Irish/Canadian film 'CANADIAN/IRISH' come to Gem Theatre

Larry Hudema
By Larry Hudema
May 25th, 2017

On Tuesday May 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gem Theatre, Spotlight Films will be presenting the Irish/Canadian film “CANADIAN/IRISH”, based on the life of Nova Scotian folk artist and Canadian art icon Maud Lewis (nee Dowley).

Quoting Chris Knight of the National Post: “This is a painter whose canvas was her life, and whose life was her canvas. “Maudie” is a celebration of both.”

Maud (Sally Hawkins, Godzilla, Blue Jasmine) was born in Nova Scotia in 1903 and suffered from the crippling results of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

After the death of her parents in the late 30s and having been cut adrift when her brother sells the family home, leaving her with nothing, she moves in with her aunt Ida (Gabrielle Rose, The Sweet Hereafter).

There is little common ground with or understanding from her aunt, who disapproves of her smoking, drinking, going to jazz clubs, and wasting her time with paintbrushes that are already hard to hold.

Told she can’t even look after herself, the 34 year old Maudie does what any self-confident, determined icon would do……she seeks a job looking after someone else.

What the reclusive, difficult, rough-hewn and sometimes brutal, Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke, Gattaca, Training Day) wanted when he posted his ad was a “live-in or keep house for a 40 year old bachelor”.

Lewis, the fish monger, who ranked his dogs and chickens above “a crippled-up woman” ends up confronting one of life’s serendipitous moments, Love.

This is a love story between a man struggling to protect himself from pain and Maudie’s deep abiding love for him and her surprising rise to fame as an expressionist folk painter. The tiny house they shared, became her studio……and her canvas.

In the words of David Kaplan of Kaplan vs Kaplan: “It will take five astounding performances to keep Hawkins off Oscar's short list.”

Hawke is no slouch in this flick either. Portraying Lewis, one could easily guess, would’ve presented significant challenges…..especially during the one brutal scene.

“CANADIAN/IRISH”, directed by Irish Aisling Walsh (An Inspector Calls) and written by Sherry White (Rookie Blue) won 8 awards including the Atlantic Film Festival for both Walsh and White; Vancouver International Film Festival and Writers Guild of Canada for Walsh and White respectively. This flick was also nominated for the ACTRA award for Kari Matchett (Covert Affairs) who played Sandra.

Thanks to Maureen and Marius Paquet of the Gem Theatre, Ken Eisner of the Georgia Straight, Wikipedia, and our sponsors and patrons.

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