This year on Wednesday, April 19th, National Canadian Film Day, I will see Sophie Deraspe’s recent film, Antigone, at the Association des francophones des Kootenays Ouest Community Centre, a few blocks from my home. The film is an adaptation of an ancient Greek play by Sophocles. The film, which was the official Canadian submission for International Feature Film at the Oscars in 2019, transposes the historical play to the experience of an Arab immigrant family in Montreal who must face a tragic afternoon and its aftermath. My French is far from perfect; fortunately, the film will be shown with subtitles.
National Canadian Film Day is an annual one-day celebration of Canadian film, encouraging all Canadians to celebrate the incredible achievements of our nation’s filmmakers. As an English speaker growing up in English-majority communities, I learned a bit of French in school, but what really opened me to the possibilities of being bilingual was listening to Radio-Canada, the French CBC service, and watching French-language films. Canada has an AMAZING French-language film industry—talented directors like Léa Pool, Wajdi Mouawad, Kim Nguyen, Robert Lepage, and Manon Briand.
Want to watch a film or two? There are a hundred to choose from in French, English, Inuktitut, and Korean. Many communities are hosting live screenings (including some outside of Canada), and many of the films are available on television, as well as numerous options online.
Happy National Canadian Film Day!
Image: From Antigone, WaZabi Films
Catherine Fisher, blogger