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Happy Birthday Canada: Here’s William Shatner singing the Canadian National Anthem

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It’s Canada Day, when all good Canadians celebrate the birth of their country.

Today marks the anniversary of the unification of three colonies under the name Canada, which came together through the enactment of the British North America Act, on July 1, 1867.

Canada now consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories, and is sometimes overlooked when compared to its noisy neighbor. However, Canada has a fine political system, a publicly funded health care system, was the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage, and has a wealth of incredible cultural talent, from David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan, to Margaret Atwood and Robertson Davies.

Of course, Canada also has the iconic and irrepressible William Shatner. And here is Mr Shatner giving his version of the national anthem “O, Canada”.
 

 
Via Open Culture
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Sucked’: Audience notes from a ‘Videodrome’ test screening

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This was the kind of crap David Cronenberg had to endure from the audience at a test screening of his film Videodrome. Thankfully, Mr Cronenberg and his producers were made of stronger stuff, so they could shrug of such comments as:

“I fail to understand what would be accomplished by releasing such a movie on the public. What sort of person could enjoy it.”


Or:

“I consider myself to be an open minded individual - but I would not accept that such a thing would be captivating to the public.”

Oh really?

See a few more audience comments here.
 
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With thanks to Tara McGinley, via Nerdcore and Criterion
 
More bellyachin’, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
J.G. Ballard’s Crash!  (A Film By Harley Cokeliss)

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And speaking of David Cronenberg...the Canadian wasn’t the first director to take a stab at J.G. Ballard’s novel.  The San Diego-born (but London educated) Harley Cokeliss directed a version of his own in ‘71.

Since Crash, the novel, was still two years down the road, Cokeliss based the film on some fragments found in Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition.  And, perhaps even more suited to the role than James Spader, Ballard himself starred as the film’s lead.  From the Ballardian:

With his brooding, hypermasculine presence, Ballard plays a version of Atrocity’s ‘T’ character alongside the actor Gabrielle Drake, her own role a composite of the book’s archetypal ’sex-kit’ women.  The film was a product of the most experimental, the darkest phase of Ballard’s career.  It was an era of psychological blowback from the sudden, shocking death of his wife in 1964, an era that had produced the cut-up ‘condensed novels’ of Atrocity, plus a series of strange collages and ‘advertisers’ announcements.’

The Ballardian link includes a scene-by-scene description of the hard-to-see short, but, since it’s a recent addition to YouTube, you can start watching it right now below:

 
Crash! Part II

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment
Cronenberg & Burroughs On Naked Making Lunch

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Ah, Criterion!  What with your glorious transfers and generous heapings of bonus material, you make it all too easy to justify the dropping of 30 bucks to secure a copy of, say, Dillinger Is Dead.  Now, though, thanks to YouTube, you can often skip right to the bonus material without paying for the movie. 

Case in point, Naked Making Lunch, director Chris Rodley’s account of David Cronenberg‘s ‘91 effort to bring to the screen William Burroughs‘s Naked Lunch.

Far more than just another “making of,” Naked Making Lunch not only has Burroughs himself chiming in on his “unfilmmable” novel‘s transference to the screen, but it takes the time to go on a number of fascinating detours, none more so, perhaps, than a discussion on the aesthetics of rubber.

 
Naked Making Lunch Part II, III, IV, V

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment