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Last Night

Last Night

Year: 1997
Language: English
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 94 min
Director: Don McKellar
Producer: Niv Fichman, Daniel Iron
Writer: Don McKellar
Cinematographer: Douglas Koch
Editor: Reginald Harkema
Music: Alexina Louie, Alex Pauk
Cast: Tracy Wright, Karen Glave, Robin Gammel, Roberta Maxwell, Trent McMullen, Sandra Oh, Jackie Burroughs, Don McKellar, Sarah Polley, Callum Rennie, Arsinée Khanjian, David Cronenberg, Geneviève Bujold
Production Company: Rhombus Media, Cineplex Odeon Films Canada

Don McKellar burst onto the international stage with his directorial debut Last Night. With wit, poignancy and a stellar cast, the film depicts the final hours in the lives of a group of Torontonians as they await the end of the world and transcends its epic subject matter.

Last Night opens at 6 pm on December 31, 1999 — six hours before the planet will cease to exist. McKellar offers no reason for the impending doom; he simply indicates that it’s coming. Everyone has their own idea of what a perfect last night might be. For Patrick (McKellar), it's abandoning friends and family, going back to his apartment and listening to music by himself. For Patrick's best friend, Craig (Rennie), the end of the world presents an opportunity for nonstop sex (he brings one woman into his home, sleeps with her, then escorts her out before the next arrives). His conquests include a former school teacher (Bujold) and a thirty-something virgin. Patrick's parents (Maxwell, Gammell) spend their last hours at home together, while his sister, Jennifer (Polley), goes out partying. Meanwhile, Sandra (Oh) is having trouble getting home to her husband (Cronenberg). A series of misfortunes befall her, and with the public transportation system abandoned and taxis ignoring fares, her chances of making her way across town look bleak, until she hooks up with Patrick.

Patrick eventually returns home to prepare for his solitary ritual. But, like the others, he will have to submit to fate, whose plans may diverge significantly from his own. He puts on Pete Seeger’s “Guantanamera,” celebrating the spirit of the impassioned Cuban poet and patriot Jose Martí, and, thus, sets the tone for the arrival of the end. At the heart-rending final moment, we watch as the power of the human spirit steals the spotlight from the big event.

Last Night won two Genies and the Prix de la jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, and at the Genie Awards, McKellar received the Claude Jutra Award for best new director.