Docs Opening in Canada this Week (Oct. 27 - Nov. 2)

Faces Places

By Pat Mullen

Catch this year’s TIFF People’s Choice Award winner for Documentary when the excellent Faces Places (Visages Villages) opens in theatres this week. Faces Places features the oddball couple of 89-year-old filmmaker Agnès Varda and thirtysomething photographer/street artist JR as they join forces and embark on an ambitious street art series. Their gig involves touring the villages of rural France, taking portraits of the local residents and pasting enlarged visages on the buildings of these small towns. At once a road trip and a non-fiction art film, Faces Places is a whimsical masterpiece of documentary filmmaking that pays tribute to the land and its inhabitants by intimately connecting the two. Read the POV review for Faces Places here.

While Faces Places celebrates the visual arts and ways of seeing, California Typewriter pays tribute to the written word and the analogue machines that inscribe our work. This affectionate doc by Doug Nichol might run a bit too long, just like how writing on a typewriter can be more leisurely than working on a laptop, but the film highlights the pleasure in escaping the often overwhelming pressures of the digital world. Are analogue devices something to cling to, or something to save society from an increasingly impersonal and hyper-connected world? The doc offers lots to consider as it clatters away on the keys with interviewees like Tom Hanks, John Mayer, and the late Sam Shepard. Read the POV review of California Typewriter here.

It’s hard to find something nice to say about Vladimir Putin’s time in office, but the Russian leader at least provides a fair bit of fuel for passionate documentary filmmaking. The new doc On Putin’s Blacklist looks at the countless citizens in Russia and around the globe who have had their lives altered by Putin’s repressive regime. The film is especially startling when it raises the concerns about children and Putin’s attack on foreign adoption, leaving orphaned Russians to stay at risk in their home country rather than be adopted by perceived enemies or (gasp!) gays abroad. Director Boris Ivanov, however, finds some encouraging material in the stories of Russians who have found freedom outside their native land. Read the POV review of On Putin’s Blacklist here.

Also of note: Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow expands to Vancouver and Montreal, POV contributor Kevin Nikkel debuts his new doc Tales of the Winnipeg Film Group on home turf at the Winnipeg Cinematheque, and Doc Soup continues at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. (check back soon for a review!)

Opening this Week:

Birth of a Family
Dir. Tasha Hubbard | Canada | 79 min.
-Edmonton, AB: Metro Cinema – Sun, Oct. 29
—>Admission is free with filmmaker in attendance

California Typewriter
Dir. Doug Nichol | USA | 103 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2

Do Donkeys Act?
Dir. David Redmon, Ashley Sabin | UK | 72 min.
-Cobourg, ON: Cobourg Loft – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2 (No Sunday show)

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
Dir. Frederick Wiseman | USA | 195 min.
-Toronto, ON: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema – Fri, Oct. 27 – Sat, Oct. 28; Mon, Oct. 30
-Vancouver, BC: Vancity Theatre – Wed, Nov. 1

Faces Places
Dir. Agnès Varda, JR | France | 90 min.
-Montreal, QC: Cinema Beaubien – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2
-Montreal, QC: Cineplex Forum – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2
-Montreal, QC: Quartier Latin – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2
-Quebec, QC: Cinema le Clap – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2
-Toronto, ON: TIFF Lightbox – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2

Human Flow
Dir. Ai Weiwei | Germany/USA | 140 min.
-Montreal, QC: Cineplex Forum – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2
-Toronto, ON: TIFF Lightbox – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2
-Vancouver, BC: Cineplex International Village – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2

Libera Nos
Dir. Federica Di Giacomo | Italy/France | 89 min.
-Edmonton, AB: Metro Cinema – Sun, Oct. 29 – Mon, Oct. 30

A Moon of Nickel and Ice
Dir. François Jacob | Canada | 110 min.
-Montreal, QC: Cinema du Parc – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2

On Putin’s Blacklist
Dir. Boris Ivanov | Canada | 75 min.
-Toronto, ON: The Kingsway – Fri, Oct. 27 – Thurs, Nov. 2

Tales from the Winnipeg Film Group
Dir. Kevin Nikkel & Dave Barber | Canada | 86 min.
-Winnipeg, MB: Winnipeg Cinematheque – Wed, Nov. 1
—>Filmmakers in attendance!

Retro Screenings:

My Winnipeg
Dir. Guy Maddin | Canada | 2007 | 80 min.
-Toronto, ON: TIFF Lightbox – Sat, Oct. 28
—>Introduced by producer Jody Shapiro

Enjoy a week at the movies!