Reviews - Page 168

Giving you our points of view on the latest docs in release and on the circuit.

Reel Books: One Hundred Years of Canadian Cinema

What does a body have to do to get noticed around here, anyway? In a contribution to Canadian film history, One Hundred Years of Canadian Cinema, George Melnyk attempts an answer. National identity is a slippery notion in this bi- polar country of French and English influences liberally affected and challenged by immigrant voices, which lives, like a mushroom, under an American shadow. While Melnyk admits that a book like his will omit much more than it encompasses, “one should think of this text as a kind of translation of the writings of others on Canadian film into a synthesized narrative.”

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Hot Docs 2005: A DOP’s POV

I didn’t get a chance to go to a large number of Hot Docs this year, but the ones I did get to see were looked at with the critical eye of a DOP. Docs with great visual content stand out from average fare. Some films, especially those shot on small camcorders, can be distractingly bad visually. I realize that small cameras fit tight budgets and are best for war zones, “diaries” and personal stories, but filmmakers should be aware of their limitations especially now that consumers are watching programs on very large widescreen TVs. The Three Rooms of Melancholia,

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Modernism, Images, Documentation and Television


The 18th annual Images Festival boasted a fresh artistic programmer—Jeremy Rigsby, courtesy of Windsor’s renowned Media City—and a stronger emphasis on internationalism. Along with that commitment to international content, this year’s festival showcased an exhaustive potpourri of documentary strategies and impulses, although not that many formally-straightforward documentaries. The emphasis on documenting and its problematics was a motif of the international shorts programmes, the opening night gala feature, and many of the Images Off-Screen installations visible in downtown Toronto art galleries. A series of panels titled the Visible City Symposium was also presented in tandem with the 2005 Images Festival, and

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The Corporation: Bad apple or bad seed?

Many of us belong to that category of citizens poetically described as the “walking worried.” (Adelphia Communications: $2.5 billion bankruptcy.) We are those who realize that things have gone awry, but are not sure why, nor how they’ve become so squirrelly. (Conseco: $6.5 billion bankruptcy.) But in between being a taxi service for the kids, the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, and avoiding the downsize, the outsource and the Peter Principle at work, who’s got time to figure it all out anyway? (Enron: $9 billion.)* The correct answer might well be the creators and marketers of The Corporation: Joel Bakan,

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Chris Marker: Memories of the Future

Need an inspirational shot in the arm? Ever wonder how to bend technology to your will? Or how to explore complex questions of identity, politics, death? Then spend some time with a master in Catherine Lupton’s Chris Marker: Memories of the Future. In this accessible, compact volume, Lupton details Chris Marker’s entire oeuvre as writer, critic, filmmaker and multimedia artist from the 1940s to the present. André Bazin once referred to Marker as the camera-stylo because the latter’s film work is so rooted in the written word. Starting out in the ’40s as a poet, novelist and critic, Marker transposed the

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Ruba Nadda’s Gift

This is a story about love—love between a man and a woman from vastly different worlds, love of family and love of multi-cultural Toronto. A good storyteller has the ability to gently open us up, touch our hearts and enhance the way we look at the world. But for real professionals, like Germany’s First Hand Films distributor Esther van Messel, the secret to a successful film is that it’s commercial and subversive. Sabah, the debut feature by writer-director Ruba Nadda, is likely to accomplish both goals. Though modest in scope, it’s a well-crafted romantic drama, entertaining and accessible, while also subverting

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CanDocs – Spring 2005

BRITISH COLUMBIA — Katherine Dodds Paris Stories Paris Stories, The Fiction of Mavis Gallant tells the story of Canada’s famously “unknown” writer. One of The New Yorker’s most frequently published short story writers, Gallant often appears in anthologies of great American writers. A Montrealer who has been living in Paris since 1950 yet writes in English, Gallant has devoted 60 years of her life to the craft of the short story. Both proper and radical, Mavis Gallant is an iconoclast. It was Gallant’s absolute dedication to her work that drew producer/director Lynn Booth to explore her life. Says Booth, “Mavis arranged her entire

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And The Trains Roll On…

For the past several years, Winnipeg has been home to writer and filmmaker Clive Holden, the proprietor of Cyclops Press, and an intense observer of the urban emotional landscape. Holden’s ambitious film cycle Trains of Winnipeg—14 Film Poems premiered at Toronto’s Images Festival this past spring, and has since played Victoria’s Antimatter Festival, Winnipeg’s own Send and Receive, the venerable Flaherty Seminar, and several prestigious venues in Spain. It’s an auspicious début for a hybrid work that could have had a hard time finding venues. Holden calls Trains a “multimedia art project” that exists independently as a book of poems and

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