TIFF 2015: My Internship in Canada Review

Contemporary World Cinema

My Internship in Canada is a lighthearted satirical comedy about the often strange and diluted ways in which government works. Steve Guibord (Patrick Huard) is an independent MP in Northern Quebec who becomes the swing vote in the decision on whether or not Canada will go to war in the middle east. With his wife urging him to vote yes, and his daughter insisting he vote against the war, the politician/ ex-hockey player seems incapable of making decision. It’s his young, keen Haitian intern who sees this as an opportunity to put democracy into action, and accompanies Guibord on a road trip to learn what his constituents think of the issue that inevitably gets tied up with multiple issues (aboriginal rights, employment, his own political career, etc).

The film’s biggest achievement is making Canadian politics fun. Director Philippe Falardeau keeps finding interesting ways to convey boring information. One of the ways that this is achieved is by showing things through the eyes of the intern Souverain (or “Sovereign”, according the subtitles) who quickly reveals himself to be a valuable political (and philosophical) text book and clearly relishes every minute of his internship. His enthusiasm in infectious, particularly when periodically relaying events via skype to a growing audience back in Haiti, where his updates become their favourite reality show.

Though French Canadian cinema is largely known for its dramas, such as Falardeu’s Oscar nominated Monsieur Lazhar, My Internship in Canada demonstrates a Quebecois joie de vivre that doesn’t seem to be present in English Canadian filmmaking. If this took place in another province, I can’t help but think it would have come off as jaded, insincere or contrived.

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Screens

TUE SEP 15 6:00 PM Scotiabank Theatre Scotiabank 1
THU SEP 17 12:00 PM Ryerson

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Dork Shelf's TIFF 2015 Guide

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