THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
This hilariously strange, proudly unreliable biopic of former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King is a surprisingly kinky, eye-popping cinematic marvel.
Canadian filmmaker Matthew Rankin’s provocative debut focuses its lens on the story of Canada’s tenth Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King. In Rankin’s bizarro interpretation of events, Prime Ministers are not elected, but chosen through a competition with events like “ribbon cutting” and “baby seal clubbing”” and candidate Mackenzie King (Daniel Beirne) is a petulant, power-hungry dweeb with a secret shoe fetish and unhealthily close relationship with his ill-tempered shut-in mother (played by actor Louis Negin, in delightfully creepy Baby Jane ringlets). When his hopes of victory are foiled by an unexpected rival, he descends into a downward spiral of self-pity and illicit shoe sniffing. One needn’t have a firm background (or any background) in turn-of-the-century Canadian political history to appreciate the absurdist humor or off-kilter visual beauty of The Twentieth Century. Rankin’s fondness for analogue filmmaking techniques and appreciation for obscure historical detail—reminiscent of fellow Canadian Guy Maddin—are evident in every freakish, impeccably crafted frame.
CAST: DANIEL BEIRNE, SARIANNE CORMIER, MIKHAÏL AHOOJA, CATHERINE ST-LAURENT
In Competition: First Feature Award
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