Monday, 5 October 2015

My Internship in Canada

The second film I saw at the Edmonton International Film Festival (I have already seen eleven films in four days) was a huge leap up from Beeba Boys and will probably make my top ten of the year. It’s also a distinctly Canadian film (this time French-Canadian), made by the Philippe Falardeau, the director of Monsieur Lazhar, my third-favourite film of 2012. In English it’s called My Internship in Canada, not the most inspiring choice of titles.

My Internship in Canada is a political satire (I do love good political satires) about Steve Guibord (played by Patrick Huard), a Canadian member of parliament (MP) from central Quebec who is not aligned to any party and suddenly finds himself with the deciding vote in parliament on whether to send Canadian troops into a Middle-Eastern war (on terror?). Pushing for the war effort is a Canadian prime minister clearly meant to represent Stephen Harper.

Under pressure from both sides, Guibord’s vote is made more difficult by the fact that his wife wants him to vote for while his daughter wants him to vote against as well as the coincidental timing of two new events in his life: the sudden unexpected arrival of Souverain (Irdens Exantus), an intern from Haiti with some fairly strong ideas about government, and a blockade by an Indigenous group (protesting logging on Indigenous land) that results in a further blockade by those driving the logging trucks (to put pressure on Guibord to end the Indigenous blockade). 

Sovereign suggests to Guibord that the vote is an opportunity to see true democracy in action by asking the people of his riding how they would want him to vote. It sounds like a good idea until the various players start trying to influence those votes. It’s all quite hilarious and spot-on (for Canadians), with many brilliant observations on Canada’s flawed political system and its current flawed government.

The acting is very good, the cinematography is great, and while (or because) this is a ‘light’ film, it’s one that should be seen by all Canadians. My Internship in Canada gets ****. My mug is up.

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