Ever hear the term “it takes a village”? Gang, making a film is hard work! Behind each and every Canadian film is a robust national industry that make so much of what we love to watch, and the cities these professionals work in often inform what it is they’re producing. Let’s look at some of the diverse titles that show off our country’s vibrant metropolises.
Montreal (Liverpool, Manon Briand)
Montreal’s fast-becoming known as a leading Canadian tech city, with massive multinational companies moving in and, well, starting up. Which makes Liverpool such an interesting watch: it follows a young woman who, one night, stumbles upon a dark conspiracy, and the only person helping her navigate the criminal underworld is a shady hacker she befriends early on. With comedy and a tinge of romance, this under-appreciated movie is a smart look at Montreal’s dark side.
Vancouver (Every Frame a Painting, Tony Zhou)
Not to cop-out here, but we think Tony Zhou’s insightful video essay on his hometown is worth a watch in its own right. There are plenty of great Canadian films set in this sea-and-sky locale (Beeba Boys! Everything’s Gone Green! The Grey Fox!), but Vancouver Never Plays Itself is a great watch—and filled with tons of local footage!
Toronto (The F Word, Michael Dowse)
Ah, the Six: a stand-in for so many bustling cities like New York, Chicago, and even Tokyo. So what gives? Why not make the Big Smoke into its own character? It seems director Mike Dowse agreed, situating Zoe Kazan and Daniel Radcliffe in familiar places (like right in front of the Royal Cinema, our good friends) and having them fall in love. Romantic comedies—not just for Manhattan anymore!
Halifax (The Trailer Park Boys, Mike Clattenburg)
By now, Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles are some of Canada’s greatest antiheroes (right up there with Ed the Sock and Nardwuar)—and they’ve done a lot to paint a hilarious picture of Halifax, making it clear that the town is decidedly not as sleepy as we might think. While they shoot the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park primarily in Dartmouth, the Boys’ antics finds them up to new nonsense. The verdict? This movie extension of the television universe is tons of fun.
Fort McMurray (Fubar 2, Michael Dowse)
“Tron, funkin’ blow!” If that memorable quote makes no sense, just wait ‘til you get a taste of the delirious mayhem of Fubar 2, which shows a, let’s say, “unique” side of life in Fort McMurray, Alberta, home of the lucrative oil industry (and, sadly, where forest fires rampaged earlier in 2016). There’s a lot of laughs in this one-of-a-kind community—many of them more colourful than we’re used to—but Fubar and Fubar 2 just always make us give’r!
Concrete’s never looked so handsome! Did we forget your favourite city-set films? Let us know on Twitter @CanFilmDay!