The Twentieth Century

Eisenstein meets Guy Maddin with a hint of Monty Python in this cheerfully bonkers satire and breathtaking visual treat.

Forget about the life of William Lyon Mackenzie King, who was Canada’s longest-serving prime minister, because this mocked up biopic follows in the footsteps of Guy Maddin and Sergei Eisenstein, with huge sets, painted expressionist backgrounds and vicious Monty Pythonesque humour. It all makes for a breathtaking visual treat and a cheerfully bonkers satire on power, vanity and misguided nationalism.


The premise of this film is as tedious as you can imagine: a biopic of the tenth prime minister of Canada. But this is revisionist cinema at its most exuberant, bending the basic facts and adopting a visual style reminiscent of Guy Maddin (like Matthew Rankin from Winnipeg), with its painted, expressionist backgrounds and the narrow Academy screen format. Using stunning, Metropolis-like sets and dark, Pythonesque humour, the director builds a stinging and cheerfully bonkers satire, not just on Canada, but on power, vanity and a misguided sense of nationalism. The PM’s dominant mother and his fetish for ladies’ boots only add to tearing down Canada’s historic figure.


Type Feature Film
Director Matthew Rankin
Country Canada
Year 2019
Duration 90 min
Spoken languages French, English
Subtitles English
Cast Dan Beirne, Mikhaïl Ahooja, Seán Cullen, Louis Negin


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