McQueen (USA, 111 min.) Dir. Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui Programme: Special Presentations (International Premiere) Move over, Daniel Day-Lewis! The gorgeous gowns of the House of Woodcock have nothing on the threads of Lee Alexander McQueen. Mind you, the designer of Phantom Thread never had the stones to let a boob hang out of his dresses, nor did he have the audacity to channel his culture of toxic masculinity into his clothes. The iconoclastic McQueen, however, had a wardrobe full of violent and visceral get-ups that repulsed and ravished onlookers with their unconventional elegance. This doc by Ian Bonhôte
Braguino (France, 49 min.) Dir. Clément Cogitore Programme: The Changing Face of Europe Deep in the Siberian taiga, 1000 kilometres from the nearest settlement, live the Braguines, a family of Old Believers. Wanting to escape the corrupting influences of civilization, the family settled out in the middle of nowhere, where they hunt for food and live harmoniously with the pristine forest and river that surround them. But not with the neighbours. Yes, there are neighbours: the Kilines. The families’ compounds, surrounded by thousands of kilometres of empty land, sit directly next to each other, separated by just a fence.
Love, Gilda (USA, 84 min.) Dir. Lisa D’Apolito Programme: Special Presentations (International Premiere) The dead celebrity cinematic universe gets a new hero in Love, Gilda. Like the adventures of Iron Man, Captain America, Wonder Woman, and the Hulk, this enjoyable doc is one we’ve seen before. In fact, audiences saw it five years again when it was called Love, Marilyn. The difference is simply the personality that graces the screen. Director Lisa D’Apolito performs a respectable rinse and repeat job with Liz Garbus’s poetic approach to Marilyn Monroe. Love, Gilda/Marilyn produces a multifaceted portrait(s) of the tragic icon by
Call Her Ganda (USA, 97 min.) Dir. PJ Raval Programme: World Showcase (International Premiere) The headline at the movies this year might be gender parity and #MeToo, and rightfully so, but one would be remiss to overlook the notable transgender stories at Hot Docs and within the film scene more broadly. Films like Michael Del Monte’s compelling Transformer, for example, with its fascinating study of gender roles, performance, and power in the tale of weightlifting Janae Croc. (See the current issue of POV for an article on the topic by Matt Hays that looks at films such as Transformer,
Laila at the Bridge (Canada/Afghanistan, 96 min) Dir. Gulistan Mirzaei and Elizabeth Mirzaei Program: The Good Fight (North American Premiere) A young mother in a traditional Afghanistan scarf and shawl speaks to the camera as she prepares a syrupy mixture in a bottle for her crying baby. The baby begins to suckle, and quickly falls asleep. No wonder: the drink contains opium, the prevalence of which has been a secondary effect of the interminable war there. In the last few years, a number of news stories have focused on the Pul-i-Sokhta bridge over the Kabul River in western Kabul,
The Artist & the Pervert (Germany, 96 min.) Dir. Beatrice Behn and René Gebhardt Artscapes. Program: (North American Premiere) A smack of politically incorrect racial sex play, a spanking of gender-inappropriate kink and a touch of genius entitlement add up to a happy creative marriage in the provocative, warm-hearted film The Artist & The Pervert. Co-directed and shot by Beatrice Behn and Rene Gebhardt, this German-made documentary focuses on the relationship between Georg Frederick Haas, a renowned Austrian modern music composer in his sixties and his wife, Mollena Williams-Haas, an American kink educator and performer, in her late forties.
Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS (USA, 67 minutes) Dir. Harriet Hirshorn Programme: Silence Breakers (International Premiere) Nothing Without Us demands we learn the names of women activists across the globe in the fight to end HIV/AIDS. The fight for visibility, recognition and access to services is impeded by gender, race, location and economic disparities. Nothing Without Us addresses these issues head on by centring the voices of those most affected by the virus. All of the main characters are women of colour living with HIV and working within their communities. Most of them are doing
Constructing Albert (Spain/Estonia, 82 min.) Dir. Laura Collado, Jim Loomis Programme: World Showcase (Canadian Premiere) Being crowned the best in the world is an awfully high status to maintain. It’s even harder when one shares the honour with one’s brother. Standing next to the best may prove a point of inspiration though, as Constructing Albert conveys in depicting the sibling rivalry between master chefs Ferran Adrià and Albert Adrià. The brothers achieved culinary stardom with their Catalan restaurant elBulli, which received a rare 3-star Michelin ranking and was named the number one eatery in the world by Restaurant Magazine
The Trolley (Canada, 45min) Dir. Stephen Low Programme: Special Events & Big Ideas Series Canadian documentarian Stephen Low is one of those old school IMAX filmmakers, gifted with using the massive canvas of the large-format frame to both engage and enthral often young audiences. His Titanica was a formative film. I’ve still got it on Laserdisc, a preposterous compromise compared to seeing the 15perf 70mm presentation screened in the early ‘90s, but still a fine look at that famous bit of transportation failure. With The Trolley, Low sets his sights on another 45 minute edu-taining doc, one best suited