Sep 032012


This is the sixth post in the “The Best Films Set In…” series. The setting can be a place (like Tokyo), a location (like the beach), or a time (like Winter). In these posts I’m going to pick my 5 favourite films that are set in that particular place/location/time and explain why I like them.

In honour of the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival and the recent Possible Worlds Canadian Film Festival,  the location for this group of films is Toronto, Canada.

After the jump, check out my picks for The Best Films Set In…Toronto!


Videodrome (David Cronenberg, 1983)

While I considered The Fly for this list, Cronenberg’s 1983 film Videodrome is the superior film in my opinion.  A cable company programmer discovers a wayward signal that is transmitting something altogether darker and more seedier than their regular adult broadcast. A critique on the media and our consumption of increasingly more violent and obscene material, Videodrome is still relevant almost 30 years on.



Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Edgar Wright, 2010)

When I think about this film the first thing that comes to my mind is the retro video-game beeps and music which plays after Scott defeats each one of the seven evil exes and “clears the level”. This film was colourful, fun and a somewhat different take on the ‘young lonely geek falls in love’ story.



Exotica (Atom Egoyan, 1994)

See the seedier side of Toronto in this erotic psychological thriller from one of Canada’s most unique film-makers, Atom Egoyan. Exotica is a strip club that is a world unto itself. There are nude woman, lonely men and seedy types – but Egoyan wants the audience to look beyond this – to the unsaid words and the unusual connections that bind people together.



Last Night (Don McKellar, 1998)

It’s the turn of the century and the world is set to end in a mere six hours. We follow a group of individuals in Earth’s final hours. What would you do? Who would you want to see? What regrets would you have? I found this to be a very powerful and though-provoking film. Unlike an adrenaline-filled Hollywood-style end of the world, this is a far more subtle affair – sure there is some violence and uprising, but for the most part it is simply people trying to find their own way to deal with the unimaginable.



 I’ve Heard Mermaids Singing (Patricia Rozema, 1987)

I saw this a few years ago, and although I wasn’t sure I liked it at the time, scenes from it are still in my mind after all of these years. Polly is a unique individual who spends much of her time wrapped up in fantasies in her own head. She finds work at an art gallery where she falls for the owner. Polly loves photography but is forlorn when her work is dismissed. A tale of love, passion and unfulfilled dreams.


That is all for another ‘The Best Films Set In…’. Let me know what you think, and of course make sure to tell me which films I’ve forgotten!

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