Being Canadian (DIR. Robert Cohen)
By: Addison Wylie
Comedy writer Robert Cohen hits the road to Vancouver with a documentary crew in Being Canadian, a humorous look at Canadiana. Cohen’s goal is to reclaim Canada’s identity and deconstruct the stereotypes that have long followed Canucks; including igloo assumptions, shabby television programming, adamant politeness, and the country’s overflowing supply of comedy legends.
Cohen’s dry wit and bewildered fascination drives this labour of love (no pun intended) in the right direction. His sense of humour is insightful and entertaining. Though Cohen loves to pose in front of Canadian scenery, his comedic persistence to be on camera never overshadows his content in ways other documentarians have – 20 Dates’ nasally documentarian Myles Berkowitz leaps to mind.
On his travels, Cohen interviewed many Canadian luminaries such as Paul Shaffer, Eugene Levy, Rick Mercer, and Dave Foley (in a hilarious circumstance). Some of these interviews also show how long Cohen has been collecting footage (a shot of the Royal Canadian Air Farce with the late Roger Abbott, talks with the Barenaked Ladies with former member Steven Page in attendance). All of these friendly faces add keen passion to Cohen’s project, especially How I Met Your Mother’s Colbie Smulders and Arrested Development’s Will Arnett. Alex Trebek’s wardrobe adds something else to the production, but I’m still drawing a blank.
Being Canadian is a lightweight delight that matches Canada’s modesty.
Catch Being Canadian at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:
Saturday, April 25 at 9:45 p.m. @ Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Sunday, April 26 at 3:30 p.m. @ Hart House Theatre
Saturday, May 2 at 9:30 p.m. @ Hart House Theatre
The documentary is also available On Demand on Sunday, April 26.
Click here for more festival details and to buy tickets.
Click here to listen to my one-on-one with Robert Cohen.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie