The Bitter Ash Wednesday April 19, 2:30pm
In 1963, a 26-year-old UBC student named Larry Kent wrote and directed the first modern and truly Canadian feature made in Vancouver. Produced for a mere $5000, this stylish, scandalous drama set against the sexual revolution was also, arguably, the first modern English-Canadian feature, predating Donald Owen’s Nobody Waved Goodbye by a year. Kent’s brash film follows the sexual shenanigans of a young man torn between adult responsibility and the freedoms offered by the emerging counterculture. Set to a free jazz score and imbued with New Wave visual energy, The Bitter Ash announced itself as something new and vital in Canadian cinema. A notorious nude scene saw it banned in many locales, but also made it highly popular on Canadian campuses! “A big piece of Canadian and B.C. film history … The Bitter Ash is to Vancouver what La Dolce Vita is to Rome” (Brett Enemark).
ATANARJUAT: The Fast Runner Wednesday April 19, 7:30pm
Based on an ancient Inuit folktale, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) is the first Inuktitut-language feature film ever made. A critically-acclaimed commercial success, it won numerous awards worldwide, including the Camera d’or for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival and five Genie Awards, including Best Screenplay, Best Direction and Best Motion Picture, as well as the Claude Jutra Award (now the Canadian Screen Award for Best First Feature). It is widely considered one of the best Canadian films ever made, and in 2015 was ranked No. 1 of all time in a poll conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival (see Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time).