The Twentieth Century
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    The Twentieth Century

    Directed by



    90 min

    • English


    Toronto, 1899. Aspiring young politician Mackenzie King dreams of becoming the Prime Minister of Canada. But he hesitates in love between a British soldier and a French-Canadian nurse, King furtively indulges a fetishistic obsession that may well be his downfall. In his quest for power, King must gratify the expectations of his imperious Mother, the hawkish fantasies of a war-mongering Governor-General and the utopian idealism of a Québécois mystic before facing the final test of leadership. Culminating in an epic battle between good and evil, King learns that disappointment may be the only way to survive the 20th century.


    • City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film - Toronto IFF
    • Competencia Los Cabos Award - Los Cabos IFF
    • FIPRESCI Jury Award - Berlinale Panorama


    Labels & Line Ups


    Dan Beirne
    Mikhail Ahooja
    Sarianne Cormier
    Catherine St-Laurent
    Brent Skagford
    Matthew Rankin
    Vincent Biron
    Matthew Rankin


    Matthew Rankin’s hilarious and unbridled debut is a national treasure, boasting incredible cinematic compositions and stylized set pieces, while delivering a magnificent burn of Canadian identity politics and manhood.

    Chandler Levack, Globe and Mail

    The Twentieth Century points to a bold new direction for Canadian cinema: one willing to laugh at itself while taking very seriously aesthetic ambition.

    The Film Stage

    Matthew Rankin

    Matthew Rankin


    I try to court disaster as much as I can. With every film I make, I am trying to willfully relaunch the Hindenburg, knowing full well it might explode. This is an oblique strategy and it can be catastrophic, but I find my vocation to be energized by risk.

    Matthew Rankin is the director of multiple short films, three of which were selected at Sundance. His work is marked by the mixing of genres, the use of documentary and historical elements and a particular, lyrical aesthetic. His last short, THE TESLA WORLD LIGHT, selected for the 2017 Cannes Critics Week, is part-biopic of visionary inventor Nikola Tesla and part exuberant, yet perfectly mastered, visual experiment. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (2019) marks his feature film debut; it world-premiered in the Midnight Madness section of Toronto IFF.

    Selected Filmography