The Multicultural Society has had to cancel its screening of C.R.A.Z.Y. due to last month’s flooding at the Performing Arts Centre. Instead, it will screen The Fast Runner and The Bitter Ash on April 19 in a double bill at the United Church.
Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner, was filmed in 2001 by Inuit director Zacharias Kunuk. This spell-binding epic is the first-ever feature in the Inuktitut language and was voted one of Canada’s All-Time Top Ten films in 2004 and 2015 polls conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2015, it ranked first.
Based on a centuries-old Inuit legend, Atanarjuat transports viewed to an utterly convincing, meticulously recreated pre-Columbian Inuit world. This mythic, magical tale of tells us of love, jealousy, family rivalry, and revenge. The film’s many laurels include the Camera d’Or for best first feature at Cannes — the first (and, to date, only) Canadian film to be so honoured — and the Genie Award for best picture.
The Bitter Ash was filmed in 1963 and was directed by Larry Kent. At 80 minutes in length it is a landmark in Canadian independent cinema. Kent’s nouvelle vague-style look at the bohemian underground of early-1960s’ Vancouver was practically censored out of existence on its original release due to its frank sexual content.
Bitter Ash focuses on Laurie (Lynn Stewart), a young woman who is tiring of her husband Colin’s (Phillip Brown) literary pretensions — not to mention his refusal to work. The couple’s friends are a motley, aimless group, snotty towards outsiders and convinced of their own greatness, even if no one else is. On the outside looking in is Des (Alan Scarfe), a working-class guy with whom Laurie strikes up a friendship, which soon looks like it may lead to something more.
These two great Canadian films are part of Canada on Screen, the TIFF Film Circuit’s contribution to Canada’s 150th Anniversary Celebration, and are being shown at the Revelstoke United Church, located at the corner of Mackenzie Avenue and Third Street. Admission is free.