Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Twentieth Century Review: A Wonderfully Different And Strange Experience

Dan Beirne	Dan Beirne	...	Mackenzie King Sarianne Cormier	Sarianne Cormier		 Catherine St-Laurent	Catherine St-Laurent	...	Ruby Eliott Mikhaïl Ahooja	Mikhaïl Ahooja	...	Bert Harper Brent Skagford	Brent Skagford	...	Arthur Meighen Seán Cullen	Seán Cullen	...	Lord Muto Louis Negin	Louis Negin	...	Mother Kee Chan	Kee Chan	...	Dr. Milton Wakefield Trevor Anderson	Trevor Anderson	...	Mr. Justice Richardson Emmanuel Schwartz	Emmanuel Schwartz	...	Lady Violet Richard Jutras	Richard Jutras	...	Father Satine Scarlett Montaz	Satine Scarlett Montaz	...	Little Charlotte Charlotte Legault	Charlotte Legault	...	Angel of Britain Marc Ducusin	Marc Ducusin	...	A.A. Heaps Jadyn Malone	Jadyn Malone	...	Smoking Street Child

Release date: November 20, 2020
Running time: 90 minutes
Starring: Dan Beirne, Sarianne Cormier, Catherine St-Laurent
Written and Directed By: Matthew Rankin

Determined to become the leader of the Dominion of Canada, a young W.L. Mackenzie King rises to power.  However, will he be consumed by his vices as he gains the power he desires, or will he rise above it for the glory of the great Dominion of Canada?

The Twentieth Century is a wonderfully strange film.  The movie has an old style and a strange, irreverent humor about it.  The old style is an interesting touch.  It has a 4:3 aspect ratio, a film grain, and an exaggerated technicolor look that makes it feel like a 1960s propaganda film.  And the propaganda style is accentuated by the poorly designed sets and vibrant, stark colors.  But on top of this you also have characters who are very over the top.    

Writer: Matthew Rankin   Produced by  Emmanuel Hessler	...	line producer Menaic Raoul	...	producer (as Ménaïc Raoul) / producer Gabrielle Tougas-Fréchette
But then the humor comes in and you know this film is not a complete 1960s emulation.  The movie's humor is vulgar, strange, and satirical.  It makes fun of dictatorships, politics, people, and traditions.  It is set in Canada and much of the humor feels like a riff on Canadian culture.  I found it very funny and a little weird, but looking in from the outside provides an interesting window into this satire. I would be curious if the humor is more or less enjoyable for someone who is from that country.  The entire movie just feels like a fever dream, but an interesting and enjoyable one.  And much of the enjoyment comes from the over the top characters and the actors that portray them.  Bierne is amazing as King, with a thirst for power, a perfect attitude, and some deep, dark character flaws.  Cormier is likewise wonderful as King's live in nurse who believes in him above all else.  The other candidates vying for power are fun to see, and some of the politicians are so over the top that it makes it quite funny.

And the whole humor style is so out there that you have to appreciate it.  The movie feels like a more vulgar Monty Python, with strange situations and odd, exaggerated character flaws.  You also have some strange but humorous touches, like many of the female characters being played by poorly disguised men.  And often this makes the movie feel like a play.  On top of men playing female roles, the film also has some women who play male roles, and a low technology style to the sets that often feel like they would be right at home on the stage.  And this is doubly so because of the exaggerated acting and delivery of the movie.  But in the end, this is such a unique, strange film that it must be seen to be believed.  Just bring your sense of humor and your tolerance for weirdness.

The Twentieth Century is so wonderfully different and strange that you will laugh and cringe at the odd characters, technicolor style, and biting satire.  

Watch it.

movies satire humor twentieth century monty python canada strange disturbing
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The Twentieth Century is available on virtual cinema and digitally. 

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