Sun 23 Aug 4.00PM: FEMINIST CLASSIC – The Company of Strangers


FEMINIST CLASSIC: The Company of Strangers + panel discussion with Jane Grant (Older Women in Film group) and Nuala O’Sullivan (Short Hot Flush Film Festival). Chaired by Ashley Catania (formerly of National Film Board of Canada, and film reviewer)

Director: Cynthia Scott / 1990 / Canada / Rating: U / 101 mins

THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS (copyright NFB Canada) 2Multi-award-winning Canadian film with an all-female cast of non-professional actors, by Academy Award-winner Cynthia Scott. Seven elderly women and one young woman on a day trip are stranded in the Canadian countryside when their bus breaks down. With humour and spirit, the women get to know each other and work together in order to survive. Each of the actors tells stories from her own life, blending documentary and fiction, and much of the dialogue is improvised. The women are from varied walks of life, and include a Mohawk elder, a nun and a noted feminist writer. A feel-good film representing a group rarely seen on our screens – older women.

THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS (copyright NFB Canada) 3“Utterly charming film which somehow strikes a perfect feeling of quiet reflection and solitude …. Delightful from beginning to end” (Alison Darren, Lesbian Film Guide, 2000)

The Company of Strangers exposes the diversity of women’s backgrounds and experience, their friendship and resourcefulness” (Rina Rosselson, Older Women in Feature Films, BFI, 2010)

THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS (copyright NFB Canada) 1“In its exclusive concern with old women, The Company of Strangers suggests that the ‘problem’ of age and the agents of ageism have particular relevance for feminists. The perception of age has to be understood as bound to gender” (Angela Stukator, Canada’s Best Features: Critical Essays on 15 Canadian Films, 2002)

Audience Award, Créteil International Women’s Film Festival (1991)
Most Popular Canadian Film Award, Vancouver International Film Festival (1990)
Grand Prize, Mannheim International Film Festival (1990)
Best Director, Durban International Film Festival (1992)
Best Fiction Film, Figueira da Foz International Film Festival (1991)
Alberta Prize for Cinema Innovation, World Media Festival (1991)
Governers’ Achievement Award, Canadian Film Celebration (1991)
Best Achievement in Film Editing, Genie Awards (1991)
Award of Excellence–Leading Role, Atlantic Film Festival (1990)