Reviews - Page 70

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

Review: ‘Obscuro Barroco’

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Obscuro Barroco (France/Greece, 60 min.) Dir. Evangelia Kranioti Programme: Nightvisions (North American Premiere)   A lyric ode to bodies and cities, an essay on self-invention, a multi-sensory immersion in the sights and sounds of Rio de Janeiro during Carnival: Obscuro Barroco is, gloriously, all those things. Drawing on Clarice Lispector’s novel Água Viva, trans activist Luana Muniz narrates meditations on transness and the city of Rio as spaces of pure potential and fluidity, constantly creating themselves anew, over sumptuous images of Carnival costumes, dramatic fireworks, kids dancing in the street, underground queer parties, protests and Rio’s iconic landscape of beaches,

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Review: ‘The Heat’

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The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution (Canada, 75 min.) Dir. Maya Gallus Programme: Special Presentations (World Premiere – Opening Night)   There’s a bad meme called ‘Get back in the kitchen!’ that social media users (male ones) use to keep women in their place. The “joke” is gendered and draws upon outdated roles in which women cook for their breadwinner husbands. The line is a symptom of the culture of toxic masculinity that’s finally seeing a reckoning. Kitchens are nevertheless traditionally domestic spaces in a complicated social history of prescribed gender roles. For many, the best memories of home often centre

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Review: ‘Over the Limit’

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Over the Limit (Poland, Germany, Finland, 74 minutes) Dir: Marta Prus Programme: World Showcase. (North American Premiere)   When asked about her personal goals, Russian rhythmic gymnast Margarita Mamun responds by saying, “We should push past our limits.” Throughout the film Mamun’s goal is met, over and over, as she practices and performs her routines amidst a grueling training schedule, family emergencies, injury, and the constant verbal berating by coaches. Over the Limit, in its repetition, can become dull. We watch Mamun dance, with grace, beauty, and strength that seem almost inhuman. And then we watch as her coaches tell

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Review: ‘Hugo’

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Hugo (Poland, 80 minutes) Dir: Wojciech Klimala Programme: World Showcase. (North American Premiere)   Hugo begins slowly, revealing itself at a leisurely pace despite the urgency of its content. A young boy between six and seven, the eponymous Hugo seems average: he loves Spiderman and ice cream, he plays football, and he seems blissfully unaware of his circumstances. His grandfather Dzidek, however, struggles to raise the boy, lacking the funds to do so while grappling with a difficult family history, as he grieves the loss of his daughter and navigates raising his grandson, whose real father is imprisoned in another

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Review: ‘Warrior Women’

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Warrior Women (USA, 67 minutes) Dir: Christina D. King, Elizabeth A. Castle Programme: The Good Fight. (World Premiere)   In Warrior Women, history is told by the women who made it. Centered on Madonna Thunder Hawk, a Lakota activist with a decades-long career, the film shares discussions she has with her peers and her daughter as they reminisce on community organizing, politics, culture, and family. Their words, supplemented by archival footage, create the story of Indigenous activism by women. It is the bonds between these women, which make the documentary remarkable. While the historical treatment of activism, depicting determination and

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Review: ‘I, Dolours’

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I, Dolours (Ireland, 82 minutes) Dir: Maurice Sweeney Programme: International Spectrum. (World Premiere)   In 2010, former Irish Republican Army member Dolours Price gave a series of interviews, under the agreement that they could only be released after her death. Most famous for her involvement in the bombing of London’s Old Bailey in 1973, an attack which injured hundreds of people and killed one, Dolours’ story is expanded upon in Maurice Sweeney’s documentary, where reenactments illustrate her words as she details her childhood, radical experiences, incarceration, and beyond. With such controversial subject matter, I, Dolours has all the appeal of

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Review: ‘Anote’s Ark’

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Anote’s Ark (Canada, 77 min.) Dir. Matthieu Rytz Program: Special Presentations (Canadian Premiere)   “Climate change is the greatest moral challenge for humanity,” proclaims Anote Tong in Anote’s Ark. “We haven’t risen to the challenge.” Call Anote Tong the eco hero of Hot Docs 2018. The former President of the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati is a strong advocate for global action on climate change. Action is a matter of survival for Kiribati. The nation of 33 low-lying islands and atolls is expected to be wiped off the face of the Earth by the century’s end due to rising sea

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Review: ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’

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Bathtubs Over Broadway (USA, 87 min.) Dir. Dava Whisenant Programme: Artscapes (International Premiere)   Forget Bye Bye Birdie. Forget Cats. Forget An American in Paris, Rent, Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera, Cabaret, and especially Mamma Mia. The truly American art form is not the Broadway show but the industrial musical. This obscure corner of show business receives a laugh-out loud appreciation from director Dava Whisenant in Bathtubs Over Broadway. Audiences having no familiarity with the wacky world of industrial musicals are in for a treat! Get ready to laugh, sing, cheer, and be dazzled by the unsung

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Review: ‘Love, Scott’

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Love, Scott (Canada, 76 minutes) Dir: Laura Marie Wayne Programme: Canadian Spectrum (North American Premiere)   In 2013, Scott Jones was stabbed outside a bar in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Though he survived, Scott was paralyzed from the waist down. The attack, which many believe to be motivated by homophobia, was never charged as a hate crime. In Love, Scott, director Laura Marie Wayne creates an intimate portrait of her close friend as he discusses the aftermath of this traumatic event. While Love, Scott isn’t an autobiographical doc, director Laura Marie Wayne has created a near stream-of-consciousness depiction of his

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Review: ‘Snowbirds’ and ‘Eviction Notice’

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Snowbirds (Canada, 47 min.) Dir. Joannie Lafrenière Programme: Canadian Spectrum (Toronto Premiere)   Canada geese are famous for their migration patterns. The big honking birds fly south in groups that mark the sky in flapping V formations. They depart every fall and return every spring, fully aware that Canada is the land they call home. Joannie Lafrenière offers a nature documentary of sorts on the other great Canadian migration, the one that occurs each winter. These animals, known colloquially as “snowbirds,” are Canada’s other resident geese: retirees. Best known for 4 pm dinners, knee high sweat socks, and bad tans,

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