The Twentieth Century | Denver Film Society | Matthew Rankin | Canada

The Twentieth Century

Matthew Rankin

EnglishCanada201990 min

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Overview

“Do more than is your duty; expect less than is your right.” That wry nugget of stoicism is one of the maxims the citizens of Canada supposedly held dear at the turn of the 20th century, along with “Canadians, in happy days as in sad, disappointed shall you be.” Few politicians lived by them with such fervor as Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King—at least as he’s depicted in Matthew Rankin’s off-the-wall parody of a biopic.


If Rankin’s exuberant art direction in The Twentieth Century isn’t influenced by everything from German Expressionist classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to Brazil to Peewee’s Playhouse to the kooky films of fellow Canadian Guy Maddin, it certainly appears to be. The result is a spectacle through and through, capturing the trials and tribulations of King as he strives for glory. Whether he’s paying visits to the tuberculosis-riddled girls at the Hospital for Defective Children, fetching puffin cream for his bedridden battle-ax of a mother, struggling with his footwear fetish, or attempting to best his fellow ministerial candidates in such tests of skill as ribbon cutting and baby-seal clubbing, he’s dreaming all the while of his future in power by the side of Lord Muto’s daughter Ruby. But all is not fair in either love or wartime politics, and King has many hilariously hard lessons to learn about truth, honor, and dignity.

Producer: Ménaïc Raoul, Gabrielle Tougas-Fréchette | Cinematographer: Vincent Biron | Screenwriter: Matthew Rankin
Cast: Dan Beirne, Sarianne Cormier, Catherine St-Laurent, Mikhaïl Ahooja

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