The Twentieth Century
True North | Future//Present
An incendiary send-up of Canadian identity, history, and politics, Winnipeg-born Matthew Rankin’s insanely brilliant feature debut is a hilariously irreverent, visually stunning retelling of how William Lyon Mackenzie King became Prime Minister - and all the seals he had to club along the way. King seems destined to earn Canada’s crown, but just how much debasement and degradation must an ambitious young politician endure in such a noble pursuit? Quite a lot, it seems. Particularly when the affection of an unattainable woman becomes his priority. Along his epic journey, King will encounter devastating heartbreak, fascistic corruption, hilarious diversions to the outsider cities of Vancouver and Winnipeg, and… kinky boot sniffing.
Visually dazzling, Rankin’s expressionist sets and 16mm aesthetic give the film an artisanal look and feel that place the film out of both contemporary and historical time. Pointedly set at the young country’s entry into the oh-so-civil 1900s, the film calls into question Canada’s conspicuously precious self-image. In its own mischievous myth-making, The Twentieth Century skewers the formation and perpetuation of national narratives.