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376 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 differences between the American The Big Chill (1983) and the Québécois Le Déclin de l=empire américan (1986), Bart Testa illuminates not only the two films with their different spins on the tradition of social comedy but also the two cultures as well. Most exceptional (to my mind) is George Toles=s account of Léolo. Not only is Toles a professor at the University of Manitoba, but he is also the literary collaborator on the eccentrically inventive cinema of Guy Maddin, including Careful. Toles=s account of Léolo lifts film analysis onto another level, or perhaps restores it to that plane where it used to live before academic priorities insisted upon a greater sobriety of tone. Toles offers a psychoanalytical interpretation of the relationship of memory to imagination as it relates to the young protagonist=s desire to imagine himself as someone different than he is B possibly the desire, in one way or another, of many characters lodged within Canadian cinema. Canada=s Best Features is a splendid anthology, offering a wide range of approaches to a diverse variety of films. Although every essay is informed by a theoretical conscience, the writing rarely allows theory to swallow up the artifact to which it is applied. Both for specialists and for the general reader, the volume offers a good introduction to the achievement of our twin cinemas, along with representative examples of some of the best critical writing available today. (PETER HARCOURT) William Beard and Jerry White, editors. North of Everything: English-Canadian Cinema since 1980 University of Alberta Press. xxiv, 488. $49.95 The University of Alberta looks set to become a focal point for scholarship on Canadian film. First an English professor comes out with Canadian National Cinema, seventh in Routledge=s National Cinemas series. Now two film/media studies professors have edited a hefty anthology of essays on recent Canadian film in English (and two more Alberta academics and a former instructor count among its thirty-two contributors). All the more ironic is it that the film/media studies program has been having trouble finding a resting place in the University of Alberta. William Beard and Jerry White=s anthology does not boast the scope of Christopher Gittings= monograph and seems determined both to defend and regret this choice. The corpus is declared to be English-Canadian cinema from 1980 to the present. This starting point is supported by the observation that single volumes on English-Canadian film have not appeared since Feldman=s Take Two (1984) and Clandfield=s Canadian Film (1987); later they also acknowledge Véronneau=s À la recherche d=une identité (1991)! But the defence seems unnecessary, since many contributors are clearly not bound by the editors= chronology (calling it late twentieth- humanities 377 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 century cinema would have sufficed). They use space constraints to account for omitting studies of television, which is so closely allied with the cinema today, while at the same time acknowledging that many works >for television= are included anyway. Having dropped >Francophone-Canadian= cinema to avoid subsuming Quebec=s distinct film history and culture into a >coherent Canadian national self= (Albertan academics owe it to themselves to be sceptical of Trudeau federalism), they refer to their inclusion of >aboriginal cinema= as >something of a cheat.= A page later they regret not having made this section much bigger. Two pages later, they celebrate the aboriginal cinema as a >third national cinema= (having omitted one of the other two), linking it first to the cinema of other First Nations round the world and then to its EnglishCanadian context to make the case for its inclusion. Documentary cinema receives less attention than narrative cinema because the editors believe the academy moved in the narrative direction as the Canadian fictional film canon unyoked itself from its earlier links to documentary aesthetics (but a large corpus of documentary film is included in the small number of articles that refer to it). They acknowledge that the section on avant-garde cinema does...


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