Six Canadian Films to (Re)Discover over the Holidays

Women laughing and eating popcorn while watching TV

Even if you don’t enjoy the insanity of the holiday season, no one can resist spending a cozy evening curled up watching a marathon of Christmas movies. This year, swap the American classics for six Canadian productions. They’re every bit as entertaining, and they’ll give you a chance to practise your second official language.

French films

La guerre des tuques (The Dog Who Stopped the War) (in French only)
This is, without question, a cult Canadian Francophonie film. Directed by André Melançon, a Quebecer, and released in 1984, it was a huge success and was distributed in over 125 countries. The story behind the success? Two groups of friends in the Baie-Saint-Paul area spend the holidays building a fort and organizing a snowball fight to end all snowball fights. It is a comedy about friendship and solidarity that young and old alike will enjoy.
Noël Noël (in French only)
This magnificent Christmas story directed by Quebecer Nicola Lemay will appeal to those who have trouble sitting in front of a screen for too long. This 22-minute short film released in 2003 tells the story of Noël Noël, the President, CEO and sole shareholder of Noël Noël International. Although business is good, the rich businessman quickly realizes that money and material things do not buy everything, especially love.
Noël en boîte (Christmas in a box) (in French only)
This is a brand new one! Directed by Jocelyn Forgues, a Franco-Ontarian, Noël en boîte is a 90-minute romantic comedy that was filmed in and around North Bay, Ontario, and is wholly distributed by Franco-Ontarians. The film is about Sophie, a star of the small screen in the United States, who, after being photographed in a somewhat compromising situation, invites the photographer in question to spend Christmas at her aunt’s in Northern Ontario while she secretly plots to get the photographs. The film showcases the talent of the minority official language community in Ontario, and is definitely worth seeing!

English films

Black Christmas
Those who are not keen on cheesy comedies may prefer this horror film released in 1974 and considered the first “slasher” movie ever made. It is not, however, anything like a traditional holiday film. In Ontario, young women are receiving disturbing anonymous telephone calls that are followed by a series of unexplained disappearances. Is the murderer among them? Inspired by a series of real murders in the Westmount neighbourhood of Montréal, Black Christmas is definitely a classic, but it may just give you nightmares. You’ve been warned!
My Dad Is Scrooge
Released in 2014, My Dad Is Scrooge tells the story of Oliver and his sister June. Their holidays are spoiled by their grouchy father, EB, who doesn't like Christmas anymore and spends all his time working. EB takes his children to the Woodsley farm, where he tells the owners that he is foreclosing on their property. To Oliver’s surprise, he is visited in the middle of the night by animals from the farm who convince him to help them get their farm back and make EB believe in the magic of Christmas again. You and your little ones will enjoy spending an evening watching this feature-length film directed by Ontario’s Justin G. Dyck. 
Teach Me to Dance
Released in 1978 and directed by Alberta’s Anne Wheeler, Teach Me to Dance skillfully addresses the topics of cultural communities and integration. This short film tells the story of Lesia, a Ukrainian girl who convinces her Canadian friend, Sarah, to perform a traditional Ukrainian dance with her during their school’s Christmas pageant. Sarah’s father, who is upset that more and more Ukrainians are moving into the area, forbids his daughter to perform in the pageant. This touching story speaks to issues that still resonate today.

Published on Monday, December 17, 2018

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