Windsor International Film Festival: Preview

— by H.G. WATSON —

Windsor, Ontario (the little town with the big casino right across from Detroit, Mich.) plays host to the sixth annual Windsor International Film Festival this weekend.

WIFF, as it’s been dubbed, showcases Canadian and international feature length fiction and documentary films. More than 20 films are hitting the screen at WIFF this weekend, with options for everyone. Need a little help picking which ones to go to? Find everything you need to know about the best films WIFF has to offer here.


Canada’s entry into the 2010 Best Foreign Language Oscar race is the incendiary tale of a Quebecois-Arabic women trying to piece together the broken history of her family. Director Denis Villeneuve has no fear of controversial topics. “Maelström,” Villeneuve’s 2000 film about a women covering up the death of a fisherman, brought him on to the international stage and earned him his first Genie award (the Canadian Oscar) for Best Director. His second came with 2009’s “Polytechnique,” the story of the Montreal Massacre told through the eyes of two of the students who witnessed gunman Marc Lépine murder 14 women at École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989. Could “Incendies” get Villeneuve the Best Foreign Language Oscar he’s been vying for?

Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010 at 7 p.m. (followed by an opening reception)


Marc Hogancamp was a regular American Joe until he was jumped outside of a bar and beaten within an inch of his life. He survived but without a single memory of his old life and with the loss of much of his motor functions. Unable to afford therapy Hogancamp created his own, unorthodox way to deal with his pain. He created a miniaturized version of a European town in the midst of WWII and populated it with dolls, each one representing a person in his life. “Marwencol” is the story of Hogencamp’s journey to recovery through the most unconventional means. The documentary has already won a host of awards including the Grand Jury award at South by Southwest Film Festival for Best Documentary. See IJM’s Bev Questad’s review here.

Friday, Nov. 5, 2010 at 9:30 p.m.

“Best Worst Movie”

When I reviewed “Best Worst Movie” a few weeks ago, I was absolutely charmed by this documentary that chronicles “Troll 2’s” ascent to cult status. Sadly, this is not being shown as a double bill with the so-bad-it’s-awesome movie it’s about, but “Best Worst Movie” is well worth a look for any film fan that likes to indulge themselves in a crappy movie.

Friday, Nov. 5, 2010 at 11:45 p.m.

“The Illusionist”

Forget the lackluster Edward Norton film by the same name. I can tell based on the trailer alone that this French animated feature will be a charmer, and may have a shot at being nominated for Best Animated Feature (whether it has a shot at the Juggernaut “Toy Story 3” is altogether different matter). Directed by Sylvain Chomet, who also directed the award winning “The Triplets of Belleville,” this film is based on a script by famous French comedian Jacques Tati. In “The Illusionist,” a magician tries to find an audience in Scotland and France but struggles against the incoming tide of rock n’roll. One young girl, however, believes that his magic is real and becomes his most ardent follower. The film follows the titular character as he tries to keep up the rouse. Tati wrote the script but never produced it because of unresolved issues with his children whom he drew inspiration for the story from.

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at 5:30 p.m.


“Howl” may be the greatest modern American poem, and like any great work of art it created controversy in its wake. “Howl” chronicles the obscenity trial of author Allen Ginsberg. However, this is no stale courtroom drama. The poem weaves its way through the story, and the film acts as a snapshot of what life was like as a Beat in the fifties. “Howl” is lead by actor James Franco in what critics have said is his finest silver screen performance to date.

Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at 9:50 p.m.


“Trigger,” the film that closes out WIFF, caught my eye because it offers something a little different than the other films. A Canadian feature about two former girl rockers who meet after years apart for a reunion show in Toronto, “Trigger” has a great Canadian cast including Don McKellar and the late Tracy Wright. Stories about rock and roll rarely feature female leads unless they’re the ladies sleeping with the singers, so this story has a rare opportunity to see what its like to be a women and a musician in Canada.

Sunday November 7, 2010 at 7 p.m.

All films screen at the Capitol Theatre, 121 University Ave. West, Windsor, Ont. For the full schedule of films, head to

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