Certain Tendencies in Canadian Cinema: Temporary Insanity and the National Tax-shelter Masquerade

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ProQuest, 2007 - 282 pages
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"Certain tendencies in Canadian cinema" refers to gendered national themes of masquerade and madness that appear in all periods of Canadian cultural production. Issues of self-identity and the repressed politics of the Two Solitudes reveal themselves in the coming-of-age genre, family dysfunction, the influence of international auteurs, connections with high culture and homosexuality, naming females in the name of the country, and obsessively repetitive tropes of homoeroticism, blindness and fetishistic amputations. These ideas are nowhere more significantly interwoven than in a period of English-Canadian feature film production of the 1970s and '80s called the Tax-Shelter Era. I call it the "TSE," an acronym for the Toronto Stock Exchange, because many movies were financed as tax-sheltered public offerings. Big-budget productions starring Americans attempted to carve out a place for Canadian film in world cinema by masquerading as American and essaying genres unfamiliar to the traditional Canadian filmmaking lexicon. Distinctively Canadian, or "DC" films, made at the same time and sometimes part of the TSE, were often critically acclaimed as artistic while their TSE cousins were reviled and ostracized. Both sets of films show a story structure I call "Narrativus Interruptus," which exhibits psychoanalytic aspects of rupture that undermine storytelling and genre. Both uncover a multitude of key theoretical issues touching on canon, cultural policy and global politics. Both were government-supported and operated with Canadian cultural, geographical and political specificity. Both illustrate thematic similarities between "popular" and art cinemas and map key relationships among nation, gender and madness. The TSE represents an illuminating case study in film of a performative national masquerade, in which one country dressed as another. In view of globalization and a recent Canadian return to Hollywood North I call the Neo-TSE, it is more possible than ever to rethink the whole tax-shelter movement in transnational terms and to consider how and why a guerilla Canadian cinema could and should make a difference.
  

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Contents

Gimme Tax Shelter The Emergence of the TSE
36
Coming of Age in an Era of Cultural Anxiety
73
Recontextualizing High Culture Madness and Homosexuality
110
Foreign Relations in the Two Solitudes Its All in the Family
138
Women Disguised as Canada Naming the Two Solitudes
180
The Postcolonial Potential of Making the Invisible Visible
214
The NeoTSE Back to the Future
243
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