Last week I went to see Jacques Audriard's De Battre Mon Coeur S'est Arrêté (The Beat That My Heart Skipped). This is a film that won 8 Cesars (the French Oscar) a few weeks ago. It came out in the States last summer and made a bunch of critic's top ten lists. It has a Canadian distributor, and it even played in Montreal for a couple of months. Yet here in Toronto, the great movie-going town, it went straight to DVD and we were lucky to get one theatrical screening of it, during the Cinefranco festival, on a Sunday afternoon. I went, as it was my only chance. It was great but I wondered afterwards why Toronto gets two versions of What The Bleep Do We Know? at the arthouses but no theatrical release of The Beat That My Heart Skipped, not even on a rinky-dink screen at the Carlton.
The other great French film of recent vintage is Arnaud Desplechin's phenomenal Rois et Reine (Kings and Queen) - it is a knockout, so of course it didn't get released in Toronto. Played in the States in the major markets. Played in Montreal. It even showed for a week at the reps in Vancouver. I imported a DVD of it from the US - I was lucky to see it during the 2004 film festival. It didn't play at Cinefranco.
Just to make myself cry, I went to this website to see what films are playing in Paris, the cineaste's capital, just this week. Just a typical week of movie going in Paris. It makes your head swim. Goodbye Dragon Inn, In The Mood For Love, Blacula, the 1968 Planet of the Apes, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Cassavetes' Love Streams, Tarkovsky's Nostalghia, The Brown Bunny, The Saddest Music in the World, Bruce LaBruce's Hustler White, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Claire's Knee, Roman Holiday, Safety Last, Larry Clark's Wassup Rockers, Fellini's Casanova, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Zero De Conduite, Viva Zapata, and yes, Year of the Dragon, amongst over 200 others. Some of these films are playing on, like, a Wednesday at 10:30 in the morning. In fact, I'd wager there are more Canadian films playing on Paris screens this week than in Toronto.
That's it - I'm moving to France.