Joshua Jackson in "One Week"

One Week” a film by Michael McGowan is the Opening night film for the 4th Possible Worlds Canadian Film Festival. It was introduced by Festival director Mathieu Ravier as a “love letter to Canada”… littered with unique Canadianisms, “roll up the rim” promotions of Tim Horton’s coffee cup, the granduer and mystique of the Stanley cup, Canada’s obsession with statues of big things (which is only equalled to Australia’s – see the Big Banana and Big Cow as our examples) and the bronze statue of Terry Fox which stands proudly as the symbol of determination and passion which is a steadfast fixture in the minds of all Canadians.

It is this love of their country- the vast, impressive Canadian landscape and the distinctive and unique provincial identities of Canadians which speaks loudly in this simple story of love, and the search for meaning and purpose in a transient world.

A timeless story which reminds us, indeed urges us to live… to question how we live and what we live for and asks us to examine the feeling of being alive. This is not a complex nor highly siphisticated story: but a clear one… one which speaks about the synchronicities and co-incidences of life, of the value of chance meetings, the power of being in “the moment” and the courage it takes to change something in yourlife, that ulitmately comes from yourself.

I am not aware of Joshua Jackson’s previous film work and at some points the script seemed a little over stated and a little clumsy with each of his dilemmas being played out to their entirety- subtext not present- but this could be due to the narrated device of the film as a “story”… easilly forecasted as the book that Ben writes as a result of the road trip… no new ideas there- but as many films , and road trips prove- it is the journey not the destination which is the most important part of experience.

For those who don’t know the story of Terry Fox, it is indeed an inspiring one. He was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) and had his right leg amputated 15 centimetres above the knee when he was 18 years old. Whilst he was in hospital he decided that he would raise money for the Cancer research by embarking on a marathon- to run across Canada starting in Newfoundland. Terry started the run from Newfoundland only to pass away at the age of 22 in Ontario- never completing his journey. However, Terry fox remians to be one of the most significant figures in the Canadian history and has inspired thousands of Canadian’s to complete the journey for him. Over $400 million has been raised worldwide for cancer research through runs held across Canada and the world. And that is a story which is deeply imbedded in this story- and relies quite significantly on the weight of that courage and conviction of that journey to carry the story of Ben Tyler and his journey across Canada.

This may not be the most subtle, nor nuanced films- but it is a message worth hearing- live your life, as one of the characters in the film says “for it passes in a blink of an eye, one moment in diapers the next in depends”.

This festival is largely about cultural exchange- about celebrating Canadian identity and somewhat about vicarious travel. I enjoy this festival because it is a good reminder of what an English Speaking culture can acheive with it’s film industry – acheivements which have little to do with celebrity or Hollywood, or money- acheivements which are cultural and personal. And because of that boldness, the pride Canadians have in their own cinema, I am inspired to be proud of my own country’s cinema and stand by it.

As anyone who has taken a roadtrip knows: sometimes you only know where and what home is, when you are far from it.

More Information about the Possible Worlds- Canadian Film Festival: