I was blown away by the quality of films shown last weekend at the Reel Canadian Film Festival. Although I was only able to see four of the five films, I was left with a different feeling after each, and was left pondering late into the night.
My eyes were opened to the possibilities of modern cinema when I saw, “It’s only the end of the world”. A family torn by secrets and disputes hits its boiling point when long lost son, Louis, returns home after 12 years on the road as an actor. Important things left untold for years slowly seep out of the woodwork over the course of a family dinner. It brought to the viewer’s attention that Louis has something important to say, although he never gets the opportunity to share it with his family who are too focused on the past to move on. We learn by the end of the film that the important message was the announcement of his death, and through beautiful symbolism we see through the death of a bird that he never got the chance to give a proper goodbye.
An English subtitled French film made in Quebec, “It’s only the end of the world” manages to convey a message through tears, rage, bitterness and death. While some may see it as melodramatic, I saw it as a beautiful cinematic poem about the importance of honesty, love, forgiveness and brotherhood.
It is Canada’s official entry for the 2017 Academy Awards (Oscars), and I can see why.
This was my favourite film of the weekend, however the others were nothing short of amazing.
Another film that caught my attention was Koneline: Our Land Beautiful. In my opinion, it is a revolutionary piece of art that set an example for all Canadian documentarians.
Canada’s lead documentary artists follow several groups of people as they interact with the land of Northern B.C., in Tahltan traditional territory.
A controversial copper mine has been proposed for the area, and through beautiful cinematics, we follow the daily lives of the mine workers, the First Nations people who oppose it, as well as the hunters, trackers and wilderness-seekers who see the land for its many uses.
In just over an hour and a half, the film gives audiences a real-world look into the beauty of the true wilderness, the people that inhabit it, as well as how the land has changed over time. Without taking sides, every angle is shown in some of the best film work I have ever witnessed. This is how a documentary should be.
I feel privileged to have sat through every film I saw, and I’m grateful that Fernie was given the opportunity to see such quality films as this. Best weekend ever? I think yes.