Victoria Day

2009 | Canada, USA | color | 82 min

English, Russian, w/ Eng. subtitles
Film Still Image
Coming of Age,
Family Relationships,
Narrative Feature,
North American Jewish Identity,

Archive Details

Screened at SFJFF 2009

Toronto, 1988: As the Victoria Day holiday approaches things are going pretty well for 16-year-old Ben Spektor. The star of his playoff-bound hockey team, he goofs around with a Dazed and Confused cast of pals, counts the days until his musical idol Bob Dylan comes to town and sees surprising signs that the girl he’s silently been eyeing for months might notice his existence. Even the stereotypically turbulent teenage home life is nowhere to be found—Ben bonds with his gruffly charming Russian-emigré father over the excitement of watching Wayne Gretzky in the Stanley Cup Finals while exchanging gentle looks of mockery at his dad’s frequent use of Yiddishisms with his good-humored mom.

A seemingly innocent—albeit uncomfortable—loan of five dollars to his rival sets off an unforeseen chain of events that threatens Ben’s equilibrium. Shaken by the realization that his pocket money may have directly led to a classmate’s disappearance, Ben finds it impossible to continue life as normal. As he almost nostalgically attempts to salvage his blithe, unthinking youth, he is forced to reconcile with the consequences of his actions, and choose between a carefree, self-obsessed existence and a more sober path. With literary grace and a light comedic touch, this Sundance hit manages an insightful investigation of personal identity without forgetting to entertain.
—Ilya Tovbis


David Bezmozgis
David Bezmozgis
David Franco
Roderick Deogrades
Principal Cast
Holly Deveaux, John Mavrogiannis, Mark Rendall
Co-presented by
Kritzer/Ross Émigré Program of the JCCSF, The 79ers, a program of Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco and Young Adult Division