Canada turns 150-years-old on Saturday, July 1, and film aficionados have been given two homegrown films to anticipate this historic birthday.
In the Name of All Canadians is an anthology of six documentaries exclusively commissioned by Hot Docs featuring work by Ariel Nasr (The Boxing Girls of Kabul), Patrick Reed (Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr) and a list of other competent documentarians. This collection of films in this multi-thematic experiment is heavy and unavoidable; considering a couple of the topics include racial profiling and the mistreatment towards Indigenous people. However, In the Name of All Canadians maintains a consistent and special personal connection throughout the individual runtimes of each film. Topics are explored effectively, while bite-size transitionary streeter interviews break up the mood with cute humour.
In the Name of All Canadians screens in Toronto days after the television premiere of Canada In A Day, the next chapter in a worldwide series co-produced by Ridley Scott (Alien, The Martian). Just as audiences observed in 2011’s groundbreaking Life In A Day and last year’s barely-released lightweight India in a Day, Canada In A Day projects an intimate narrative assembled from thousands of well-shot videos taking place on September 10, 2016. Audiences watch various routines and surprises from the wee hours of the morning (late-night festivities carried over from the night before and other morning rituals), to mid-day excitement (a cycling trip, meeting a lover’s parents for the first time), to the final minutes before midnight (a vigil for a miscarriage). Canada In A Day is a success by using overlapping discussions to bounce around the country’s beautiful scenery while bringing a diverse country together. Choosing this mindful structure develops the film into something more than an extended selfie.
These two honourable films are good, but they serve separate purposes: Canada In A Day celebrates the unity and beauty of this country, while In the Name of All Canadians provides viewers with reflections and goals for the next 150 years.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie