Movie Night in Canada: The Cinematheque's The Image Before Us series

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      Welcome back, cineastes, to Movie Night in Canada, our look at obscure, overlooked, or just plain unusual Canadian films.

      For this entry—our first of the new year—instead of finding a film professional to recommend a film title, we're taking a look at a historical film series that'll be screening in the city. 

      Last January, the Cinematheque launched an intriguing series entitled The Image Before Us, which took a look back over some of the highlights and lesser known works from our province's cinematic history.

      Films such as the Hollywood film Secrets of Chinatown (shot in Victoria and set in Vancouver) and The Grey Fox helped viewers consider how the image of British Columbia has been constructed on screen. What is portrayed? And what isn't?

      This year, the series is running one again, and the lineup, curated by Emily Carr University of Art and Design assistant dean Harry Killas, spans the range from wartime propaganda films to a transgender autobiographical documentary.

      Things kick off on Monday (January 18) with a very timely subject.

      The 1965 short CBC documentary "Immigrant Impressions" captures various immigrants talking about what they think about a developing Vancouver in the 1960s.

      It'll be screened with the 1941 NFB documentary short "Warclouds in the Pacific" that focuses on Japan's economic and military power and warns of an imminent Japanese attack. (Pearl Harbour was bombed a week later after its release.)

      On January 25, local filmmaker Gwen Haworth's 2007 very personal and intimate documentary She's a Boy I Knew tells the story of Haworth's gender transition. Since the film has been made, awareness of transgender issues have grown significantly and Haworth's documentary was part of that shift locally.

      Gwen Haworth's She's A Boy I Knew

      It's followed by Zale Dalen's 1977 urban drama Skip Tracer on February 1.

      If you haven't heard of it, this low-budget film depicts an ambitious debt collector out to win the title of Man of the Year at his company. It's been considered a Canuxploitation classic.

      A much more well-known classic, Sandy Wilson's B.C.–shot My American Cousin, will screen on February 22.

      The film encapsulated the relationship between Canada and the U.S. within a drama starring a young female protagonist growing up in the Okanagan in the 1950s.

      Sandy Wilson's My American Cousin

      Another look at the relationship between Canada and the U.S. is highlighted in Jack Darcus' 1983 drama, Deserters, about American draft dodgers hiding out in Vancouver during the Vietnam War.

      For full details on the series, check out the Cinematheque website. And stay tuned for future Movie Night in Canada entries.