Docs Opening in Canada this Week (Feb. 24 - Mar. 2)

By Pat Mullen

Mark Oscar weekend with the doc that deserves to take home Academy gold. Raoul Peck’s outstanding I am Not Your Negro brings writer James Baldwin back to life in vivid, visceral detail as Samuel L. Jackson reads Baldwin’s work and Peck uses the author’s words to ask why America can’t see beyond divides of colour. There is no doc right now that captures the contemporary pulse of America with greater passion or fury than I am Not Your Negro. It’s a wake up call to the role that we all play in a system that’s survived for far too long. Read the POV review of I am Not Your Negro here.

An Oscar still eludes arthouse auteur David Lynch, but the eccentric mind behind Mulholland Dr. and Blue Velvet receives a fine portrait in the Canadian doc Shadows of Paradise. Director Sebastian Lange profiles Lynch and goes beyond the filmmaker’s world of white picket fences and surreal suburbs to explore his immersion in transcendental meditation. The practice is the true subject of Lange’s doc with Lynch’s relaxation methods offering a prominent strain, and the doc delves into the soothing art of meditation that inspired the director to launch the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. Lange appears at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema for a Q&A and it’s worth exploring how such a serene practice inspires such dark and surreal art. Read more on Shadows of Paradise in this POV feature.

Shadows of Paradise Trailer from Bunbury Films on Vimeo.

Finally, on the Canadian front, TIFF Bell Lightbox hosts a double bill of two essential titles from Canuck history: You Are on Indian Land and Incident at Restigouche. The docs are two landmark titles in the journey towards self-representation for Indigenous filmmakers in this country and the event includes an essential conversation with directors Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell and Alanis Obomsawin that invites audiences to engage with the films and questions that remain highly relevant today. Both You Are on Indian Land and Incident at Restigouche appear in our upcoming retrospective issue on the history of Canadian film, so subscribe today to read more on the docs when POV #105 arrives next month.

Opening this Week:

Bang! The Bert Berns Story
Dir. Brett Berns, Bob Sarles | USA/Ireland/UK | 94 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Wed, Mar. 1 – Thurs, Mar. 2
—>Director Brett Berns in attendance for Q&As at all screenings.

Dying Laughing
Dir. Lloyd Stanton, Paul Toogood | USA | 89 min.
-Toronto, ON: Carlton Cinema – Thurs, Feb. 24 – Mar. 2

Dir. Ceyda Torun | Turkey/USA | 79 min.
-Halifax, NS: Carbon Arc – Fri, Feb. 24
-London, ON: Hyland Cinema – Fri, Feb. 24 – Thurs, Mar. 2
-Toronto, ON: Cineplex Yonge & Dundas – Fri, Feb. 24 – Thurs, Mar. 2
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, Feb. 24 – Sun, Feb. 26; Tues, Feb. 28 – Thurs, Mar. 2
-Victoria, BC: The Vic – Fri, Feb. 24 – Sun. Feb. 26

I am Not Your Negro | Interview with Raoul Peck
Dir. Raoul Peck | USA/France/Belgium/Switzerland | 93 min.
-Edmonton, AB: Metro Cinema – Fri, Feb. 24
-Toronto, ON: TIFF Bell Lightbox – Fri, Feb. 24 – Thurs, Mar. 2
—>Skype Q&A with filmmakers Raoul Peck, Hebert Peck and Rémi Grellety following the 7pm screening on Friday Feb 24.
—>Panel discussion with TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey and guests rapper and songwriter Shad Kabango, Canada’s Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke, and journalist, cultural commentator, and PhD student Huda Hassan
-Vancouver, BC: Vancity Theatre – Fri, Feb. 24 – Thurs, Mar. 2

My Father’s Land
Dir. Zacharias Kunuk & Norman Cohn | Canada | 2014 | 160 min.
-Ottawa, ON: Mayfair Theatre – Thurs, Mar. 2

My Scientology Movie
Dir. John Dowler and Louis Theroux | UK | 100 min.
-Calgary, AB: Globe Cinema – Fri, Feb. 24 – Thurs, Mar. 2
-Toronto, ON: Carlton Cinema – Thurs, Feb. 24 – Mar. 2

Shadows of Paradise
Dir. Sebastian Lange | Canada | 87 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, Feb. 24 – Sun, Feb. 26
—>Director Sebastian Lange in attendance

Retro Screenings:

Incident at Restigouche
Dir. Alanis Obomsawin | Canada | 1984 | 46 min.
—>screens with
You Are on Indian Land
Dir. Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell | Canada | 1969 | 36 min
-Toronto, ON: TIFF Bell Lightbox – Sat, Feb. 25
—>Features a conversation with Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell and Alanis Obomsawin

Dir. Rob Stewart | Canada | 2006 | 89 min.
-Select Cineplex cinemas across Canada – Sat, Feb. 25
—>Screenings are FREE. Guests are encouraged to donate the value of their tickets to WWF Canada in Stewart’s memory.

What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann
Dir. Steven Cantor | USA | 2006 | 80 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Sun, Feb. 26
—>Paul Roth, Director of the Ryerson Image Centre, will be in attendance for a post-screening discussion and Q&A on the work of Sally Mann.

Enjoy a week at the movies!

Visit First Weekend Club for more info on Canadian films opening around the country!