Reviews - Page 94

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

Review: ‘Azmaish: A Journey Through the Subcontinent’

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Azmaish: A Journey Through the Subcontinent (Pakistan, 85 min.) Dir. Sabiha Sumar Programme: TIFF Docs (North American Premiere)   The personal is political for Sabiha Sumar. The Pakistani filmmaker embarks on a daunting task to interrogate the complex relationship and divide between India and her native country. Her journey yields both challenges and rewards as she reflects upon the currents that shape national identity and collective consciousness and, in turn, shape the lives of all the inhabitants within a nation’s borders. Sumar admirably covers all her bases while tackling the Indo-Pakistani divide in all its complexity. At home, she visits

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Review: ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (USA, 98 min.) Dir. Bonni Cohen, John Shenk   Eleven years ago, Davis Guggenheim’s An Inconvenient Truth implored mass audiences to wake-up and learn about climate change. Driven by a compelling PowerPoint presentation by former US Vice President Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth essentially updated Terre Nash’s eco doc formula from If You Love this Planet to speak to audiences and lay out a compelling argument about the threats to the planet. The film went on to earn considerable box office success and two Academy Awards that helped bring its call to action to

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Review: ‘Dawson City: Frozen Time’

Dawson City: Frozen Time (USA, 120 min.) Dir. Bill Morrison   It’s amazing to learn that Colin Low and Wolf Koenig’s City of Gold nearly became a greenhouse. The story goes that in 1947, Irene Crayford of Dawson City in the Yukon discovered old glass plate negatives within the walls of her home and sought advice from her employer, an artisan named Dick Diment, on how to remove the emulsion from them so that she could reuse the plates and build a greenhouse. Diment, recognising the historical significance of the plates, exchanged them for new ones and sent the negatives

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Review: ‘In the Name of All Canadians’

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In the Name of All Canadians (Canada, 75 min.) Dir. Vivian Belik, Karen Chapman, Aisha Jamal, Khoa Lê, Annick Marion, Ariel Nasr, Patrick Reed, Andréa Schmidt, Jérémie Wookey   Earlier this year, TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey posed a fair challenge to Canadian filmmakers. In a Globe & Mail piece titled ‘Dear Canadian filmmakers: it’s not about you, it’s about us’, Bailey wrote, “What if we stopped pretending that Canada is safe, nice and boring enough to leave off the big screen, while we focus on personal fictions? Instead, we could rip the lid off and reveal very Canadian acts

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Review: ‘The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography’

The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography (USA, 76 min.) Dir. Errol Morris Starring: Elsa Dorfman, Allen Ginsberg   Errol Morris has won great acclaim for his documentaries on powerful, conflicted men like Robert McNamara (The Fog of War) and Donald Rumsfeld (The Unknown Known), so it’s fascinating to see him make a lovely reversal in The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography, and create a feature-length profile of a woman who has spent a relatively serene life taking terrific photos. A self-described “nice Jewish girl,” Elsa Dorfman didn’t pick up a camera until she was 28, but when she found her

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Review: ‘In Search of Israeli Cuisine’

In Search of Israeli Cuisine (USA, 96 min.) Dir. Roger Sherman   “What does Israeli cuisine taste like?” asks Philadelphia chef Michael Solomonov. The title of this new doc by Roger Sherman is on point as Solomonov returns to the land of his birth in search of Israeli cuisine. The chef acts as our guide throughout the film and he samples a variety of flavours from different regions in an effort to define a national cuisine. The flavour of Israeli cooking isn’t as easy to pin down as the buttery richness of French food, the tomatoey goodness of Italian cooking,

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Review: ‘Manifesto’

Manifesto (Australia/Germany, 95 min.) Dir. Julian Rosefeldt Starring: Cate Blanchett   “Nothing is original,” says a teacher, played by the extraordinary Cate Blanchett (Carol, Blue Jasmine), to a class of wide-eyed youngsters. The teacher delivers a lecture on the principles of Dogma 95, the Danish anti-cinematic movement pioneered by directors like Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. The students listen as the teacher outlines the provocative world cinema manifesto and corrects her pupils on the basic tenants of achieving true art by eschewing false scenery, unnecessary action, non-diegetic music, and egotistical director credits. Excerpts of various cinematic doctrines are shared

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Review: ‘The Babushkas of Chernobyl’

The Babushkas of Chernobyl (USA, 71 min.) Dir. Holly Morris, Anne Bogart   The world’s most catastrophic nuclear power plant accident, the Chernobyl Disaster, occurred on April 26 1986 in Pripyat, in the former Ukrainian Republic of the USSR. Due to an emergency shutdown, nuclear reactor number 4 blew up, releasing immense amounts of radioactive waste into the atmosphere. After the disaster, the Soviet government enacted a 30 km “Exclusion Zone” around the nuclear plant, which resulted in the immediate evacuation of its residents. The zone is still largely uninhabited due to its high radiation levels. The Babushkas of Chernobyl,

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