Docs Opening in Canada this Week (Jan. 26 - Feb. 1)
By Pat Mullen
It’s a busy week documentary-wise at the movies with new releases, Oscar nominees/also-rans, and Canadian films peppering the field. New this week is Christian Tod’s Free Lunch Society, which is a timely study on the utopian ideal of the unconditional basic income to consider as Ontario controversially improves minimum wage rates. Who wins? Who loses? What impact will guaranteed incomes have for societies and the world at large? Tod’s doc asks these and other questions. “Tod elicits a series of impressive contemporary figures who support the idea of a guaranteed income,” Marc Glassman wrote in our review of the film. “All the progressive arguments are made—people aren’t lazy and will continue to work; economic “class” disparity is all about power and is reprehensible; there’s more than enough wealth to created some sort of equality; robots will replace us anyway.” Read the POV review of Free Lunch Society here!
A cult classic receives new consideration in the gripping and provocative doc Midnight Return: The Story of Billy Hayes and Turkey. Toronto-born director Sally Sussman unpacks and interrogates the legacy of Alan Parker’s Midnight Express, which won two Oscars and terrified audiences with its true(ish) story of American Billy Hayes who escaped a violent Turkish prison after receiving an unfairly harsh life sentence for being caught with drugs. The film features interviews with Parker, Hayes, writer Oliver Stone, and other parties involved in the film, and Sussan leads the subjects into a conversation on race and representation. “The range of access yields a rich and insightful discussion on Hollywood’s dramatic licence and the ethics of onscreen representation,” we wrote in our review of the film. “The chorus of white guys rationalizing their use of one-note racist stock characters speaks volumes about the need for greater change and diversity in Hollywood.” Read the POV review of Midnight Return here!
Doc Soup Sundays return to Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema this week with Sam Pollard’s swell music doc Two Trains Runnin’. The film is part Muscle Shoals, part Searching for Sugarman as Pollard chronicles the complementary histories of race and blues in America. The film features interviews with members of two cars pursuing unique but similar quests as they search for missing icons, while a third car travels deep into the south on a collision course with history. “Pollard mixes interviews, archival images, animation, and musical performances to create a piece of living history,” we wrote in our review of the film. “Like many other music docs, Two Trains Runnin’ sees in the power of music the ability to unite people of different races and cultures.” Read the POV review of Two Trains Runnin’ here!
Opening this Week:
Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports, and Me
Dir. Hubert Davis | Canada | 2012 | 44 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Wed, Jan. 31
—>Michael Landsberg and director Hubert Davis will join Rendezvous with Madness program director Geoff Pevere for a post-screening discussion.
Dir. Agnès Varda, JR | France | 90 min.
-Edmonton, AB: Metro Cinema – Sat, Jan. 27 – Sun, Jan. 28; Tues, Jan. 30
-Guelph, ON: Bookshelf Cinema – Sat, Jan. 2t – Thurs, Feb. 1
-Toronto, ON: The Regent – Fri, Jan. 26 – Sun, Jan. 28; Tues, Jan. 30
The Final Year Review 1 | Review 2
Dir. Greg Barker | USA | 89 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, Jan. 26 – Mon, Jan. 29; Thurs, Jan. Feb. 1
-Vancouver, BC: Rio Theatre – Fri, Jan. 26; Sun, Jan. 28
I Am My Own Laboratory
Dir. Oliver Hockenhull | Canada | 45 min.
-Vancouver, BC: Vancity Theatre – Mon, Jan. 29
—>Screens with: Shot on Blood: Kozmikomic Electronica (57 min.)
—>Followed by Q&A with filmmaker Oliver Hockenhull
Dir. Brett Morgen | USA | 90 min.
-Guelph, ON: Bookshelf Cinema – Fri, Jan. 26 – Tues, Jan. 30
-Kingston, ON: The Screening Room – Sun, Jan. 28 – Mon, Jan. 29; Wed, Jan. 31
-Kitchener-Waterloo: Princess Cinemas – Fri, Jan. 26 – Sun, Jan. 28
Letters from Baghdad
Dir. Sabine Krayenbühl, Zeva Oelbaum | UK/France | 92 min.
-Cobourg, ON: Cobourg Loft – Fri, Jan. 26 – Mon, Jan. 29; Thurs, Feb. 1
Living on Soul
Dir. Cory Bailey & Jeff Broadway | USA | 96 min.
-Toronto, ON: The Royal – Fri, Jan. 26 – Sat, Jan. 27
Dir. Matt Embry | Canada | 97 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Mon, Jan. 29
—>Film subject and director Matt Embry will be joined by journalist Anne Kingston (Maclean’s), Health reporter André Picard (The Globe and Mail), and more for a post-screening discussion
Midnight Return: The Story of Billy Hayes and Turkey
Dir. Sally Sussman | USA |
-Toronto, ON: The Royal – Tues, Jan. 30 – Thurs, Feb. 1
—>Director Sally Sussman in attendance
Play Your Gender
Dir. Stephanie Clattenburg | Canada | 70 min.
-Vancouver, BC: Rio Theatre – Sun, Jan. 28
Dir. Stefan Avalos | USA | 104 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Tues, Jan. 30
—>post screening discussion with members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Royal Conservatory of Music’s Performing Arts Division.
The Venerable W.
Dir. Barbet Schroeder | France | 107 min.
-Montreal, QC: Cinema du Parc – Fri, Jan. 26 – Thurs, Feb. 1
Enjoy a week at the movies!