Due to Noxious Substance Attacks Mississauga Might Miss Out on International Movies


Published June 3, 2016 at 8:22 pm


Sad news, art house film fans.

The harrowing and engaging Palme D’or winning French film Dheepan — a timely and intimate look at a Tamil family’s turbulent adjustment to a violent neighbourhood in France — will likely never be screened at a Mississauga theatre.

According to a recent article in NOW Magazine, it’s unlikely the acclaimed film will make its way to the suburbs where, writer Radheyan Simonpillai points out, a large number of Tamil residents reside. 

Why won’t residents be able to check out the engaging drama at a local theatre? Because of the coordinated pepper spray-like substance attacks that hit three GTA movie theatres back in April when a Tamil movie called Theri was showing. 

Shortly before Dheepan (which had been running at the TIFF Bell Lightbox) was scheduled to hit suburban cinemas, police singled out the screening of Tamil film Theri as a possible motive behind the attacks. The Square One-area Cineplex on Rathburn was targeted, along with a Brampton and a Scarborough location. 

Cineplex cancelled future showings of Theri in the wake of the incident.

As of now, Peel and Toronto police are still investigating the attacks.

While it’s a shame that Cineplex has not shown Theri since, it’s easy to understand their reticence to screen films that could, they fear, provoke more dangerous attacks.

That said, Simonpillai raises an interesting point about large numbers of the Tamil diaspora residing in Mississauga, Brampton, Scarborough and Markham being denied the opportunity to see a relevant and important film at a local theatre. 

Now, people (of all backgrounds and ethnicities, to be fair) who want to see Dheepan will have to travel to Toronto to do it. NOW points out that filmgoers can catch the movie at The Regent. Sadly, the film has finished its run at the Lightbox (which, to be fair, isn’t that much closer to Mississauga than the Regent). 

Although the film probably won’t be shown at a nearby theatre, it’s worth the drive to The6ix. Although its Palme D’orr win was controversial, the film tells a raw and poignant story about family and war. Centered on three people (namely titular character Dheepan, a former Tamil Tiger) who take on fake identities to settle as a “family” of refugees in Paris in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, the film offers a somber, suspenseful and violent look at what happens one when war is exchanged (unknowingly) for another. 

Gritty but simple, the movie examines the intricacies of family, self-preservation, trauma and hope.

It’s a good one and it’s too bad it’s probably not going to make its way here. 

Check it out in TO if you can.




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