Docs Opening in Canada this Week (Jan. 27 - Feb. 2)

The River of My Dreams: A Portrait of Gordon Pinsent


By Pat Mullen

Oscar winner Brigitte Berman returns to theatres this week with The River of My Dreams: A Portrait of Gordon Pinsent. (Watch Berman’s Oscar win for Artie Shaw: Time is All You’ve Got here.) The doc offers a lovely profile of Canadian icon Gordon Pinsent as Berman interviews the actor extensively and affords the Away from Her star ample screen time to show his full dramatic range. Sequences of Pinsent performing some of theatre’s greatest monologues are worth the price of admission alone, but the true value of The River of My Dreams is the rare discussion of Canadian national cinema that Berman finds within Pinsent’s story. This doc, which premieres at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema after screening as a nearly-finished work-in-progress at TIFF last fall, offers an essential portrait of the growth of the Canadian film industry and the role that stars play in shaping a national scene. The film doesn’t offer a fully rosy portrait of Pinsent, but this objectivity only helps Berman’s success in showing Pinsent’s invaluable contribution to the history of Canadian film. It’s truly a wonderful film. (Check back soon for the POV interview between Marc Glassman and Brigitte Berman.)


Watch the latest movie trailers on Frontrowcentre.com

Also opening in select cities this week is Peter Raymont’s Lawren Harris doc Where the Universe Sings. This passion project for the director spotlights another Canadian’s invaluable contribution to the arts as it looks at the inspiration behind some of the paintings of the famous Group of Seven artist and the legacy his work leaves behind. POV’s Nancy Lanthier caught up with Raymont prior to the film’s premiere at last year’s Vancouver International Film Festival to chat about Harris’s significance in Canadian culture, the role of actor Steve Martin in reviving some attention to the great artists, and the importance of arts and culture docs in Canada. Read more in the POV interview here.


WHERE THE UNIVERSE SINGS: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris (trailer) from WhitePinePictures on Vimeo.

Finally, doc fans eager to catch up on the recently announced Canadian Screen Award nominees for Best Documentary Feature can check off Zaynê Akyol’s Gulîstan, Land of Roses as it opens in Montreal this week. The NFB doc, which looks at female fighters within the Kurdistan Workers’ Party on a mission to defeat ISIS, has two Screenie nominations for Best Documentary Feature and Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature. Gulîstan is a hit from the recent festival circuit having opened RIDM, and screening to great acclaim at festivals like Hot Docs, Visions du Réel, and Valladolid. (Read the POV review of Gulîstan, Land of Roses here._)

Docs expanding this week include the dance film Reset (check back soon for the POV review) and To the Ends of the Earth.

Docs Opening this Week:

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened
Dir. Lonny Price | USA | 96 min.
-Cobourg, ON: Cobourg Loft – Fri, Jan. 27 – Sat, Jan. 28; Mon, Jan. 30; Wed, Feb. 1
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Sat, Jan. 28 – Thurs, Feb. 2
-Vancouver, BC: Vancity Theatre – Tues, Jan. 31; Thurs, Feb. 2

Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Marquez
Dir. Justin Webster | Spain | 90 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Sun, Jan. 29
—>Includes a post-screening Skype Q&A with director Justin Webster.

Gulîstan, Land of Roses
Dir. Zaynê Akyol | Canada | 88 min.
-Montreal, QC: Cinema du Parc – Fri, Jan. 27 – Thurs, Feb. 2
-Montreal, QC: La Cinémathèque québécoise – Fri, Jan. 27 – Wed, Feb. 1

Reset
Dir. Thierry Demaizière, Alban Teurlai | France | 110 min.
-Calgary, AB: Globe Cinema – Fri, Jan. 27 – Tues, Jan. 31

The River of My Dreams: A Portrait of Gordon Pinsent
Dir. Brigitte Berman | Canada | 104 min.
Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, Jan. 27 – Tues, Jan. 31
—>Gordon Pinsent and filmmaker Brigitte Berman will be in attendance for a Q&A following the screening on Friday, January 27. Brigitte will also participate in post-screening Q&As at both screenings on Saturday, January 28.

The Settlers
Dir. Shimon Dotan | France/Israel/Canada/Germany | 107 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Wed, Feb. 1 – Thurs, Feb. 2
—> Director/writer Shimon Dotan in attendance at all screenings.

The Skyjacker’s Tale
Dir. Jamie Kastner | Canada | 75 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, Jan. 27

Theater of Life
Dir. Peter Svatek | Canada | 94 min.
-Calgary, AB: Globe Cinema – Fri, Jan. 27 – Wed, Feb. 1

To the Ends of the Earth
Dir. David Lavallee | Canada | 90 min.
-Edmonton, AB: Metro Cinema – Tues, Jan. 31

A Todo Colour
Dir. Randy Valdes | Cuba/USA | 86 min.
Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Tues, Jan. 31
—>Includes a post-screening Q&A and a short performance with musicians from the all-female Cuban jazz sextet Jane Bunnett and Maqueque: Jane Bunnett, Melvis Santa and Magdelys Savigne. Moderated by Mervon Mehta, Executive Director of The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Performing Arts Division.

Where the Universe Sings: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris
Dir. Peter Raymont | Canada | 90 min.
-Calgary, AB: Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire – Fri. Jan. 27 – Mon, Jan. 30; Wed. Feb. 1
-Halifax, NS: Cineplex Park Lane – Fri. Jan. 27 – Mon, Jan. 30; Wed. Feb. 1
-Ottawa, ON: South Keys – Fri. Jan. 27 – Thurs, Feb. 2
-Toronto, ON: Cineplex Yonge & Dundas – Fri. Jan. 27 – Thurs, Feb. 2
-Vancouver, BC: The Park – Fri. Jan. 27 – Mon, Jan. 30; Wed. Feb. 1

Retro Screenings:

Ladies and Gentlemen: Mr. Leonard Cohen
Dir. Donald Brittain, Don Owen | Canada | 1965 | 45 min.
-Vancouver, BC: Rio Theatre – Mon, Jan. 30
—>Screens with a selection of short films

The Last Waltz
Dir. Martin Scorsese | USA | 1978 | 117 min.
-Cobourg, ON: Cobourg Loft – Tues, Jan. 31

Pour la suite du monde
Dir. Michel Brault, Pierre Perrault | Canada | 1963 | 105 min.
-Toronto, ON: TIFF Bell Lightbox – Sat, Jan. 28
—>Screening is FREE!

Enjoy a week at the movies!

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