Let’s get the unsettling movie out of the way first.
Black Cop has certainly been the talk of this Kingston Canadian Film Festival in 2018. It played to two sold out screenings to audiences that found it somewhat unnerving. We were warned when the creator/director, Cory Bowles (Trailer Park Boys) introduced the film, ending with “Enjoy the film” then corrected it to “Enjoy the experience”.
The movie, all shot in Halifax, is about a black policeman who is finding his work as a policeman to be challenging when people of color are in trouble with the law, or accused unfairly of being lawbreakers. At one point when he is off duty, he is “carded” by another cop and treated badly, simply because he is a person of color. He snaps and starts to turn the tables, stopping white people and being abusive and hostile in his interactions with them. This gave our predominantly white audience a feeling for what it would be like to have the shoe on the other foot, to be suspected and abused simply because of your skin color. It was startling to experience and a provocative but very effective way of creating understanding of movements like Black Lives Matter.
Both Bowles and the film’s star, Ronnie Rowe, were at a Q&A after the screening. It was clear that the audience was a bit stunned and needing some time to take it all in and the frank discussion about racial profiling and being a person of color in Canada was both welcome and complimented the film. Everyone should see this film. Don’t watch it alone. You will need a chance to debrief afterward as there is a lot of overwhelming content to process.
The two comedies were both fun but paled in comparison to Black Cop.
Room for Rent, shot in Winnipeg, is about a young man, Mitch Baldwin (played by Mark Little), who won a lottery, blew all the money (and in the process a lot of relationships) and who is now living at home with his parents. When his father (Mark McKinney) loses his job and they think they will have to sell the house the family decides to rent a room to make some money. Enter Carl Lemay (Brett Gellman), an assertive loose canon of a guy who complicates Iife for everyone, particularly Mitch.
Another Kind of Wedding was filmed in Montreal. I loved the familiar locations including the bagel shop where Tara Foods gets their bagels. Kingston was also mentioned by none other than Kathleen Turner. Even though the line was a bit negative “Who would want to spend a week in Kingston?”, the audience loved to be acknowledged on film by this superstar.
Body Heat (1981) is one of my all-time favourite movies and I have always found Kathleen Turner to be “hot”. She is now in her mid-sixties and has put on 50 pounds but she still exudes a sultry, classy, confidence that is oh so sexy. And she is great in this movie as one of the mothers of the groom.
I think the title of this film is unfortunate and not appealing but it has already been changed from Someone Else’s Wedding so I guess the producers are struggling to find a wedding title that has not been taken.
I realized that it takes more to make me like a comedy than a drama. They tend to be shallow and often work too hard to make us laugh. Wedding movie comedies usually follow a pattern – introduction, complications, affairs, family feuds, disruption, and then a sudden turn around where everyone comes out OK in the end. This movie also follows that formula but the characters were all interesting and varied and I think that saved the film for me. I liked it better than Room for Rent and it was a light and pleasant way to spend my Sunday morning.
For each of the films that I mentioned today, I have naturally started with where they were filmed. This is part of the fun of seeing Canadian movies where Canadian cities are presented as themselves, not as a substitute for some American town or New York. It adds a sort of familiarity to the film that increases the appeal for a Canadian audience. Canadian locations do look like home to Canadians. Like our accent or “eh” or “sorry”, we do have a look to our cities and towns that a Canadian can indentify. What fun to spend the weekend watching films that embrace that. Thanks to the KCFF18 for providing this treat.