It’s been a pretty enjoyable experience getting to watch a handful of Canadian films at the Balad Theater these past few days. I hope they’ll get to host another one come next year.
I had heard of most of the films in the past few years while I was in Canada but never got around to actually watching them. Mostly because they never lasted long at the cinema. Probably one of the better ones was last night’s with Chris Landreth’s Oscar winning film Ryan. While the film is an animation done by Landreth (an animator) it is actually a documentary on Ryan Larkin, an Oscar nominated Canadian animator who rose to fame in the late 1960’s an then disappeared.
The whole night was dedicated to Larkin as he had recently passed away from lung cancer on Feb 14th of this year. And if an animator is going to make a documentary about another animator, Larkin is by far an interesting subject. The film really tries to depict how his genius was essentially destroyed by cocaine and alcohol, taking him from a ‘would be’ to a ‘has been’, to a homeless panhandler on the streets of Montreal.
Before the showing of Ryan we got to see a handful of Larkin’s best work including the Oscar nominated “Walking”, which I thought was spectacular given that it was created before a time of sophisticated computer imagery.
Before every Canadian film is shown, a Jordanian short film starts the show. Last night’s film was apparently about a war between Microsoft and Open Source (in Jordan) entitled “The Last Patch”. With all due respect to its creators, it’s probably one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. Ironically on the night before Talaween was shown, which had everyone cracking up and it was followed by a terrible (and tortuously long) Canadian film about Eskimos (just to build on the cliche).
Anyways, I hope they’ll bring the festival back next year.