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Delicate Art of Parking


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I saw this mentioned briefly in the Van Film Festival thread, but I thought I'd give it a home here. It's a mocumentary on parking ticket officers, and also has some great bits involving the struggling young filmmakers who make the doc.

Just saw this last night. I can now say I've FINALLY seen a Canadian film I thought was good. Finally. 2 months before I leave this country (and it's sad sad cinema scene) forever, a filmmaker here finally makes me excited.

Anyway, catch this if you can. It's what more Canadian films should aspire to be, and what Telefilm should keep funding. It's witty, cute, observant, and a joy to watch. And it made handheld video actually work, which is crazy in its own right, since it is the most overcooked technique in recent memory.

Also, it was shot in alleyways where I went to film school, and -- from the Avid editing suite window -- watched cars get ticketed and towed all the time. And it has an actress from one of my shorts, so that was nice to see as well. Great girl and a wonderful performer, hopefully she can go on to do much much more.

All in all, cheers to my fellow Canucks. It's about time.

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Where did you see it? I just saw a promo for it on a talk show and it looked fabulous -- it stars Fred Ewanuick from that remarkable new sit-com, Corner Gas, right?

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Might as well re-post what I said in my film fest journal:

- - -

And then, after that, I caught The Delicate Art of Parking (B.C., 87 min.), which happened to be runner-up for the "Most Popular Canadian Film" award. I interviewed writer-director Trent Carlson about five years ago, in connection with a short film he had just made, and he mentioned that he was hoping to make a movie about parking enforcement agents someday; and at last, today, I got to see the film itself, and it's an amusing mockumentary, though it has a few slow patches. One of the main characters is an anal-retentive guy who comes across like a mix of Radar from M*A*S*H and Tobey Maguire in his more uptight roles (maybe because the character is named Graham Parker -- a relative of Peter's, perhaps?), and what was really amusing was that, after the screening, a real-life parking-enforcement retiree got up during the Q&A, took the mic from the producer's hand, and began to go on and on about the virtues of those who hand out parking tickets and the difficulties they face (they get physically assaulted once a year, on average, and they do take the people who assault them to court!), and he sounded just like the more earnest characters in the film -- and you could tell this wasn't planned, because the producer and the actors were all looking at each other wide-eyed and trying to suppress their laughter, and basically wondering, "Who IS this guy!?"

- - -

SoNowThen wrote:

: I can now say I've FINALLY seen a Canadian film I thought was good.

I assume you mean ENGLISH-Canadian. Quite a few Quebecois films have been pretty good. (Or did you not like, say, Jesus of Montreal?)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Fred is great in it.

I think you missed it, Tim. It was playing at the Princess, but I think last night was the final showing.

Dunno about the rest of Canada (it may have already come and gone), or the States for that matter, but I'm telling everyone who'll listen to try and check it out.

Edit: Peter, I'm an avid anti-fan of all that is Canadian art (besides stand-up comics). What Woody Allen might call a self-hating Canadian...

Though I have not seen Jesus Of Montreal yet, Arcand is not a filmmaker that excites me enough to check him out. Maybe someday. I had my fill of French Canadian movies when I tried to get through the "classic" Mon Oncle Antoine. Ugh.

Edited by SoNowThen
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SoNowThen wrote:

: Dunno about the rest of Canada . . .

FWIW, an e-mail I received a couple weeks ago said: "The film opens one week from today (Friday, May 14) at the Cumberland in Toronto, the Globe Cinemas in Winnipeg, the Garneau Theatre in Edmonton, and the Globe Cinemas in Calgary. The film has been playing in Vancouver since April 2 and has been a huge success, so now we're hoping to take on the rest of the country."

I have no idea how long the film will stay in any of those theatres, though I do know it's still playing here in Vancouver for at least another week. Of course, the National Post didn't review the film until mid-May, because we all know that "Canada" is just another word for "Toronto", and no film has REALLY opened in "Canada" until it has opened in The Centre Of The Universe ... Grrrr ...

: I had my fill of French Canadian movies when I tried to get through the "classic"

: Mon Oncle Antoine.

I think I saw that one when it was re-issued a couple years ago, and yeah, it didn't do much for me either. But there's a lot, lot more to Quebecois cinema than that. One film I remember liking was Louis 19, which was later re-made by Ron Howard (badly, of course) as edTV -- everyone thought edTV was capitalizing on The Truman Show, and I guess it might have been in some sense, but BOTH of those films were beaten to the punch by Louis 19.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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