Reviews - Page 89

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

DOC NYC Review: ‘The Longest Wave’

The Longest Wave (USA, 94 min) Dir. Joe Berlinger In the world of surfing, Robby Naish is a living legend. At the age of 13, back in 1976, Naish won the inaugural Windsurfing World Championship, which could have been a mixed blessing for someone so young. As a kid, did he ever wonder, how do you top that? As The Longest Wave, Joe Berlinger’s new film, quickly establishes, it’s clear that Naish hasn’t stopped being a champ since then. He’s garnered 24 titles and innovated and mastered kitesurfing and stand-up paddle boarding and created a company that employs other surfers and sells product—sails,

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‘My Father the Spy’: A Family Saga of Cold War Espionage

My Father the Spy (Latvia/Germany/Czech Republic/Estonia, 82 min.) Dir. Gints Grube, Jaak Kilmi Don’t even dare blink. My Father the Spy is a wild-but-true tale full of twists, turns, and unexpected revelations. The information comes quickly and doesn’t let up as Ieva Lešinska recounts growing up with a double life. Her story will startle audiences and surprise them as it takes them on a rapid-fire adventure of international intrigue and espionage. This film by Gints Grube and Jaak Kilmi invites Lešinska to revisit her past in new interviews and sequences that place her in contact with the secrets and lies of her

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‘They Call Us Warriors’: The Soccer Stars of Venezuela

They Call Us Warriors (Nos chamam guerreiras) (Venezuela, 83 min.) Dir. Edwin Corona Ramos, David Alonso, Jennifer Socorro Post-script title cards sometimes cheapen the story that precedes then. They can be mawkish, on the nose, or simply redundant calls to action that underestimate the audience’s intelligence. The Call Us Warriors, however, features a quick little figure before the credits role. The card simply states that enrollment in girls’ soccer rose 97% in Venezuela after the women’s under-17 national team kicked ass in the 2016 South American Under-17 Women’s Football Championship and 2016 World Cup. This statistic adds a layer of gravity to

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Reel Asian Review: ‘Jeronimo’

Jeronimo (USA/Cuba/Korea, 100 min.) Dir. Joseph Juhn A personal holiday inspires a collective portrait in Joseph Juhn’s Jeronimo. The adventure begins when the filmmaker, a second-generation Korean American, embarks on a trip to Cuba. He lands in the small Latin-American island, eager to soak up the sun and get some R&R, but is immediately struck by the presence of his taxi driver, the first person he sees upon leaving the airport. She’s Korean. The driver, Patricia, explains to Juhn that she’s a third-generation Korean-Cuban. Juhn benefits greatly from Patricia’s gift for gab and soaks up her family history as she tours

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Reel Asian Review: ‘Love Boat: Taiwan’

Love Boat: Taiwan (Taiwan/USA, 60 min.) Dir. Valerie Soe In 1967, the government of Taiwan created a particularly interesting program to bring second-generation Chinese and Taiwanese young people from around the world back to Taiwan for a six-week cultural immersion program—the Overseas Compatriot Youth Formosa Study Tour, better known, for reasons later revealed, as the Love Boat. In Love Boat: Taiwan, Valerie Soe, a Love Boat alumna herself, details the history of the tour. She paints a multifaceted picture of an establishment that is well-know among diasporic Taiwanese communities, but has yet to be documented for all audiences to see. The

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‘A Kandahar Away’: What’s in a name?

A Kandahar Away is a film that evolves as you watch it. Turning the camera onto her own family, Aisha Jamal’s documentary starts with a dinner. Here, we are introduced to her brothers Shaker and Nasser, sisters Gina and Hasina, mother Amina and father Abdul. Abdul and Amina, refugees from Afghanistan, brought their family to Canada, where they have now settled in Toronto. For the first time in over 10 years, the family plans to take a trip together—to Kandahar, Saskatchewan, where Abdul has bought plots of land for each of his family members. The film starts as a quirky family vacation.

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imagineNATIVE Review: ‘One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk’

One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (Canada, 113 min.) Dir. Zacharias Kunuk One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk is a comedy of manners that is no laughing matter. The latest film from Zacharias Kunuk (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, Maliglutit) sees Inuit-settler relationships humorously and tragically lost in translation. The film observes Noah Piugattuk (Apayata Kotierk) as he leads members of his community both young and old on the seal hunt his ancestors enjoyed. But when a white man interrupts the clan’s merriment on a mission to persuade Noah to move to a settlement in Igloolik, Kunuk realizes an

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Conviction: Orange is clearly not the new black

Conviction (Canada, 78 min.) Dir. Ariella Pahlke, Nance Ackerman, and Teresa MacInnes Three filmmakers invite four incarcerated women and one female guard to collaborate on a documentary. Powerful haikus, slams and drawings are shared and a lot of tears are shed. Convicting a society instead of its citizens, Ariella Pahlke, Nance Ackerman, and Teresa MacInnes gave all these women a voice in their new documentary Conviction. The outcome is an admirable collective and participatory endeavour, resolutely choosing community over punishment. Orange is clearly not the new black. Bianca, Treena, Caitlin and Laura tell us about the structural lack of help and

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PiF Review: ‘When Tomatoes Met Wagner’

When Tomatoes Met Wagner (Greece, 72 min.) Dir. Marianna Economou One can happily report that the fruits of When Tomatoes Met Wagner are certified fresh. This sure-fire crowd-pleaser from director Marianna Economou should appeal to fans of this year’s sleeper hit The Biggest Little Farm. Tomatoes, like Farm, invites audiences to witness the toils of hard-working hands that tend to the fields that feed us. When Tomatoes Met Wagner is Greece’s official submission in the Oscar race for Best International Feature–one of few docs in contention–and it has its Toronto debut at this year’s Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival before hitting Hollywood with its savoury goodies. The film

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Maureen Judge Captures the Lives of Young Women in ’17 and Life Doesn’t Wait’

17 and Life Doesn’t Wait (Canada, 80 min.) Dir. Maureen Judge Women’s lives are full of myths and symbols. Whore? Saint? Amazon? Wife? Witch? Princess? Yet women’s actual lives feel nothing like the stereotypes. Maureen Judge has devoted her career to holding up a mirror so that we can see what our lives are actually like. Her distinguished body of work, mostly in collaboration with TVO (TV Ontario), has covered weddings (Unveiled: The Mother Daughter Relationship), aging parents (Mom’s Home), and children moving back home (In My Parents’ Basement), among other real-world situations. Growing up has been of recent interest. My Millennial Life looked

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