Reviews - Page 61

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

Review: ‘When We Walk’

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When We Walk (USA, Canada, 79 minutes) Dir. Jason DaSilva Programme: World Showcase (World Premiere) For Jason DaSilva, making When We Walk was an act of desperate love, survival, and confrontation with the abyss. DaSilva’s subjects are himself, his family, and the vicious advancing of the primary progressive multiple sclerosis that’s killing him. On camera, and in voiceover, 40-year old DaSilva addresses the audience, but more importantly, his young son. The film is a declaration of love for the boy and a document of how he lives as the disease escalates. DaSilva’s adoration for his three-year old spikes when his wife, burnt

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Review: ‘The Daughter Tree’

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The Daughter Tree (Canada, 88 min.) Dir. Rama Rau Programme: Canadian Spectrum (World Premiere) Rama Rau’s latest film The Daughter Tree has a near apocalyptic setting: An area of Punjab, India where men vastly outnumber women, primarily due to prenatal gender testing that resulted in vastly disproportionate rates of abortion of female fetuses. In this land, aging men tend the fields and smoke from billowing pipes, ruing their lot and refusing to compromise by going the equivalent of a mail-order route, fearing the social repercussions of marrying differing castes then they do their own loneliness. This stubborn intractability is contrasted by the

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Review: ‘Framing John DeLorean’

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Framing John DeLorean (USA, 109) Dir. Sheena M. Joyce and Don Argott Programme: Special Presentations (International Premiere) “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” says newspaperman Maxwell Scott (Carleton Young) in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. The line epitomizes larger than life celebrities who shape American folklore as tabloids and reality blur, and as audiences too often find themselves contended by digestible fictions, rather than facts. The line echoes throughout Sheena M. Joyce and Don Argott’s Framing John DeLorean. In fact, they quote it while chronicling the fascinating, almost too crazy to believe, life story of auto-baron turned

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Review: ‘#FemalePleasure’

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#FemalePleasure (Switzerland/Germany, 97 min.) Dir. Barbara Miller Program: Changing Face of Europe (North American Premier) Barbara Miller’s indictment of the demonization of female sexuality is all over the place–but in a good way. She travels to the U.S., Germany and Italy, Japan and India to support the fact that men’s desire to control women when it comes to sex is absolutely universal. In Brooklyn, New York, Deborah Feldman describes how she left her Chassidic community when she could no longer bear the restrictions on women. Women are consistently devalued and female sexuality in that culture, she says, is considered toxic,

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Review: ‘Symphony of the Ursus Factory’

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Symphony of the Ursus Factory (Poland, 61 min.) Dir. Jaśmina Wójcik Programme: Artscapes (North American Premiere) If there’s a prize for strangest film at Hot Docs, please bestow the golden laurels upon Symphony of the Ursus Factory. This wonderfully bizarre film by Jaśmina Wójcik might be the most audaciously original film of the festival. Falling somewhere between a Phillip Borsos industrial opus and a Pina Bausch dance, Symphony of the Ursus Factory is an ode to the working class that is full of human spirit and the most humane elements of industry. The doc assembles workers, mechanics, engineers, and administrators from the now-defunct Ursus Factory, which

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Review: ‘Marek Edelman…And There Was Love in the Ghetto’

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Marek Edelman…And There Was Love in the Ghetto (Poland, 79 min.) Dir. Jolanta Dylewska Programme: International Spectrum (World Premiere) If making out during Schindler’s List is your game, and I hope it’s not, then Marek Edelman is the film for you. Never has a Holocaust documentary featured such detailed attention to wartime bosoms. This film is unequivocally the biggest jaw-dropper of a disappointment at Hot Docs this year. The focus of Marek Edelman…And There Was Love in the Ghetto simply feels disrespectful even if the final title cards explain how Marek Edelman, leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, had seen too much horror in his lifetime and

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Review: ‘Toxic Beauty’

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Toxic Beauty (Canada, 90 min.) Dir. Phyllis Ellis Programme: Special Presentations (World Premiere) With all the doom and gloom environmental documentaries out there, many might have missed the greatest ecological disaster closest to home. For all the manufactured landscapes and rivers turned to toxic waste lands by chemical pollution, too little consideration (at least in the movies) has been paid to the harmful effects of the daily use of products that are killing the planet. Toxic Beauty sounds the alarm with an eye-opening exposé that some of the worst pollution happens in one’s own body. While not an “environmental film” per se, Toxic

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Review: ‘Kifaru’

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Kifaru (USA/Kenya, 79 min.) Dir. David Hambridge Programme: Animal Magnetism (International Premiere) This year’s edition of Hot Docs features a great theme programme called Animal Magnetism. It’s a series of docs that allows audiences to walk and talk with the animals, enjoy companionship with four-legged friends, and feed the hunger for furried non-fiction that’s been aching since the release of Kedi far too long ago. The wonderful series draws upon many themes via accessible approaches. Most significantly, Animal Magnetism is a shrewdly programmed spotlight of environmental films. The docs in the selection engage with the relationships between humans and non-human animals, and the

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