Monday, December 25, 2017

100 Best Canadian Films – Jim Shedden

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and I hope everyone has a good and healthy new year.  If you’re looking for a nice holiday film, here are two of my favorites that could put you in a nice festive mood: Gilles Carle’s La vie heureuse de Léopold Z and Jean-Marc Vallée’s C.R.A.Z.Y. both which are Christmas films. Anyways hopefully during this winter break you can relax a little and enjoy yourselves, spend some time with your family and loved ones, and while you're at it eat well.
It’s highly likely that this will be the last 100 Best Canadian Films list of 2017 and, after having already posted 23 of them, I can safely say that I am quite happy with how the series turned out. The series, though, will probably still be open for contributions up until at the latest the end of February and I was thinking of making a master-list afterwards where I will put all of them together. But I’m having some doubts these days if people are even interested in this project so maybe if any readers want to express an interest or offer to help, that would be greatly appreciated.

David D. asked me to make a personal list of “100 Best Canadian Films.” I’m really glad that the responses to this have been idiosyncratic, as my list won’t be like any of the others.
What follows is 100 Canadian films that I really like, 100 films that somehow touched me emotionally or intellectually. There is no attempt at balance: more than half of them are by experimental, avant-garde and artist filmmakers because that’s what I have liked about filmmaking from our country more than anything else. I haven’t divided the films by genre, however, because I’m going to pretend that, for today, it doesn’t matter. The films are organized by director. There is no hierarchy within the list of 100.
That being said, there is no attempt to put forward a definition of Canadian film other than films made by people who consider themselves Canadian. They weren’t all shot or finished here (nb. Wavelength as the most famous example in that regard). I’m interested in various theories and histories of Canadian film, and I am, in fact, working on one myself with a couple of other people, but ultimately I can’t abide by a theory of Canadian anything that excludes an interesting book, film, play, or movie made by a person born here or living here or otherwise considering themselves Canadian, because it doesn’t match a theoretical picture of “Canadian”.
I am including multiple films by a number of filmmakers. However, I do tend towards earlier films, ones that I saw two and three decades ago, like Peter Mettler’s student work. I don’t include any work by Elder after Consolations, and no work by Snow after So Is This. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the newer work, but the older work rewired by emotional infrastructure when I saw it, partly a testament to the work, and partly a testament to the openness of Jim Shedden the teenager.
There are, I’m sure dozens or even hundreds of interesting Canadian films that I simply haven’t seen yet. It’s obvious from people’s lists. I think the only lists where I’ve seen over 80% of the films are Mike Hoolboom’s and Stephen Broomer’s. Even there, I feel very far behind on the current crop of avant-garde films. There seems to be a lot of good work coming out faster than I can see it. I have yet to see Stephen Broomer’s Potamkin, for example, so it’s not on the list.
I am woefully ignorant of Québècois cinema. And I’m not happy about the overall diversity of the list that follows. It’s mostly white males. More work needs to be done, but this is where I’m at today. – J.S.

Jim Shedden’s 100 Best Canadian Films
1. Kay Armatage. Jill Johnson: October 1975, 1977.
2. Jennifer Baichwal. Manufactured Landscapes, 2006.
3. Michel Brault. Les ordres, 1974.
4. Donald Brittain and Don Owen. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen, 1966.
5. Stephen Broomer. Christ Church - St. James, 2011.
6. Stephen Broomer. Pepper’s Ghost, 2013.
7. Carl Brown. neige noire (w/ John Kamevaar), 2003.
8. Dan Browne. Alberta, 2014.
9. Colin Brunton. The Last Pogo, 1978/2008 + The Last Pogo Jumps Again, 2013.
10. Colin Campbell. Janus, 1973.
11. Jack Chambers. Circle, 1968-69.
12. Jack Chambers. Hart of London, 1968-70.
13. Shawn Chapelle. Natalie of Wood, 2001.
14. Christopher Chapman. A Place to Stand, 1967.
15. Janis Cole and Holly Dale. Hookers on Davie, 1984.
16. David Cronenberg. Rabid, 1977.
17. David Cronenberg. Videodrome, 1983.
18. David Cronenberg. The Dead Zone, 1983.
19. Keewatin Dewdney. Maltese Cross Movement.
20. Keewatin Dewdney. Wildwood Flower.
21. Atom Egoyan. Next of Kin, 1984.
22. Atom Egoyan. Krapp’s Last Tape, 2000.
23. Bruce Elder. The Art of Worldly Wisdom, 1979.
24. Bruce Elder. Illuminated Texts, 1983.
25. Bruce Elder. Lamentations: A Monument to the Dead World, 1985.
26. Bruce Elder. Consolations (Love is an Art of Time), 1988.
27. Clint Enns. A Knight’s Walk, 2014.
28. Graeme Ferguson. North of Superior, 1971.
29. Vera Frenkel. The Secret Life Of Cornelia Lumsden, 1979-80.
30. Chris Gallagher. Seeing in the Rain, 1981.
31. Chris Gallagher. Mirage, 1983.
32. John Greyson. Fig Trees, 2009. 
33. Barry Greenwald. Taxi!, 1982.
34. Rick Hancox. Home for Christmas, 1978.
35. Phil Hoffman. On the Pond, 1978.
36. Phil Hoffman. Kitchener-Berlin, 1990.
37. Mike Hoolboom, Subway Stops, 2017 (installation).
38. Stanley Jackson, Wolf Koenig and Terence Macartney-Filgate. The Days Before Christmas, 1958.
39. Chris Kennedy. Towards a Vanishing Point, 2012.
40. Richard Kerr. Vesta Lunch, 1978.
41. Richard Kerr. Six Stories (On Land, Over Water), 1981.
42. Richard Kerr. Morning… Came a Day Early, 2016.
43. Alan King. A Married Couple, 1969.
44. John Kneller. Axis, 2013.
45. Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor. Glenn Gould On the Record + Glenn Gould Off the Record, 1959.
46. Eva Kolcze. All That is Solid, 2014.
47. Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn. Nunavut (Our Land), 1994-95.
48. Helen Lee. Sally’s Beauty Spot, 1990.
49. Arthur Lipsett. Very Nice, Very Nice, 1961.
50. Keith Lock. Everything Everywhere Again Alive, 1975.
51. Brenda Longfellow. Shadow Maker: Gwendolyn McEwan, Poet, 1998.
52. Andrew Lugg. Front and Back, 1972.
53. Guy Maddin. My Winnipeg, 2007.
54. Ron Mann. Imagine the Sound, 1981.
55. Ron Mann. Poetry in Motion, 1982.
56. Ron Mann. Comic Book Confidential, 1988.
57. Ron Mann. The Twist, 1992.
58. Bruce McDonald. Knock! Knock!, 1985.
59. Bruce McDonald. Roadkill, 1989.
60. Normal McLaren. Pas de deux, 1968.
61. Lorne Marin. Rhapsody on a Theme from a House Movie, 1972.
62. Peter Mettler. Eastern Avenue, 1985.
63. Peter Mettler. Picture of Light, 1994.
64. David Morris. Super 8 Cycle.
65. Brian Nash. bp: Pushing the Boundaries, 1997.
66. Midi Onodera. The Bird Chirped on Bathurst, 1981.
67. Susan Oxtoby. January 15, 1991: Gulf War Diary, 1991.
68. Andrew J. Paterson. Basic Motel, 1980.
69. Madi Piller. Untitled, 1925, 2016.
70. Kathleen Pirrie Adams and Paula Gignac. Excess is What I Came For, 1994.
71. Sarah Polley. Stories We Tell, 2012.
72. John Porter. Wallpaper Films (18-film cycle for Fifth Column), 1983-1990.
73. John Price. View of then Falls from the Canadian Side, 2006.
74. Isabella Pruska-Oldenhof. This Town of Toronto, 2012.
75. Isabella Pruska-Oldenhof. Her Carnal Longings, 2003.
76. Al Razutis. 98.3Khz: (Bridge at Electrical Storm), 1973.
77. Steve Reinke. The Hundred Videos, 1989-1996.
78. David Rimmer. Variations on a Cellophane Wrapper, 1970.
79. David Rimmer. Bricolage, 1984.
80. Patricia Rozema. Into the Forest, 2015.
81. Tom Sherman. TVideo, 1980.
82. Michael Snow. Wavelength, 1967.
83. Michael Snow. Standard Time, 1967.
84. Michael Snow. <——>, 1969.
85. Michael Snow. La région centrale, 1971.
86. Michael Snow. Rameau’s Nephew by Diderot (thanx to Dennis Young) by Wilma Schoen, 1974.
87. Michael Snow. So is This, 1982.
88. Lisa Steele. Birthday Suit, 1974.
89. Barbara Sternberg. Transitions, 1982.
90. Barbara Sternberg. A Trilogy, 1985.
91. Barbara Sternberg. In the Nature of Things, 2011.
92. Leslie Supnet. In Still Time, 2015.
93. Gariné Torossian. Sparklehorse, 1999.
94. Joyce Wieland. Sailboat, 1967-68.
95. Joyce Wieland. Handtinting, 1967-68.
96. Joyce Wieland. Rat Life and Diet in North America, 1970.
97. Joyce Wieland. Pierre Vallières, 1972.
98. Joyce Wieland. A and B in Ontario (w/ Hollis Frampton), 1984.
99. Alan Zweig. Vinyl, 2000.
100. Alan Zweig. When Jews Were Funny, 2013.

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