Two recent Canadian films to come through my part of the United States illustrate the extremes in determining Canadian content in a film.
"Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal" is a Canada-Denmark production, but the film feels very Canadian. The only obvious Denmark element stems from the lead actor, who is an outsider in the plot of an artist who comes to a remote Canadian town to teach art.
The Danish artist is put in charge of Eddie, who is a bit slow. His "hobby" is that he goes out in his underwear in the middle of the night and eats people.
The pace and humour feels Canadian. The Danish element fits in well with the necessary outsider, aided by the fact that remote and cold play well in both countries.
"Slaughter Nick for President" is a documentary about a Canadian actor Rob Stewart but the film is mostly about his experience in Serbia. If you miss the first 10 minutes of the film, you'll miss Canada entirely. About half of the film's time in Canada is spent at Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
Stewart starred as Nick Slaughter in "Tropical Heat" (aka Sweating Bullets) from 1991-1993. The show was one of several Canadian productions that aired on CBS late night throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Ironically, the show was produced with the cooperation of Mexico and Israel, so in no way was the program 100% Canadian (especially with the tropics involved).
Stewart finds out accidentally that his character and the show were popular in Serbia in the 1990s. So Stewart gets a filmmaker friend, the friend's sister, and the three of them go to Serbia.
So the film is a Canadian film even if the focus and location is not about Canada.
"Stories We Tell" is currently playing in a limited release in U.S. markets (yes, this includes Chicago). Sarah Polley's latest film is self-reflective, well, her family reflective of discovering that the man Polley thought was her father isn't her biological father.
As regular readers know, I saw "Stories We Tell" in November in Windsor and saw the film last night in Chicago.
The peeling of the onion that naturally falls from the initial questioning would be incredible if an outside filmmaker had made this film. The fact that Polley is the epicenter of this story and approaches it from within the onion is brave, bold, and imaginative.
My only criticism of the film, and I felt this in my original review, is that the film doesn't know how to end. Then again, the story from the film is still ongoing.
This film, while likely limited to major cities, got a better U.S. deal that what happened to "Take This Waltz." Hopefully, any good results from this film will guide more people to see what an amazing filmmaker Polley is.