When I was on exchange last semester, I went to the sunny beaches of the famous French Riviera, which was in full swing for the famous Cannes Film Festival. My friend Harriet and I loved the atmosphere of Cannes. We watched the famous montée des marches, which is celebrities and film industry people in their designer suits and ball gowns ascending the red-carpeted stairs to reach the entrance of the theatre. We walked La Croisette, had a picnic with baguettes and rosé, and watched a Chaplin film on the beach. We loved partaking in the festival in any way. Coming back to Kingston a few months later, I realized I could still do so in my own way. I noticed Captain Fantastic was playing at the Screening Room. These elusive films from such festivals are available and accessible. Movie watchers can, and should, participate in film festivals in their own ways. Film festivals showcase innovative films that haven’t been influenced by Hollywood studios. By watching these films, you can learn about more diverse topics and expand your cinematic knowledge. Here are some film festival circuit films I suggest seeing to get a taste of the creative flavour of the great filming cast and crew behind them.
Don’t be fooled by the superhero title— Captain Fantastic is not a story about a tight-wearing vigilante. Captain Fantastic is a story about the ideals of raising children, growing-up, and family. Viggo Mortensen plays a Walden-esque father whose transcendentalist philosophy has him raising his clan of six kids in the wild. These kids are highly intellectual and impressive beings prepared for everything except the outside world, which they now must face. The film presents an interesting look at how one should grow up in 21st century America. The beautiful scenery and strong performances from the whole cast, as well as the humor, makes the film highly enjoyable. Captain Fantastic has appeared at Sundance and Cannes and is available to watch online.
Juste la Fin du Monde (It’s Only the End of the World)
Canadian Xavier Dolan is at it again with another film masterpiece. The 27-year-old is well known for having directed, starred in, produced, edited, and written numerous festival hits, including J’ai Tué Ma Mère (I Killed My Mother) and Mommy. His most recent film featuring Marion Cotillard, among others, deals with a dysfunctional family. Dolan is an auteur and watching any of his films proves to be a very special experience. While Juste la Fin du Monde has had some mixed reviews from American critics, it did win the prestigious Grand Prix at Cannes. Dolan is putting Canadian cinema on the map and watching one of his films allows us to go along for the ride. Juste la Fin du Monde is currently playing in selected theatres.
La La Land
From the writer-director of Whiplash comes a whimsical musical starring the timeless pairing of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. The film has been getting buzz since its debut at the Venice Film Festival. The pair falls in love through song, although the film is not cliché; it has retro glamour and style for days and presents the musical aspect in an honest way. Essentially, it’s less over-the-top High School Musical and more charming like Singing in the Rain. Coming to theatres this December.