Docs Opening in Canada this Week (May 18-24)

RBG
Courtesy Mongrel Media


By Pat Mullen

When there is little intelligence and experience to be found in the White House, America needs a smart and strong woman to balance the scales. RBG gives a timely and long overdue profile of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her career-long fight for equality, particularly between genders, in the USA’s civil progress. The film follows her career path fighting for the rights of Americans marginalized by the system and her road to bench. She’s a colourful character worthy of a doc portrait as the film likens her to a truth-telling voice of sanity in the age of Donald Trump. “As the film culminates with Trump’s election and the sharpening of a political landscape marked by divides and populism,” we wrote in our review of the film, “Ginsburg empowers America with words of optimism and inclusion. The film humorously conveys how Ginsburg became a late-blooming meme and pop culture icon by instilling her ideals within the young generations of Americans who dub her the “Notorious RBG” for speaking truth to power.” Read the POV review of RBG here.

Pull a Lady Bird and grab some communion wafers to munch on at Wim Wenders’ latest documentary Pope Francis: A Man of His Word. The doc, which gets an impressively wide opening weekend fresh of its respectable Cannes premiere, sees the great director make a film with his Holiness, Pope Francis. The film offers a humanizing portrait of the religious leader, but he’s not quite as scrappy as Ruth Bader Ginsburg is, particularly since the great Wenders plays softball in this documentary. “When documentary filmmakers or journalists agree to offer no negative opinions in exchange for complete access to a subject, that’s referred to as a ‘deal with the devil’,: writes Marc Glassman in our review of the film. “In exchange for creating a film with absolutely no bite to it, Wenders was able to interview the Pope at length and follow him on some of his glitzy global tours.” Read the POV review of Pope Francis: A Man and His Word here.

Last but not least in this week’s trio of doc portraits is Sara Driver’s film about the early work of influential New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Having grown up in New York during the arts boom of the 1970s, Driver brings intimate knowledge of both her subjects—NYC and Basquiat—to the film. “Boom for Real reminds us of a time when a community existed in downtown Manhattan and could actually sustain itself.,” writes Marc Glassman in our review of the film. “It’s the story of Queen Street West in Toronto and so many cultural scenes around the world that are beloved now, probably because they seem impossible to replicate.” Read the POV review of Boom for Real here.

Opening this Week:

Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Dir. Sara Driver | USA | 78 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Winnipeg, MB: Winnipeg Cinematheque – Sat, May 19 – Sun, May 20

Filmworker
Dir. Tony Zierra | USA | 89 min.
-Ottawa, ON: Mayfair Theatre – Fri, May 18; Sun, May 20; Wed, May 23

Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf
Dir. Thomas Piper | Netherlands/UK | 75 min.
-Vancouver, BC: Vancity Theatre – Sat, May 19 – Mon, May 21

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami Review | Interview
Dir. Sophie Fiennes | UK | 116 min.
-Vancouver, BC: Rio Theatre – Sat, May 19; Mon. May 21; Wed, May 23

Itzhak
Dir. Alison Chernick | USA/Israel | 82 min.
-Toronto, ON: Mt. Pleasant Cinema – Fri, May 18 – Mon, May 21; Wed, May 23
-Vancouver, BC: Rio Theatre – Tues, May 22

Kusama: Infinity
Dir. Heather Lenz | USA | 76 min.
-Calgary, AB: Globe Cinema – Sat, May 18 – Sun, May 19; Tues, May 22 – Wed, May 23
-Toronto, ON: TIFF Lightbox – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Toronto, ON: Mt. Pleasant Cinema – Fri, May 18 – Mon, May 21; Wed, May 23
-Vancouver, BC: Vancity Theatre – Fri, May 18 – Wed, May 23
-Victoria, BC: Cinecenta – Wed, May 23 – Thurs, May 24

Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy
Dir. Thomas Riedelsheimer | UK/Germany | 93 min.
-Kitchener-Waterloo, ON: Princess Cinemas – Fri, May 18 – Sun, May 20

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word
Dir. Wim Wenders | 97 min.
-Calgary, AB: Cineplex Eau Claire – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Edmonton, AB: Princess Cinema – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Kitchener-Waterloo, ON: Princess Twin – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Montreal, QC: Cineplex Forum – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Montreal, QC: Quartier Latin – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Oakville, ON: Cineplex Winston Churchill – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Ottawa, ON: Cineplex Scotiabank – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Scarborough, ON: Eglinton Town Centre – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Ste-Foy, QC: Cineplex Ste-Foy – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Toronto, ON: Cineplex Varsity – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Vancouver, BC: Cineplex International Village – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Vaughan, ON: Cineplex Vaughan – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24

RBG
Dir. Julie Cohen, Betsy West | USA, 97 min.
-Montreal, QC: Cinema du Parc – Mon, May 21
-Toronto, ON: Canada Square – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24
-Toronto, ON: TIFF Lightbox – Fri, May 18 – Thurs, May 24

Enjoy a week at the movies!

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