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From the editor.

Once again Take One has the unique privilege of publishing the Top 10 Best Canadian Films of All Time as compiled by the Toronto International Film Festival Group. The last time we did so was in 1993 (Take One No. 6). Claude Jutra's Mort oncle Antoine remains the most popular choice among those polled (see the complete list starting on page 25), and the list reflects a consistency in choice over three polls. A canon has been firmed up, and Jutra, Donald Shebib, Denys Arcand (who has three in the Top 10), Atom Egoyan (who has three in the Top 20), David Cronenberg, Michel Brault and Francis Mankiewicz constitute a septet of our finest celluloid masters. Add to them the films of Phillip Borsos, Zackarias Kunuk, Ted Kotcheff, Michael Snow, Guy Maddin, Jean Claude Lauzon, Francois Girard and Pierre Perrault, and you have a very rich cinematic heritage.

It's been 20 years since the first poll was conducted in 1984, which, not coincidentally, was the year the festival launched Perspective Canada, its prototypical Canadian programming stream that would have a profound effect on the careers of a huge number of Canadian filmmakers in general and the Toronto new wave in particular. The careers of Atom Egoyan, Don McKellar, Bruce McDonald, John Greyson, Peter Mettler, Patricia Rozema, Ron Mann and many others were made with screenings in what would evolve into one of the most prestigious programs at the festival. The buzz for the opening night--the Friday night screening--was so tremendous, to be chosen was a hotly sought-after privilege. Ironically, Perspective Canada became the victim of its own success when it was announced earlier this year it was being replaced with two new Canadian programming streams, one for first-time features and the other for shorts. Perspective Canada was considered to be ghettoizing Canadian film and the senior filmmakers such as Egoyan, Arcand, Lepage, McKellar, Maddin and Cronenberg wanted more prominent showcases for their in-demand films. Consequently, the festival felt pressured to relax its narrow placement of Canadian features. In 2003, for the first time, there were actually more Canadian films and co-productions screened outside the bounds of Perspective Canada than in the program itself. Clearly the writing was on the wall and the festival has sensibly and relatively quietly dropped the best program it ever created because it had become too successful and therefore, sadly, redundant. RIP.
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Author:Wise, Wyndham
Publication:Take One
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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