Review: ‘Popcorn with Maple Syrup: Film in Canada from Eh to Zed’

Canuck helmer Peter Rowe brings a light touch to the informative and entertaining "Popcorn With Maple Syrup: Film in Canada from Eh to Zed," a once-over-lightly overview of highs and lows in the history of national cinema. Produced for Canadian telecasting, briskly paced doc should find receptive auds on the global fest circuit.

Canuck helmer Peter Rowe brings a light touch to the informative and entertaining “Popcorn With Maple Syrup: Film in Canada from Eh to Zed,” a once-over-lightly overview of highs and lows in the history of national cinema. Produced for Canadian telecasting, briskly paced doc should find receptive auds on the global fest circuit.

Taking its cue from the tongue-in-cheeky subtitle, pic nimbly skips backward and forward along its timeline while ticking off an alphabetized list of events and individuals. Rundown begins with A for Allen Theatres, the first major Canadian chain; and Denys Arcand, director of 2003 Oscar winner “The Barbarian Invasions” — and proceeds to Z for helmer Zacharias Kunuk (2002’s “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner”). In between, critics, commentators and filmmakers discuss a variety of films and phenomena, everything from Canadian-born “Biograph Girl” Florence Lawrence, the first thesp to receive star billing in a film, to “Warrendale,” Allan King’s groundbreaking 1967 doc about a tough-love treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. Highlights include a “P” segment that pairs two great actresses: icon Mary Pickford and contempo Sarah Polley. Latter clearly empathizes with the silent movie queen’s ambivalence about fans and fame.

Popcorn with Maple Syrup: Film in Canada from Eh to Zed

Canada

Production

A Peter Rowe Prods. production, in association with CBC Radio-Canada. Produced by Peter Rowe. Executive producer: Robert Sherrin. Directed, written by Peter Rowe.

Crew

Camera (DV, color), Richard Leiterman; supervising editor, Ion Webster; editor, Allan Kaye; music, Kaye. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, June 4, 2005. (In WorldFest/Houston Film Festival.) Running time: 111 MIN.
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