Examining fourteen Canadian films produced from 1989 to 2007, including Denys Arcand’s Jésus de Montréal (1989), Jean-Claude Lauzon’s Léolo (1992), Mina Shum’s Double Happiness (1994), Clément Virgo’s Rude (1995), and Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg (2007), Film and the City is the first comprehensive study of Canadian film and “urbanity”—the totality of urban culture and life. Drawing on film and urban studies and building upon issues of identity formation in Canadian studies, Melnyk considers how filmmakers, films, and urban audiences experience, represent, and interpret urban spatiality, visuality, and orality.
Film and the City argues that Canadian narrative film of the postmodern period has aided in articulating a new national identity.
Film and the City puts forth a new paradigm for the consideration of Canadian identity in cinema. Contending that earlier models were dependent on a largely rural representation of the nation, Melnyk shows how recent urban films facilitate and showcase a new mode of identity formation and articulation. . . . Through examining specific films and filmmakers with an eye to their locality, and by folding them into a composite constellation that illustrates new ideas of Canadian identity, this text will surely provide a new marker for discussions of this evergreen topic.
William Beard, University of Alberta
Film & the City is published by the Athabasca University Press (September 2013) and available in paperback and ebook.
About the Author
George Melnyk is associate professor in the Department of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary. He has published a number of books on Canadian cinema, including One Hundred Years of Canadian Cinema (2004), Great Canadian Film Directors (2007), The Young, the Restless, and the Dead: Interviews with Canadian Filmmakers (2008), and The Gendered Screen: Canadian Women Filmmakers (2010) in addition to some twenty books in a variety of other cultural fields, including the two-volume Literary History of Alberta.
Melnyk has had a long and distinguished career in the cultural field, beginning with the founding of NeWest Review and NeWest Press in the 1970s, then serving as the Executive Director of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in the 1980s. He has been president of the Writers Guild of Alberta and a member of the national council of the Writers Union of Canada. Beginning with a strong interest in western Canadian regionalism, Melnyk’s work has expanded into new areas of research, first with national topics and most recently with global issues, including Canada’s role in Afghanistan.