Issue: April 2014 - Controversial Films

The anatomy of a controversial sex scene

When Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac was released earlier this year, it garnered quite a bit of attention because of its sexually explicit nature. The trailer itself is scandalous, let alone the actual movie. While sex scenes in film are not a new phenomenon, Nymphomaniac attracted relatively more controversy because sex is not an accessory in the film — it is the crucial axis upon which the plot revolves. This explicit focus on sex is something that audiences are not used to in non-pornographic films. While Nymphomaniac is not considered as controversial for today’s audience as it would have been...

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Essential Canadian Cinema: The Boys of St. Vincent

The Boys of St. Vincent is a Canadian film about children who are physically and sexually abused at a Catholic orphanage. The film, directed by John N. Smith, is inspired by a real-life events at Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland. Aside from its subject matter, the film was also highly controversial as it was banned from airing in Ontario in 1992. It had the potential for prejudice during the trials of the Brothers who were charged. The Boys of St. Vincent went on to accumulate many prestigious awards and nominations, winning seven of nine Gemini Awards nominations in 1994...

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Interview: Dominic Purcell on A Fighting Man

Films about boxing, boxers, wrestlers or fighters seem to come around and have their moment every couple of years. It’s because the sports-drama is always a sure thing and has yet to tire, but it’s also because audiences relate to the metaphorical fight; the fight to survive, to endure and to succeed. Damian Lee’s A Fighting Man is the story of an aging fighter (played by Dominic Purcell) who is seeking redemption in the ring and in life. I sat down with Purcell and discuss his training for the film, his secret comedic side and what’s next for him....

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Interview with REEL CANADA founders Jack Blum and Sharon Corder on National Canadian Film Day

It often seems like the people who care the least about Canadian cinema are Canadians themselves. Of course that’s not necessarily our fault — mainstream media constantly pushes American product in our faces. Who cares if we make films when the new Marvel movie is coming out next week? Which is why REEL CANADA is a very important thing. Now in its ninth season, this grassroots organization brings Canadian films into Canadian schools, exposing kids to a national cinema that they might have been completely unaware of. After achieving widespread success with that endeavour, they’ve taken on their biggest...

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50 Shades Sexier: How Sexual Content Has Permeated Mainstream Cinema

We like to give credit to Game of Thrones for setting the quota of one sex scene/one full frontal shot per episode, and an increasing number of television shows are following suit. But what an ongoing battle for a kingdom has to do directly to sex is, quite frankly, beyond me. On the other hand, Showtime’s Masters of Sex takes us deeper with an entire show focused on sex studies. We must realize though that this is not a new low we’ve sunken to. Hollywood has been showing flesh for years, dishing out sex under the guise of art,...

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National Canadian Film Day: What We’ll Be Watching

If you’re a Canadian film connoisseur (and let’s face it, you probably are if you’re reading TFS), you may be watching a Canadian film tomorrow as part of your everyday routine. However, many of us will be watching a Canadian film as part of National Canadian Film Day, a new initiative that encourages people to watch Canadian films. The celebration is off to a great start — every province and territory in the country is set to participate, with over 30 communities holding a screening of Canadian films on April 29, 2014. With screenings available at theatres, online, and...

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Gaspar Noé: cinema’s ultimate provocateur

As more directors bend the R rating through graphic stories of sex, violence and sexual violence, it feels like audiences are becoming numb to shock value. Movies that would be tough to stomach 10 years ago are easier to digest. Films that push the boundaries of taste aren’t as common anymore, but that has more to do with our tastes than the directors trying to punch us into submission. However, there is still one director making films both transcendent and numbing. Some praise him as a visionary and innovative stylist, while others are tempted to turn his movies off....

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