Jan Kadar does CanCon - Lies My Father Told Me (1975)

As happens with most Canadian films produced during the seventies, their eventual DVD release takes decades, and Lies My Father Told Me [M] (1975) finally emerges via Ergo Media.

If you’re counting, that’s 36 years for an Oscar-nominated film with an Oscar-winning director to reach audiences again, after disappearing from circulation, except on TV airings and rare screenings (such as the recent Canadian Open Vault showing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox).

Lies was directed by Jan Kadar (The Shop on Main Street, Adrift), and marks his final feature film before moving into TV. Shot on location in Montreal, the production beautifully captures the spartan courtyard where the relationship between a young boy (newcomer Jeff Lynas) and his devoted grandfather (Yossi Yadin) is discombobulated by a father (Len Birman) hungry for instant financial success.

Set in the 1920s, the film looks authentic, and while Ted Allan’s character of grandfather Zaida isn’t wholly original, the film’s cast is quite strong, particularly Birman, who’s marvelous voice is recognizable to fans of Rocket Robin Hood. Also in the cast is Marilyn Lightone, she of the annoying ‘voice of Bravo’ TV bumpers, who’s also fine as David’s ever-exhausted mum.

Coming soon is a related review of  Adrift (1971), Kadar’s rarely-seen suspense film that’s part experimental, film noir, and erotic thriller mash-up, with come-hither-so-I-can-hurt-you Paula Pritchett as the central temptress Anada.

Now if only someone would release both the TV version & theatrical cuts of Mordecai Richler’s Montreal-set Joshua Then and Now (1985), or better: a restored cut that integrates the profanity from the theatrical (released by Fox) into the longer TV mini-series (broadcast by the CBC).

I know. Legal nightmare. But it does star James Woods & Alan Arkin, for Pete’s sake.

Mark R. Hasan, Editor
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