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#36 - Top 100 Canadian Films

In the lead up to the 7th Canadian Film Festival in Australia (August 2012), join us as we countdown the Top 100 Canadian Films of the past 30 years. We'll be posting one film a day leading up to Canada Day on July 1st 2012. Do you agree with our team favourites? Let us know your thoughts!

#36 – Passenger Side

Giving his brother Tobey (Joel Bissonnette), a recovering drug addict, a lift across town is far from how Michael (Adam Scott) had intended to spend his day. And what starts as a simple ride to a job interview becomes an all day commute from one end of L.A to the other and back, meeting and picking up people along the way.

Passenger Side is Matt Bissonnette’s third feature film and, much like Who Loves the Sun (his second feature, which came in at #66 on our countdown), it’s wonderfully dialogue-heavy and focuses on family, relationships and the inherent tensions within them.

What I love about Passenger Side is that it feels very personal, which comes from a number of things, most obviously that the director’s brother plays one of the lead roles, but more than that the writing is so human - the connection between the brothers feels real, sweet, awkward and filled with witty banter.

Their feelings about each other, their family, and their own misgivings all come out over the course of the film and you come to realise that it isn’t just the shady brother who is hiding something - the two are much more similar than they’d like to admit.

So much more than a heavy handed road-trip-as-metaphor-for-emotional-journey, I feel as though Passenger Side is also about how Bissonnette feels about Los Angeles itself, and the music that he really listens to as he drives through it.

Bissonnette uses his skills and the skills of his crew to their full potential to create this heartfelt and dynamic feature, unfolding across the Los Angeles cityscape; it’s an excellent example of just how much you can achieve on a small budget.

Passenger Side was listed as one of Canada’s Top 10 of 2009 at Toronto International Film Festival and screened at Possible Worlds in 2010.

- Karina Libbey

“A thinking man’s Judd Apatow flick…literate, amusing and unexpectedly moving” - L.A. Weekly

To see the other films in the countdown so far, click here.

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