Canada had a resurgence of cinematic activity in the 1970s thanks to a generous subsidy program to encourage national filmmaking. The two major Jane Campion’s Sweetie (1989), a tale of sibling rivalry between Sweetie (Geneviève Lemon, left) and Kay (Karen Colston), is one of the most personal films of the New Australian cinema.
filmmakers to emerge from this scheme are completely different in taste and style: the crowd-pleaser Ivan Reit-man, whose comedy horror film Cannibal Girls (1973) was made almost entirely on credit, using the cast members of the long-running Canadian television comedy series SCTV as its principals, and David Cronenberg, maker of violent but deeply introspective films. Where Reitman frankly went for the bottom line and rapidly moved to the United States with such films as Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981), and Ghost Busters (1984), all three starring Bill Murray, Cronenberg’s cerebral horror and suspense films Shivers (1975, co-produced by Reitman), Scanners (1981), The Dead Zone (1983), Dead Ringers (1988), Crash (1996; not to be confused with Paul Haggis’s 2005 film of the same name), eXistenZ (1999), and A History of Violence (2005) created a world of paranoia and uncertainty that was simultaneously seductive and threatening.
Denys Arcand is a significant Canadian filmmaker of the late 1980s through the present, with the satiric Le Déclin de l’empire américain (The Decline of the American Empire, 1986), Jésus de Montréal (Jesus of Montreal, 1989), Amour et restes humains (Love Human Remains, 1993), and Les Invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions, 2003). In addition, the eccentric Atom Egoyan made a series of unsettling low-budget features dealing with themes of sexual obsession, voyeurism, and questions of identity in Speaking Parts (1989), Exotica (1994), The Sweet Hereafter (1997), Felicia’s Journey (1999), and Where the Truth Lies (2005).