Reviews - Page 60

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

Review: ‘Born in Evin’

/

Born in Evin (Germany/Austria, 98 min.) Dir. Maryam Zaree Programme: Persister (International Premiere) Maryam Zaree opens her extraordinary film by narrating a Talmudic story that immediately bonds you to her and sets up the doc’s storyline. All children are born with a candle on their head, goes the story, signifying that they know everything. But an angel blows out the candle, and they forget all their knowledge. They spend the rest of their lives trying to get it back. In pre-revolutionary Iran, Zaree’s parents were dissidents who opposed the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s vicious autocracy. They continued their rebellion when

Read More

Review: ‘Red Moon’

/

Red Moon (Belgium, 95 min.) Dir. Tülin Özdemir Programme: Persister (World Premiere) Beautifully, intimately and with great compassion, director Tülin Özdemir turns her lens towards the women of her family, specifically her aunt Tuncay, and uncovers a story that has veiled her family in secrets. The name Tuncay in Turkish means Red Moon, the film’s title. At the age of nine, Tuncay was torn from the carelessness of her childhood in Anatolia, Turkey to join her older sister, Ozdemir’s mother, in Belgium. There, she took care of Tulin and her brother for three years before yet another decision was made

Read More

Review: ‘On the President’s Orders’

/

On the President’s Orders (UK, 71 min.) Dir. James Jones and Olivier Sarbil Programme: World Showcase (North American Premiere) Shot with the stark precision and chiaroscuro tones of a Michael Mann film, James Jones and Olivier Sarbil’s On The President’s Orders would be one of the most harrowing escapist thrillers of the year if it weren’t for the sombre realisation that the horror captured is entirely, apocalyptically real. Starting with a security camera view of a drive-by execution, we cut to a speech by the Philippines’ strongman leader Rodrigo Duterte, drumming up applause from a crowd as he explicitly ratchets his war

Read More

Review: ‘Illusions of Control’

/

Illusions of Control (Canada, 87 min.) Dir. Shannon Walsh Programme: Canadian Spectrum (World Premier) I don’t know why Hot Docs programmers hype this film as testimony to human resilience in the face of disaster. As the title suggests, it’s less inspirational and much more about the pointlessness of human perseverance, albeit supported by energized communities. In Ningxia, China, Yang and his community desperately fight back against the desertification of the landscape–thank you climate change–so intense that every time the wind gusts up, their homes fill with sand. Stacy in Yellowknife, is trying to make a major mining company accountable for

Read More

Review: ‘The Valley’

/

The Valley (Italy/France, 72 min.) Dir. Nuno Escudeiro Programme: International Spectrum (World Premiere) Many docs are using the power of the camera to provide snapshots of the global migration crisis. These films, which are often brutally depressing, tour refugee camps to observe some dire circumstances that reveal humankind at its worst, while other docs stick Go-pros to the stern of a boat to get up close to masses of refugees risking their lives while crossing the Mediterranean Sea or another body of water. What these films often amount to is something between cinematic hand wringing and emotional exploitation. Even Ai

Read More

Review: ‘Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts’

/

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts (USA, 91 min.) Dir. Nick Zeig-Owens Programme: Nightvision (International Premiere) Pardon the pun, but the Trixie Mattel doc is a bit of a drag. Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts goes behind the scenes with drag queen, singer, influencer, and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season three champion Trixie Matel né(e) Brian Firkus. It’s a fun and often frank character study, but as a film, it’s all over the place and it long overstays the welcome of its 91-minute running time. The aspects of representation are undeniably valuable, although they’ve been conveyed in better films and with stronger spokespeople, or even in

Read More

Review: ‘A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem’

/

A Woman’s Work: The NFL Cheerleader Problem (U.S.A., 85 min.) Dir. Yu Gu Program: Persister (International Premier) Look closely at those cheerleaders strutting their stuff every Sunday for National Football League teams. They’re all sparkly and smiley and obviously delighted to be out there dancing up a storm. But underneath the exteriors of some of those happy, spirited young women lies deep unhappiness over how intensely they are exploited. This story of how NFL cheerleaders fought back against their intransigent team owners and the powerful football league they control offers a lot to get outraged about. Given that fact, it’s astonishing that the directors

Read More

Review: ‘Anbessa’

/

Anbessa (Italy/USA, 85 min.) Dir. Mo Scarpelli Programme: World Showcase (North American Premiere) Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is rapidly expanding. But this expansion comes with a cost of the clearing of farmlands, displacing the original rural inhabitants. Living with his mother on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, ten-year old Asalif goes through life like any other child, but with knowledge of the impending city development that could push his family still further away. The precocious Asalif is truly a star in this film. He is lucid when it comes to the state of the condominium-filled city and its

Read More

Review: ‘The Pickup Game’

/

The Pickup Game (UK/Canada, 96 min.) Dir.: Barnaby O’Connor, Matthew O’Connor Programme: Making Believe (World Premiere) The pickup industry generates over a billion dollars a year teaching men how to “seduce” women with manipulation tactics. But despite The Pickup Game being intended as an exposé on the industry and its culture, little is revealed, or analyzed. Well known for its misogyny, the industry in The Pickup Game is infuriatingly depicted in a rather apolitical manner. The film dwells on the pickup artists and their opinions with little pushback. These men (and one woman) are given a space to speak their opinions on women, dating,

Read More

Review: ‘Hope Frozen’

/

Hope Frozen (Thailand, 75 min.) Dir. Pailin Wedel Programme: International Spectrum (World Premiere) The death of a child must be an incredibly difficult event for a parent. Letting go of a life one brought into the world seems incredibly cruel and unfair for a parent to have to do. For parents Sahatorn and Nareerat Naovaratpong, however, letting go of their daughter is something they refuse to do. Hope Frozen chronicles the controversial story of a Thai family that puts love on the line and faith in science. The doc recounts the Naovaratpongs’ story with remarkable access, intimacy, and objectivity as it

Read More

1 58 59 60 61 62 125
0 $0.00