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Take one's 2003 survey of Canadian cinema.

The year 2003 proved to be exceptional for Canadian movies at the domestic box office. In a country where a million at the box office for an indigenous film is a rarity, four films, all by Quebec filmmakers, did more than $5 million in business (according to Playback's annual box-office survey): Charles Biname's Seraphin: Heart of Stone, Jean-Francois Pouliot's Seducing Doctor Lewis, Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions and Emile Gaudreault's Mambo Italiano. Seraphin played Toronto in 2003, but it only did three weeks at the Carlton cinemas, which is typical for a Quebecois film. Seducing Doctor Lewis opens outside of Quebec in the spring, and with any luck it will do better. The Barbarian Invasions is proving to be a domestic and international hit, and an Oscar winner. Mambo Italiano, the only one of the four to be shot in English, has proven to be the biggest English-language Canadian comedy of all time, surpassing the recent Men with Brooms (2002).

Three minority Canadian co-productions dominated the two per cent of screen time allotted to domestic product in the Greater Toronto Area, the largest market in the world for English-Canadian films. Bowling for Columbine, a strong hold-over from 2002, never lacked for an audience and sat in Toronto theatres for seven months. One of the great ironies of 2003 was the closing of Salter Street Films shortly after its founder, Michael Donovan, the film's co-producer, was given an Oscar. Bowling for Columbine is now the most successful documentary ever made, grossing over $50 million worldwide. Richard Kwietniowski's Owning Mahowny, a Canada/U.K. co-production starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, was very popular, as was another Canada/U.K. co-production, The Gospel of John. The Gospel marks the return to film production for Garth Drabinksy, the disgraced theatrical producer who once owned Cineplex.

Of the features that played Toronto in 2003, Take One's Canadian film of the year is David Cronenberg's splendid Spider. Easily his best film since Dead Ringers (1988), Spider features some of the most accomplished acting ever seen in a Canadian film, including an absolutely riveting three-character performance by Miranda Richardson.


A record 48 features were released in the GTA in 2003 and are listed here in descending order of the number of weeks played (in parenthesis) along with with the director. Co-productions and minority co-productions (those not directed by Canadians) are also noted in parenthesis. Those marked with an asterisk indicate a film released in 2002.

Bowling for Columbine,* Michael Moore (31) (Canada/U.S./Germany minority co-pro)

Owning Mahowny, Richard Kwietniowski (13) (Canada/U.K. minority co-pro)

The Gospel of John, Philip Saville (10) (Canada/U.K. minority co-pro)

Mambo Italiano, Emile Gaudreault (10)

Spider, David Cronenberg (9) (Canada/France/U.K. co-pro)

Les Invasions barbares, Denys Arcand (6) (Canada/France co-pro)

Ararat,* Atom Egoyan (5)

Marion Bridge, Wiebke yon Carolsfeld (5)

The Wild Dogs, Thorn Fitzgerald (5)

Flower & Garnet, Keith Behrman (4)

Foolproof, William Phillips (4)

Max, Menno Meyjes (4) (Canada/Germany/Hungary/U.K. minority co-pro)

My Life without Me, Isabel Coixet (4) (Canada/Spain minority co-pro)

Blizzard, LeVar Burton (3) (Canada/U.S. minority co-pro)

Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary, Guy Maddin (3)

The Event, Thorn Fitzgerald (3) (Canada/U.S. co-pro)

Gambling, Gods and LSD, Peter Mettler (3) Love that Boy, Andrea Dorfman (3)

Seraphin: Heart of Stone, Charles Biname (3) S.P.I.T.: Squeegee Punks in Traffic, Daniel Cross (3)

The Statement, Norman Jewison (3) (Canada/U.S./France co-pro)

The Bay of Love and Sorrows, Tim Southam (2)

The Book of Eve, Claude Fournier (2)

Chaos and Desire, Manon Briand (2)

Expecting, Deborah Day (2)

Falling Angels, Scott Smith (2)

The Favourite Game, Bernar Hebert (2) FIX: The Story of an Addicted City, Nettle Wild (2)

Leaving Metropolis, Brad Fraser (2) Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity, Mina Shum (2)

The Nature of Nicholas, Jeff Erbach (2)

Past Perfect, Daniel MacIvor (2)

Prisoner of Paradise, Malcolm Clarke and Stuart Sender (2) (Canada/U.K. co-pro)

Bollywood/Hollywood,* Deepa Mehta (1)

The Burial Society, Nicholas Racz (1)

Crime Spree, Brad Mirman (1) (Canada/U.S./U.K. minority co-pro)

Hurt, Steve DiMarco (1)

Ice Cream, Chocolate & Other Consolations, Julie Hivon (1)

Julie Walking Home, Agnieszka Holland (1) (Canada/Germany/Poland minority co-pro)

Kathryn's Place, B. de Burgh (1)

The Last Round, Joseph Blasioli (1)

The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, Anne Marie Fleming (1)

Le Morals, Kim Nguyen (1)

Moving Malcolm, Benjamin Ratner (1)

A Problem with Fear, Gary Burns (1)

Punch, Guy Benett (1)

So Far Away and Blue, Roy Cross (1), Wyeth Clarkson (1/2)

Toronto International Film Festival's 2003 TOP 10

Selected by a 10--member national panel of filmmakers, festival programmers, journalists and industry professionals. Listed alphabetically with the director in parenthesis.

20 h 17, rue Darling (Bernard Emond) The Corporation (Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott)

Dying at Grace (Allan King)

La Face cachee de la lune (Robert Lepage)

Falling Angels (Scott Smith)

Les Invasions barbares (Denys Arcand)

Love, Sex and Eating the Bones (Sudz Sutherland)

My Life without Me (Isabel Coixet)

On the Corner (Nathaniel Geary)

The Saddest Music in the World (Guy Maddin)

TOP 10 at the Box Office

According to a Playback survey published November 24, 2003 covering the period from November 8, 2002 to November 6, 2003. The box-office figures are expressed in millions in parenthesis.

Seraphin: Heart of Stone ($9.6)

Seducing Doctor Lewis ($7.6)

Los Invasions barbares ($5.9)

Mambo Italiano ($5.1)

Sur le seuil ($1.6)

Gaz Bar Blues ($0.76)

Spider ($0.62)

Pere et fils ($0.6)

Comment ma mere accoucha de moi pendant sa menopause ($0.5)


Les Prix Jutra (Quebec Film Awards)

Picture: Los Invasions barbares (Denise Robert and Daniel Louis)

Director: Denys Arcand, Les Invasions barbares

Screenplay: Denys Arcand, Les Invasions barbares

Actor: Serge Theriault, Gaz Bar Blues

Actress: Marie-Josee Croze, Les Invasions barbares

Supporting Actor: Pierre Collin, Seducing Doctor Lewis

Supporting Actress: Clemence Desroches, Seducing Doctor Lewis

Cinematography: Allen Smith, Seducing Doctor Lewis

Editing: Dominique Fortin, Seducing Doctor Lewis

Sound: Seducing Doctor Lewis

Art Direction: Seducing Doctor Lewis

Costumes: Seducing Doctor Lewis

Make-Up: La" Face cachee de la lune

Musical Score: Gaz Bar Blues

Documentary: A hauteur d'homme; Roger Toupin, epicier variete

Short Film: Mammouth

Animated Short: Bleu comme un coup de feu
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Article Details
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Author:Wise, Wyndham
Publication:Take One
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Previous Article:Lightyear.
Next Article:Beyond the fringe.

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