Weird Sex & Snowshoes: and Other Canadian Film Phenomena Paperback – Aug 28 2001
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With Weird Sex & Snowshoes, Vancouver Sun film critic Katherine Monk has written an exhaustive guide to contemporary Canadian cinema. The book includes chapters on First Peoples, immigrant experiences, Margaret Atwood's theories of survival in a harsh natural environment, and (right in the middle, as in any well-structured film narrative) a discussion of sexuality and gender in a cold climate. Scattered throughout the text are profiles of directors, and the book concludes with reviews of 100 films, from Atom Egoyan's The Adjuster to John Greyson's Zero Patience.
Monk's mission to lure multiplex viewers away from the Hollywood blockbuster may be doomed to failure, but as Greyson notes, Canadians "make films for adults, where Americans makes films for 14-year-old boys." Instead of comparing Canadian film to American, as Monk does throughout much of the book, it might be more appropriate look at art films in Britain or France. Additional chapters cover the documentary tradition that gave birth to Canadian film, the contribution of the NFB and a plea for its survival, the workings of government funding, and the effect of Hollywood's use of Canadian location shoots on the film industry. Though perhaps not a book to read cover to cover, Weird Sex & Snowshoes is a good reference work to consult about those videos on the Canadian shelf and for background about the directors who'll be creating new masterworks in the future. --Fran Schechter
From Library Journal
This entertaining and extremely informative book is a wonderful introduction to the vibrant and exciting cinema of Canada. Packed with interviews, essays, and reviews featuring luminaries such as David Cronenberg, Norman Jewison, Denys Arcand, Lea Poo, and Atom Egoyan, it is at once a history, an analysis, and a celebration of Canadian films and filmmakers. Monk, a Vancouver-based arts reporter with a filmmaking background, has put together an eclectic yet comprehensive collection of facts, opinions, and observations that combine to give the reader a thorough grounding in the challenges and triumphs of Canadian filmmakers. She also provides an examination of their approach to the business and art of filmmaking which is fundamentally different, in motivation and practice, from that of mainstream Hollywood. The film reviews and filmographies are of particular use for collection development purposes. Chris Gittings's Canadian National Cinema covers similar terrain but is geared primarily toward academic readers. This lively but substantial work will encourage nonacademics and non-Canadians alike to delve into this fascinating body of work. Highly recommended as an essential purchase for any public or academic library with a film/video collection. Andrea Slonosky, Long Island Univ., New York
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The biggest two problems with the book are the author's insistence on a "victim" identity for Canadians and that this is the only true possible identity for the second-largest country in the world. In that sense, this book strikes me as already a bit outdated, especially since the victim identity mainly exists in opposition to American hegemony (or older British Commonwealth hegemony). The author either ignores (or perhaps is unaware of) filmmakers who see no point in referencing America at all and those who believe in a Canada of multiple, regional identities. If you are looking for those filmmakers, you won't find much about them in this book. However, as a starter textbook on the basic theory and major early Canadian films, this works fine, though it is a bit dull.
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