HELLO DESTROYER
2016, 110 min, Canada, Dir: Kevan Funk

Kevan Funk’s startling debut feature is an elegant film about the inelegant realities of being a hockey enforcer and literally fighting one’s way to the big leagues. Tyson Burr (Jared Abrahamson, TIFF Rising Star 2016) plays for the minor league Prince George Warriors; in his role as the team’s tough guy, Tyson is expected to protect the more skilled players. Although thoughtful and somewhat shy off the ice, he is told constantly by the team’s coaches that his only route to the professional ranks is by being aggressive on it. When his violent play leads to the serious injury of an opposing player, Tyson suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the team, the league, the community and even his family. An astute critique of the culture of violence inherent in Canada’s national sport, HELLO DESTROYER is also a fascinating drama of identity, masculinity and isolation - if Ingmar Bergman had made a film about hockey, this would be it.


WEIRDOS
2016, 89 min, Canada, Dir: Bruce McDonald

In this offbeat and endearing B&W coming-of-age story set in Nova Scotia during 1976, 15-year-olds Kit (Dylan Authors) and Alice (Julia Sarah Stone) decide to hitchhike out of their tiny hometown to visit Kit’s eccentric, unstable mother (Molly Parker) in faraway Sydney. As romantic tension rears its head between the two platonic pals, this summer trip leads straight to the strange confusions of adulthood. An understated and insightful road movie, WEIRDOS boasts an excellent 1970s soundtrack, an impressive ensemble cast and a dollop or two of magic realism - even Andy Warhol shows up!


NELLY
2016, 101 min, Canada, Dir: Anne Émond

Based on the writings of former sex worker-turned-bestselling novelist Nelly Arcan, this powerhouse drama of sexuality and solitude explores the title character’s blurring of identities as she struggles to make meaning in her life through various personae: confessional writer, expensive escort, glamorous celebrity and wild, libidinous lover. This arresting tale of a brilliant yet troubled woman haunted by her past, her beauty and her uncertain future features a towering performance by Mylène Mackay (TIFF Rising Star 2016) as Nelly.


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