Reviews - Page 86

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

Review: ’69 Minutes of 86 Days’

/

69 Minutes of 86 Days (Norway, 71 minutes) Dir: Egil Håskjold Larsen Programme: International Spectrum. (North American Premiere)   The banal, descriptive title is the key to 69 Minutes of 86 Days. Proceeding for the most part in a series of steadycam long takes reminiscent of the films of Gus Van Sant or Bela Tarr, it’s a documentary about the refugee experience that attunes itself not to politics or even, in any particularly deep sense, character, but time. The film does attach to a central figure, a very affectionate little girl, and her family, particularly her father, who are travelling

Read More

Review: ‘You’re Soaking In It’

/

You’re Soaking In It (Canada, 75 min.) Dir. Scott Harper Programme: Democrazy (World Premiere)   Don’t be confused by the opening reel of You’re Soaking In It. A trailer advertising the documentary begins this work by Scott Harper (The Secret Life of Pigeons) and while it probably makes a few curious heads turn towards the projection booth, it’s an ingenious way to open the film. You’re Soaking In It investigates the extent to which advertising infiltrates our lives. The introductory trailer, like an obligatory ad before a YouTube video, illustrates how there’s no escaping advertising. Particularly in the digital age,

Read More

Review: ‘Shiners’

/

Shiners (Canada, 78 minutes) Dir. Stacey Tenenbaum Programme: Canadian Spectrum (World Premiere)   One of the traditional roles of shoe shiners, like barbers or hairdressers, is story telling: relaying neighbourhood news and information, comings and goings and passing the time. Montreal director Stacy Tenenbaum’s film finds a handful of personalities from around the world who can talk as well as they buff, making for a relaxed entertaining film that favours the slow and artisanal, touches on life choices, the intimacy of custom work and the freedom of lowered expectations. In Japan, a young entrepreneur wears a suit while he works,

Read More

Review: ‘Living the Game’

/

Living the Game (Japan, 88 minutes) Dir. Takao Gotsu Programme: Magnificent Obsessions (International Premiere)   A documentary about champions who sit and twiddle their thumbs and fingers, Living the Game explores the tournament rivalries and star personalities of the video game Streetfighter. While Japanese director Takao Gutsu does little to explain the intense commitment of the players and tournament fans, the storytelling is well paced and offers some ponder-worthy notions about competitive performance and personality, Like George Butler and Robert Fiore’s classic bodybuilding documentary,_ Pumping Iron_, this is less about the activity than the exemplary participants. At its centre are

Read More

Review: ‘A Room of Her Own’

/

A Room of Her Own: Rai Naito and Light (Japan, 87 minutes) Dir. Yuko Nakamura Programme: Made in Japan (North American Premiere)   An art film, an anxiety therapy diary and a benign stalk-umentary about a reclusive artist and her adoring fan, Yuko Nakamura’s film about artist Rai Naito is an oddity. Delicately shot and edited, unpredictable and occasionally squirm-inducingly precious, it should win some fervent converts and leave others sitting quizzically on the fence. The nominal subject, Rai Naito, is a Nagasaki-born internationally recognised installation artist, painter, sculpture, poet, now in her mid-fifties. Her works are minimalist but loaded

Read More

Review: Raise Your Arms and Twist’

/

Raise Your Arms and Twist, Documentary of NMB48 (Japan, 95 min.) Dir. Atsushi Funahashi Programme: Made in Japan (Toronto Premiere)   Atsushi Funahashi’s film Raise Your Arms and Twist explores the pop culture phenomenon of Japanese teen idols: singing and dancing young girls with huge, enthusiastic followings. The girls strive for status within their own groups and engage in fierce competitions with the other ones. NMB48 is Osaka-based and therefore not quite in the same league as Tokyo performers. The doll-like singer/dancers strut their stuff in ultra-choreographed shows that are like adoration rituals for the audience, which consists mainly of

Read More

Review: ‘The Lives of Thérèse’

/

The Lives of Thérèse (Les Vies de Thérèse) (France, 55 min.) Dir. Sébastien Lifshitz Programme: Singular Sensation(s) (Toronto Premiere)   How does one depict real death on screen? Filming the final days of Thérèse Clerc, a French feminist and LGBT activist, director Sébastien Lifshitz helps his subject tackle two taboos: aging and dying. Les vies de Thérèse, the winner of the 2016 Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, openly yet sensitively tackles its controversial subject matter. Thérèse Clerc is a passionate and unique figure. Initially accepting life as a typical housewife in the 1950s, she bloomed through a political

Read More

Review: ‘Bee Nation’

/

The notion that an Indigenous spelling bee competition could serve as the cohesive force to unite disparate First Nations children across Canada under one nation, as the title of Hot Docs’s 2017 opening film suggests, is perhaps the most obvious of all the liberal consensus threads.

Read More

Review: ‘Sunday Beauty Queen’

/

Sunday Beauty Queen (Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan. 95 minutes) Dir: Baby Ruth Villarama Programme: World Showcase (Canadian Premiere)   On Sundays in Hong Kong, many Filipino domestic workers enjoy preparing and staging beauty pageants. What initially seems like a quirky subculture turns out to be a more substantial subject in Sunday Beauty Queen, a big-hearted documentary from Filipino director Baby Ruth Villarama. At the end of a first pageant we see onscreen, when the embroidered gown has been packed and the mauve lipstick wiped off, one of the contestants misses her Sunday night curfew. Promptly fired by her employer, she

Read More

Review: ‘The Challenge’

/

The Challenge (France/Italy 70 minutes) Dir Yuri Ancarini Programme: Magnificent Obsessions (Canadian Premiere)   Decadence has rarely looked as gorgeous as it does in The Challenge, Italian video artist and filmmaker Yuri Ancarini’s film, which is nominally about a falconry contest among the super-wealthy sheikhs in the world’s wealthiest per capita country, Quatar. Though the main contest is about whose bird can kill a pigeon better, the film is really a portrait of a state of consciousness held by wealthy young men in white robes and checkered scarves, indulging in games of speed, colour and spectacle against a vast canvas

Read More

1 84 85 86 87 88 113
0 $0.00