Celebrate Halloween and the Bytowne’s return with avant-guarde horror film Titane

ABOVE: Thanks to Daniel Demois (pictured above) and his partner Andy Willick, the Bytowne’s doors are once again open. (PHOTO: Mckenzie Donovan)

The last two years have been a tough time for local Ottawa businesses. Perhaps one of the most noticeable symbols of the decline of everyday life due to the Covid-19 pandemic was the closing of the doors at Bytowne Cinema.

A Rideau street institution since 1988, the Bytowne showed the artsy, Indie, small budget, and foreign films that often get lauded critically but never see large circulation in North America. The much-loved cinema was one of the only remaining places to catch a movie in Ottawa’s core. But now, thanks to Toronto business partners Daniel Demois and Andy Willick, the Bytown’s doors have reopened. The duo decided to purchase the Rideau Street institution when it went up for sale. Demois knows the Bytowne’s pull with local audiences will keep its doors open.

When asked about the movies the Bytowne plans to screen in the future, and if they’ll keep screening Indie titles, foreign films, and independent productions, Demois responds with confidence, “That is the plan”. In the event that some films do get picked up by cinema franchises, he knows that the Bytowne’s regular crowd will want to catch them there instead.

With October around the corner, Halloween season is upon us, and the Bytowne has some scares and frights planned for those who want to turn away from the cliché Hollywood horror movie.

Screening from October 1st through the 9th is the film Titane. The movie is a body horror film about a woman experiencing a not so human pregnancy, after sustaining a brain injury as a child in a car crash. With a violent crime spree under her belt, she must hide from the authorities. The film is sexually charged and brutally violent. Yet the beautiful cinematography, lighting and fantastic soundtrack make the film so captivating that even as you cringe at what you watch it's hard to take your eyes off the screen. The characters are complex and despite their evil and sadistic actions, one cannot help but almost route for them as they fall further into the abyss.

Titane also captivated the critics at the Cannes Film Festival. It received the Palme d'Or award, making director Julia Ducournau only the second female director ever to win the prize. The film is likely to never get wide circulation in North America due to its graphic content. The Bytowne presents an opportunity to take in a piece of cinema extraordinaire on the big screen for this limited time.

If you can't catch Titane (and you should) other classic horror films will be playing at the Bytowne throughout October, including Nosferatu and The Creature From The Black Lagoon.

When waiting for the movie to start the classic red curtains still cover the screen as they always have, but once they open and the projector flickers to life, it is easy to forget that this Ottawa landmark ever closed in the first place.

Click here to download the Bytown’s October schedule