The end of the world... Canadian-style
It is six o’clock, New Year’s Eve, when the mankind learns that the end of the world is coming in six hours. Some start praying, others go to a concert and still others choose to have the last supper with their parents. Most display a stoic peace of mind rather than panic. Only knots of teenagers act aggressively, rampaging in the streets, overturning cars, pestering and attacking passers-by.
This is a Canadian answer to the teasing question most of us have probably asked ourselves: What would you do if you knew that tonight was your last night on earth? Released in 1998, Don McKellar’s directorial debut Last Night is one of quite a few end-of-the-world films that appeared shortly before the turn of the millennium. Unlike the cheaply sentimental or melodramatic likes of Armageddon, which focus on the spectacle as it unfolds and the men who are tasked with saving the world, Don McKellar puts the human at the centre of his story, concentrating on how a group of quirky Canadians living in Toronto spend the final hours before an unidentified cataclysm, how they cope when faced with their own mortality.
Even though largely unheard of outside Canada, this intelligent, sombre film, with flashes of sardonic humour and some of the most memorable scenes in the history of cinema, harvested several awards at Canadian film awards galas upon its release and in 2002 it was even voted the best Canadian film of all time by the readers of the Playback magazine. Last Night is a film not to be missed, but to be pondered over and savoured.
Note: The film is going to be screened as part of Canadian Movie Nights on April 14, 2011, at 5.45 p.m. in Room G103. It is in English (possibly with English subtitles).