When the first manned mission to Mars hits turbulence due to personality clashes amongst the crew, the higher-ups devise a high concept solution: create a simulacrum of the spacecraft, stock it with five surrogates who possess the same personalities as the feuding astronauts, and have them re-enact the events occurring light minutes away. And so it is that David (Steve Laplante), a P.E. teacher, achieves an approximation of his childhood dream to journey to the stars. And while he earnestly believes he’s making a difference, it seems far more likely that he’s being made the butt of some cosmic joke. Is it possible to find your purpose when you’ve been stripped of all of your agency?
Marking the long-awaited return of Stéphane Lafleur (Tu dors Nicole), Viking never speculates whether there’s intelligent life on Mars. However, it certainly contends that there’s rampant absurdity here on Earth. To use the parlance of the film, Lafleur’s cast displays “complete commitment to the mission” by dialing into the film’s deadpan wavelengths and mining poignancy from this folly.
Special Mention for Best Canadian Feature Film (Amplify Voices), TIFF 2022
Steve Laplante, Larissa Corriveau, Fabiola N. Aladin, Hamza Haq, Denis Houle, Marie Brassard
In French and English with English subtitles
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Robert Irwin: A Desert of Pure Feeling
No artist instills a sense of sublime awe like the legendary Robert Irwin, Elusive yet down to earth, Irwin is a true original. His extraordinary work is honored in this stunning portrait of one of the most influential contemporary artists of our age.
Veteran director Marco Bellocchio (The Traitor) returns with a passionate historical drama about a Jewish child abducted by Pope Pius IX in 1865 on the grounds that he had been secretly baptized. This is a rich, operatic film that resonates strongly.
The Mother of All Lies
As her parents and grandmother prepare to leave the Casablanca home they have lived in for decades, Asmae El Moudir takes the opportunity to probe the past, unraveling repressed truths buried within her own family and Moroccan political history.
A Cooler Climate
In a recollection of veteran filmmaker James Ivory's unfinished film about Afghanistan. Old footage provides a pronounced air of mystery to compliment its rough beauty, setting the scene for a look back into Ivory's life.
Winner of Cannes Critics' Week Grand Prix, Tiger Stripes is a coming-of-age body horror film set in a Malaysian girls' school. 12-year-old Zaffan’s body starts to change before everyone else’s, and she becomes convinced she's turning into a monster.
Luc Déry, Kim McCraw
Stéphane Lafleur, Eric K. Boulianne
Organ Mood, Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux, Mathieu Charbonneau
Stéphane Lafleur is a filmmaker, musician, and film editor. His first feature film, Continental, un film sans fusil (2007), had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival’s Venice Days section and won the Citytv Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at TIFF. En terrains connus (2011) won the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Berlinale, Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and the Grand Jury Prize at the Taipei Film Festival. Tu dors Nicole (2014), his third feature, premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes and screened at TIFF and other film festivals.
Filmography: Continental, un film sans fusil (2007); En terrains connus (2011); Tu dors Nicole (2014)