Education

March Film List

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

With International Women’s Day approaching, inspire the young women (and everyone) in your classroom with this diverse collection of films that place female talent and stories at the forefront.

ANGRY INUK

(85 Min)

We all know about the terrible “brutality” of the Arctic seal hunt — or do we? Turns out there are other sides to this story: it's the story of families that need to be fed, the story of a hunting practice that began centuries ago and the story of a tradition that is central to the economy and food security of Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic. Angry Inuk contains a story that’s over 4,000 years old.

The seal hunt is not exactly a laughing matter, but humour and technical savvy go a long way to debunk certain claims. Wryly tackling both misinformation and aggressive appeals to emotion, Inuk filmmaker Arnaquq-Baril equips herself and her community with the powers of social media — and yes, #sealfies — to reframe a controversial topic as a cultural issue in this 2016 Audience Award–winning Hot Docs hit.

Angry Inuk delivers important information about an issue we tend to think we know everything about, and delivers a powerful emotional punch.”
—Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

ANTIGONE

(109 Min)

In her last year of high school, straight-A student Antigone (Ricci) finds her life suddenly overturned when one of her brothers is murdered by a police officer, while the other is arrested. Having lived in Montreal since arriving as a refugee with her family over a decade ago, Antigone faces a terrible choice. She wants desperately to help her brother in prison, but doing so will put not only her promising future in jeopardy, but also her ability to stay in Canada. As her story becomes a media sensation, Antigone becomes a symbol for a movement of justice, as she makes a decision that will change her life forever.

Despite being based on a tragedy over 2,000 years old, Antigone is an urgent and extremely timely story. It was the official Canadian submission for International Feature Film at the Oscars in 2019.

“An intelligent, moving reworking of Sophocles' tragedy, electrified by a breakout turn from star Nahéma Ricci.” – Jessica Kiang, Variety

THE BREADWINNER

(94 Min)

Parvana (Saara Chaudry) is an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana cuts off her hair and dresses like a boy in order to be able to get a job and help to support her family. Working alongside her friend Shauzia, Parvana discovers a new world of freedom and danger.

With courage and imagination, Parvana draws strength from the fantastical stories she invents, as she embarks on a quest to find her father and reunite her family. The Breadwinner is an inspiring and beautifully animated tale about the power of stories to sustain hope and carry us through dark times.

The Breadwinner has been nominated for 38 international awards, including six Canadian Screen Awards and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

KAYAK TO KLEMTU

(91 Min)

When a prominent Kitasoo/Xai’Xais activist passes away, his 14-year-old niece Ella (Blaney) embarks on a kayak journey to take his ashes home to Klemtu. It’s a race against the clock as Ella tries to make it back in time to give a speech protesting a proposed pipeline that would cross Indigenous land.

Ella is joined by her aunt, cousin and grumpy uncle (Cardinal), as the four paddle with all their might through the Inside Passage and past the shores of the Great Bear Rainforest. Join this family on the adventure of a lifetime that reflects on the importance of protecting our lands for future generations.

Winner of the 2017 imagineNATIVE Audience Choice Award.

MAMAN EST CHEZ LE COIFFEUR (MOMMY IS AT THE HAIRDRESSER’S)

(97 Min)

It's the summer of 1966. The sun is shining and the world is full of possibilities. But for 15-year-old Élise (Fortier), there are issues simmering beneath the surface of her happy family life.

When a shocking discovery drives her mother to leave the family, everyone is stunned. Amid the chaos, Élise decides it's up to her to take matters into her own hands and solve the problems. While her father and two brothers withdraw into their inner world, Élise is not discouraged. Trying to keep her family's troubles a secret, she discovers that no one around her has a life as perfect as it seems at first glance.

A tender and touching story of coming of age in difficult circumstances, Mommy's at the Hairdresser's is a film full of rich, vivid colors that are wonderfully evocative of hot summer days. It's not exactly the summer Élise was expecting, but it will be a summer unlike any other.

MAUDIE

(115 Min)

Maudie is based on the true story of Nova Scotia painter Maud Lewis, who overcame the physical challenge of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to become one of Canada's best known and most loved folk artists.

The fragile but determined Maudie (Sally Hawkins) yearns for independence from her over-protective family and dreams of creating art. When she answers an ad for a housekeeper placed by a reclusive fish seller (Ethan Hawke), she gains more than just the freedom she wanted, as the unlikely pair develops a relationship that is intensely intimate and just as challenging.

A touching and inspiring story about following one's dreams in spite of life's obstacles, Maudie is an absolute charmer.

"Maudie breaks your heart with its infectious positivity." – Tomris Laffly, Time Out

MEDITATION PARK

(94 Min)

Meditation Park opens with Maria (Cheng Pei Pei), the matriarch of a Chinese-Canadian family, hosting a birthday celebration for her workaholic husband, Bing, (Tzi Ma), along with her similarly overworked daughter (Sandra Oh in a brilliant performance) and her own family.

Maria clearly reveres Bing and the sacrifices he has made for their family – so when she discovers another woman’s panties in his pocket, she's forced to confront the harsh reality that her world may not be what it seemed.

As Maria wrestles with what to do about her discovery, she befriends a group of local eccentrics and a grumpy neighbour (Don McKellar). Maria’s journey of self-discovery soon teaches her everyone’s lives are more complicated than she has been led to believe.

“Shum mines her favourite theme – immigrant experience in Canada – in what seems at first to be a gentle slice of life but eventually develops a powerful emotional force.” – Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine
 
 

NEW WATERFORD GIRL

(97 Min)

Moonie Pottie (Balaban) is a 15-year-old misfit who will do anything to get out of dreary New Waterford, Nova Scotia. Lou Benzoa (Spencer-Nairn) is a tough girl from the Bronx who couldn’t be happier to be moving to the seaside hamlet.

Lou is as extroverted and impulsive as Moonie is shy and withdrawn, and soon their unlikely friendship starts turning the town upside down. Lou wins over the local girls by punishing their two-timing boyfriends, while Moonie plans a new life in NYC. Hilarious and exuberant, New Waterford Girl paints a touching picture of coming of age in a small town.

The film was nominated for seven Genie Awards.

RUN WOMAN RUN

(100 Min)

Single mother Beck (Hebert) finds her life upended when she faces a health scare and is forced to make big changes to the way she lives. Beck decides to start training for a marathon to prove to herself and her family that she’s able to get back on track.

Guided by the ghost of her ancestor, legendary long distance runner Tom Longboat (Koostachin), she sets out on a journey that is both emotional and inspiring. Told in a lighthearted and charming way, Run Woman Run is a feel-good anti-rom-com about a woman who has to tackle the ghosts of her past before she can run toward a better future. Winner of the Audience Choice Award and Moon Jury Prize at imagineNATIVE.

“It’s one of the year’s best” – Alex Heeney, Seventh Row

 

SABAH

(86 Min)

Sabah (Khanjian) is a sheltered 40-year-old woman who lives with her controlling Muslim family in Toronto. While they are a source of love and support, her widowed mother and conservative brother, Majid (Seymour), are also pretty overbearing.

Sabah is frustrated at home with no means of escape. That is, until she meets non-Muslim Stephen (Doyle), who awakens her long-lost desire for independence and romance. Soon, Sabah is having a whirlwind cross-cultural affair that she must hide from her family.

Ruba Nadda’s witty and timely love story breathes new life into a classic tale of family, tradition, cultural difference and love.

WATER

(114 Min)

Set in India during the rise of Mahatma Gandhi, Water recounts the story of Chuyia (Kariyawasam), a child bride. When her husband dies suddenly, Chuyia is forced to live in an ashram for Hindu widows, essentially cut off from society.

Fortunately, she finds friends in the beautiful Kilyani (Ray) and in the forward-thinking Narayan (Abraham). With their help, Chuyia attempts to escape the confines of her existence. Boasting lush visuals, Water could easily be a bleak story of deprivation and loss, but in Mehta’s gentle hands, it becomes one charged with hope and optimism.

Water was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

WINDOW HORSES

(88 Min)

This extraordinary animated feature tells the tale of Rosie, a young Canadian poet of Chinese and Persian descent. Rosie lives in Vancouver with her Chinese grandparents and dreams of travelling and seeing the world. 

When she receives an invitation to a poetry festival in Shiraz, Iran, Rosie embarks on a journey that unravels a personal mystery and brings her closer to her Persian roots. 

Voiced by an all-star cast including Sandra Oh, Elliot Page and Don McKellar, Window Horses is a beautiful and poignant story about family, imagination, culture and finding your own voice. 

"This is not just a visual treat, it's a rewarding and unexpectedly engrossing piece of female-led storytelling." – Wendy Ide, Screen International 

THE WORLD BEFORE HER

(90 Min)

Ruhi Singh is on her way to Bombay to participate in an intense beauty boot camp as a contestant in the Miss India pageant, a surefire launching pad to fame in a country of 1.2 billion people. 

Meanwhile, just a few hours away, Prachi Trivedi works at a very different kind of camp – one run by a militant Hindu nationalist group, where young girls are trained to combat western influences. 

Moving between the two camps, this lively and provocative documentary paints a portrait of a nation in transformation. A study in contrasts on the one hand, the film also reveals disturbing similarities in the obstacles that each woman faces as she tries to have an impact on her society.

The World Before Her won Best Canadian Feature at the Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival. 

Francophone Week

This month also includes Francophone Week (La semaine de la francophonie!), and we’ve got an exciting collection of French-language Canadian films to help you celebrate. Whether you’re teaching French immersion, core French, or just want to mix things up in your English-language classroom – bon visionnement!

L’ARRACHEUSE DE TEMPS (THE TIME THIEF)

(105 Min)

In this quirky tale full of magic and wonder, the small town of Saint-Élie-de-Caxton decides to eliminate death once and for all. When the character of Death arrives in their village seemingly determined to take their souls, the extraordinary townsfolk decide to fight against their mortality as best as they can. In this story, death is not an end, but just the beginning of a fantastic legend.

 

Based on the acclaimed novel by Fred Pellerin, L’Arracheuse de temps was a box office success and received 5 Canadian Screen Award nominations, including for Pellerin’s screenplay.

MON CIRQUE À MOI

(105 Min)

Alors que certains enfants sont tentés de s’en fuir avec les gens du cirque, Laura (Jasmine Lemée), une jeune fille d’une région rurale du Québec, suit son père, un clown de profession, en tournée depuis son enfance et est désespérée de mener une existence plus conventionnelle. Son père (Patrick Huard) n’arrive pas à comprendre sa fille, croyant qu’on apprend bien davantage sur la route que sur les bacs d’école. Celui qui revendique haut et fort sa liberté et sa différence devra piler sur ses principes s'il veut conserver l'affection et le respect de sa fille unique.

Le premier long métrage de Miryam Bouchard, Mon cirque à moi est un film touchant et hilarant qui plaira à tous et qui célèbre la force de la famille sous toutes ses formes.

BON COP BAD COP

(116 Min)

A box-office smash, Bon Cop, Bad Cop is an action-packed comedy about two policemen who are thrown together to solve a crime committed on the border between Quebec and Ontario.

Ward (Feore) and Boucher (Huard) couldn’t be more different: one is an English-speaker from Toronto, the other is a French-speaker from Montreal; one never deviates from established procedure, the other is a rebel who refuses to play by the rules. The detectives soon learn that if they are to solve this lurid crime, which is linked to the world of hockey, they need to stop bickering and work together.

With uproarious performances from both leads, Bon Cop, Bad Cop is a genuinely clever take on the buddy-cop genre that will keep you captivated throughout.

LOUIS CYR: L’HOMME LE PLUS FORT DU MONDE (LOUIS CYR)

(123 Min)

In the late 19th century, after years of delighting crowds with astounding feats of strength, Louis Cyr was considered the strongest man in the world. Based on his true story, this charming biopic recounts the many successes, heartbreaks and obstacles — both inside and out of the athletic arena — that Louis (Bertrand) faced on his climb from obscurity to international fame. Louis’ best friend recounts the story to the strongman’s estranged daughter — from Louis’ poverty-stricken childhood through the ups and downs of his circus career — and shares with us the fascinating life of this Quebec hero.

The top-grossing film of the year in Quebec, Louis Cyr won two Canadian Screen Awards and nine Jutra Awards, including Best Film.

MAURICE RICHARD (THE ROCKET)

(124 Min)

The Rocket traces the meteoric rise of hockey legend Maurice Richard (Dupuis), from his humble beginnings as a Montreal machinist during the Depression to star of the Canadiens and the greatest scorer in hockey.

But this is much more than a sports movie. Director Binamé frames the story in a cultural context: It isn’t until Richard, a man of few words, begins to speak his mind about the inequalities and prejudice directed toward French Canadians that he finds his voice.

Many feel that the riots caused by Richard’s suspension in 1955 were the spark that fuelled the Quiet Revolution in Quebec. This hockey blockbuster is chock-full of heart and history.

The Rocket was nominated for 13 Genie Awards and won nine.

MENTEUR (COMPULSIVE LIAR)

(111 Min)

Simon’s friends and family have had enough of his compulsive lying. They try to stage an intervention for him but he refuses to accept that he has a problem. All of that changes when he wakes up to a bizarre reality where all of his lies and excuses have become true. His boss is a raving drunk, his sister-in-law is in love with him and basically everything that could go wrong does.

While everyone around him seems to think this reality is normal, his brother knows the truth and convinces him that the only way that everything can get back to normal is for him to kick his habit for good. The newest comedy from Émile Gaudrault (De Père en Flic), Menteur was a box office smash that is as funny as it is original.

LES PEE-WEE (THE PEE-WEE: THE WINTER THAT CHANGED MY LIFE)

(122 Min)

In this uplifting story, 12-year-old Janeau (Pilon) and his father have moved to a new town after the tragic death of his mother. As they struggle to adjust, Janeau is befriended by Julie (Morel-Michaud), a goalie for the local pee-wee hockey team, The Lynx, who are preparing for a province-wide championship.

Julie immediately sniffs out Janeau’s hockey talent, and eventually convinces her coach to let Janeau join the team, much to the dismay of the team’s current star, Joey (Goulet), and his overbearing father.

This stirring hockey comedy will have audiences cheering for The Lynx as they race to settle their differences — both on and off the ice — before the championship.

Francophone Week (Elementary Schools)

LA COURSE DES TUQUES (RACETIME)

(89 Min)

Racetime is the sequel to the highly successful animated film Snowtime!, which was the highest-grossing film in Canada in 2015.

This fun and action-packed sequel is a wild romp through the trials and tribulations, passionate joys and little victories of childhood. Frankie and Sophie are teaming up for a spectacular sled race through the village, and this time they’ve got some new friends along for the ride, including the mysterious Zac and his musical cousin Charly.

LA MYSTÉRIEUSE MADEMOISELLE C. (THE MYSTERIOUS MISS C.)

(108 Min)

The newest supply teacher at St-Cécile Elementary School, known only as Miss C, is undeniably unusual. This was apparent from the moment she arrives at the school, soaked from head to toe while speaking to a small rock. With her boundless spirit and unparalleled imagination, Miss C. reinvigorates her class of students, and the school as a whole, by encouraging every child to embrace what makes them unique.

Based on the popular children’s book series, The Mysterious Miss C. is a fun and heartwarming story that encourages kids to be positive, to use their imagination and to discover the joy of reading.

AVRIL ET LE MONDE TRUQUÉ (APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD)

(105 Min)

It’s 1941 in an alternative history of Europe, where pollution has ravaged the world and technology has not progressed since the steam engine. A brilliant teenage girl named April (voiced by Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard), who lives on the streets of Paris, has been trying to find her parents, scientists who disappeared while working on a top secret project. Her search lands her deep in a sinister criminal plot. Luckily, she is joined on her adventure by her grandfather, her talking cat Darwin and a mysterious boy named Julius. Together, this band of unlikely heroes might just save the world.

Crafted in stunning animation, this imaginative adventure story will thrill audiences of all ages.

“The movie so teems with delightful detail and has such an exuberant sense of play that it feels entirely fresh” – Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

Transgender Day of Visibility

No Ordinary Man

(80 Min)

Billy Tipton, a 20th Century jazz musician became a trans icon after his death, and his legacy continues to be carried forward by trans artists to this day. Featuring a unique documentary structure, the film uses an audition session for a proposed biopic about Tipton as a jumping off point for a group of contemporary trans artists to explore what Tipton has meant to them, and to share stories about their own lives and experiences.

Also featuring interviews with Tipton’s family, Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt’s remarkable tribute to a misunderstood artist was named one of Canada’s Top 10 in 2020.

"Approaching Tipton’s story with the free hand of an improvised jazz set, No Ordinary Man is an elegant riff on a classic progression that arrives at something transcendent." – Jude Dry, Indiewire

My Prairie Home

(76 Min)

Set against the backdrop of the Canadian Prairies, Alberta-born singer/songwriter Rae Spoon takes us on the musical journey of a trans person’s coming of age in an evangelical household.  

Using interviews, performances and songs, the film traces Spoon’s musical and personal evolution, as the musician shares stories about discovering the truth about oneself and having the courage to live that truth.

"My Prairie Home is melodic, poetic, and beautifully complicated bliss. An utterly beguiling documentary discovery." Glenn Dunks, Film Experience.