The Review/Short Read/

These are the Best Canadian Films of 2018

The Freaks, Firecrackers, and Giant Little Ones that topped our list

by Staff
Dec 5, 2018

TIFF has made it easier to keep your resolution to see more great Canadian films in 2019. Instead of squeezing our Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival into 10 slushy days in January, we’ll be giving our selection of the country’s 10 essential features full theatrical runs at TIFF Bell Lightbox throughout 2019. And we haven’t forgotten about shorts: they’ll screen together in a special Canada’s Top Ten Shorts showcase January 27.

Below is the full list of Canada’s Top Ten of 2018, along with some thoughts on what made them great:

Features

ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch
dirs. Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky (Ontario)

“Extraction, deforestation, pollution ... This documentary entrances us with the ugliness and encourages us to act.”

—Jean-Marc Limoges
Panorama-cinéma, Liberté, Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma (AQCC)



Sgaaway K'uuna (Edge of the Knife)
dirs. Helen Haig-Brown, Gwaai Edenshaw (British Columbia)

“Both visceral and austere, with unexpected dashes of comedy and melodrama, Edge of the Knife may be a significant landmark in the history of Canadian Indigenous film, but it’s also a shit-kicker for a Friday night at the flicks.”

—Tom Charity
Sight and Sound, Cinema Scope, Vancouver Film Critics Circle



Firecrackers
dir. Jasmin Mozaffari (Ontario)

“This highly anticipated feature debut marks the bold arrival of a vital new voice in the vernacular of social-realist auteurs Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay. Mozaffari’s searing drama brims with explosive intensity ... A remarkable testament to what female-driven narratives can be.”

—Danis Goulet
TIFF



The Fireflies Are Gone (La disparition des lucioles)
dir. Sébastien Pilote (Quebec)

“While fantastical in spirit, Pilote’s film embraces a naturalism [as it] showcases the social concerns of Quebec’s Saguenay region ... [his] care in portraying Chicoutimi’s main strip and mountainous suburbs creates a highly relatable sense of collective alienation.”

—Justine Smith
Cult MTL, Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma (AQCC)



Freaks
dirs. Zach Lipovsky, Adam Stein (British Columbia)

“An oblique allegory about refugees, diversity, and fear of difference, Freaks juggles ambiguity and mystery virtually to its last scenes.”

—Steve Gravestock
TIFF



Genesis (Genèse)
dir. Philippe Lesage (Quebec)

“An intimate, quietly transgressive, and unsettling portrait of desire.”

—Justine Smith
Cult MTL, Association québécoise des critiques de cinéma (AQCC)



Giant Little Ones
dir. Keith Behrman (Ontario)

“A sensitive and touching look at that point in adolescence when freedom is both intoxicating and terrifying, and feelings are both elegiac and erotic, Giant Little Ones recalls the best scenes in Stéphane Lafleur’s Tu dors Nicole or Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31st.”

—Steve Gravestock
TIFF



MOUTHPIECE
dir. Patricia Rozema (Ontario)

“This adaptation of the play of the same name — originally created by the film’s lead actors/co-writers Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava — is a potent exploration of how women across generations contend with their own socialization. Rozema knots together the thematic threads of her past work — feminist consciousness, the struggle for self-expression — into one of her most vibrant films to date.”

—Danis Goulet
TIFF



Roads in February (Les routes en février)
dir. Katherine Jerkovic (Quebec)

“An evocative slice of life with an assured visual style, and an enthralling debut that firmly establishes Jerkovic as one of Canada’s bright new talents.”

—Danis Goulet
TIFF



What Walaa Wants
dir. Christy Garland (Ontario)

“Shot over six years, with unprecedented access to the Palestinian police academy, Garland’s documentary offers an incisive look at the impacts of systemic oppression on families.”

—Danis Goulet
TIFF




Shorts: Programme 1

Paseo
dir. Matt Hannam (Ontario)

“Sarah Gadon’s stunning performance lends itself perfectly to a richly textured and eerie examination of an alienated woman visiting Barcelona.”

—Lisa Haller
TIFF



Veslemøy's Song
dir. Sofia Bohdanowicz (Ontario)

“As Bohdanowicz’s delightfully wry mix of fact and fiction demonstrates, journeys into the past invariably come with unexpected perils.”

—Jason Anderson
TIFF



My Dead Dad's Porno Tapes
dir. Charlie Tyrell (Ontario)

“Tyrell mixes animation and autobiography in a manner that's both utterly fresh and deeply felt.”

—Jason Anderson
TIFF



Le sujet (The Subject)
dir. Patrick Bouchard (Quebec)

“A visceral and disturbing stop-motion and pixilation animation.”

—Lisa Haller
TIFF



Ikhwène (Brotherhood)
dir. Meryam Joobeur (Quebec)

“Every moment in this wrenching drama is infused with the emotional complexities of a family reunion, and the consequences of past wounds and misunderstanding.”

—Lisa Haller
TIFF




Shorts: Programme 2

Fauve
dir. Jérémy Comte (Quebec)

“Impressively performed, visually stunning.”

—Lisa Haller
TIFF



ALTIPLANO
dir. Malena Szlam (Quebec)

“Szlam upends familiar properties of light, time, form, and colour to transform the Andes into a space both ancient and wholly alien.”

—Jason Anderson
TIFF



Accidence
dirs. Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson (Manitoba)

“A thoroughly Hitchcockian mystery that doubles as a veritable smorgasbord for voyeurs.”

—Jason Anderson
TIFF



Biidaaban (The Dawn Comes)
dir. Amanda Strong (British Columbia)

“Strong’s mesmerizing stop-motion animation intricately weaves together multiple worlds while calling for rebellion.”

—Lisa Haller
TIFF



Les petites vagues (Little Waves)
dir. Ariane Louis-Seize (Quebec)

“A delightfully imaginative, vibrant, and fantastical comedy-drama.”

—Lisa Haller
TIFF