel Prize-winner, José Saramago.
Leading the list of Quebec-set films is Gabrielle, writer-director Louise Archambault’s film about a mentally challenged musician, which is Canada’s official foreign-language-film Oscar submission; Jeff Barnaby’s Rhymes for Young Ghouls is a Quebec-set drama with supernatural elements, about a resourceful native-Canadian girl in the residential schools era.
There are three Quebec same-sex relationship films on the list, including Chloé Robichaud’s coming-out drama about a young athlete, Sarah préfère la course (Sarah Prefers to Run); Xavier Dolan’s Tom à la ferme (Tom at the Farm), an adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard’s play about a man visiting his dead lover’s rural family; and Vic et Flo ont vu un ours (Vic + Flo Saw a Bear), Denis Côté’s genre-bending film of two women ex-cons trying to escape the past in the Quebec woods.
Other Top 10 films are The F-Word, a romcom by Michael Dowse (Fubar) starring Daniel Radcliffe and Mélanie Laurent as a couple whose romance is impeded by friendship. The adult animated film Asphalt Watches is a surreal flash-animated account of artist Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver’s cross-Canada hitchhiking journey, 13 years ago.
As well, the Top 10 list includes two documentaries, Watermark, Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky’s look at people’s relationship to water around the world, and Alan Zweig’s examination of humour and the evolution of Jewish culture, When Jews Were Funny.