2000 Films

The Bingo Robbers Canada 1999 Lois Brown, Barry Newhook Lois Brown, Barry Newhook Dana Warren Great title, cast, script and adventure. This is a Newfoundland first in its application of new media technology. This film is drenched in a downtown sensibility, mired in darkly comic observations, steeped in local obsessions. But guess what? This is also anywhere anyplace--wherever you find a strip of road and a corner store, a bingo hall, and a telephone booth. Nancy, an oddly smart woman of indeterminate maturity, unnaturally tired to her ex, but itching for change.--spare change, that is. Vallis, who lives in his Chrysler and has obviously read too much Heidegger. Essentially, the film unravels as an attempt at robbery--not as easy as you would think in a small town where everyone knows your ame, signature and ski mask. This film is a fabulous accomplishment of here and now and well worth the watch.
Le Chapeau-The Hat Canada 2000 Michèle Cournoyer Thérèse Descary, Pierre Hébert Arguably the most imaginative piece of animation we’ve ever seen. This film takes its art to new heights of revelation, bringing us closer to that borderline between dream and reality than we thought possible. The subject of the amazing little film is the memory of a childhood trauma. Conjured here is an increasingly powerful set of associations between the little girl at the centre of the memory and the man in a hat who violated her. Remembered and drawn from an adult point of view, the images of the past are evocative, haunting, and at the same time therapeutic.
Violet Canada 1999 Rosemary House Rosemary House Mary Sexton Set along the verdant lawns of Mt. Scio, the story of this film centres on Mary Walsh as a librarian who returns home when her brother (Rick Boland) suddenly dies, the victim of both his drunken folly and an old family curse. Neurotic about her own mortality, Violet’s nervous psyche actively resists the friend and family who try to help. Performances are strong, with some standout acting. The title role seems to have been written for Walsh, who flashes us bits of Marg Delahunty and that spear-waving breast-plated warrior princess thing she does. Ultimately though, Walsh invents the entirely new character of Violet, a smart and feeling woman as far removed from donut-shop Connie as timbits are from savory.
Tango Australia 1999 Therese Ritchie Therese Ritchie Victorian College of the Arts How can a seven-minute animated film carry so much moral weight? This film is an utterly transformative experience, transmuting the commonplace into the extraordinary. The generating circumstance of this unique vision is the narrator’s awareness of her own mortality. What follows is a dance of the everyday, as objects twirl and spin in darkly colored gestures.
Of Hopscotch and Little Girls Canada 1999 Marquise Lepage Marcel Simard, Monique Simard This moving and intelligent documentary explores the troubled planet where little girls live. Rather than preaching about social inequality and injustice, the director merely shows us the various ways in which little girls all over the world are remarkably the same and disturbingly different. As the film shows, the spectrum of experience is vast and highly determined. Letting girls speak in their own voices, their personal testimonies are at once innocent and knowing. Some girls are more fortunate than others, but this film lets us see that freedom is elusive in a world--any world--in which girls grow up to be powerless women. The coherent metaphor for this documentary inquiry is the universal game of hopscotch. All girls play hopscotch, but each plays it in her own way, according to rules long inherited and passed down through generations.
A Good Dog is Lost Canada 2000 Anne MacLeod Honestly, can we ever really care what we’re looking at when we hear Ron Hynes sing? Well, believe it or not, even the incomparable Hynes can be visually enhanced with the right visuals. The director cleverly catches the childlike spirit of this charming title tune. She solicited a group of children to provide crayola drawings of the lyrics, and the wonderful effect is an animated video, replete with images brought to you by some of your favorite local kids. The idea is so ingenious we have to slap ourselves and ask, why didn’t we think of that? Thankfully, MacLeod did.
Lost and Found Canada 1999 Gail Noonan Gail Noonan Gail Noonan This oddly compelling littler animated masterpiece is based on an actual experience. The subject of this film departs somewhat from the director’s characteristically gendered subjects. Two kids search for a lost mitten amid the debris under a bridge, but when they go below to retrieve the mitten they discover another world, a space occupied by society’s “homeless”. This film ups the ante on Noonan’s already impressive record, transforming a social issue into a gorgeously drawn cel-transferred work or art.
Trombone Trouble Canada 2000 Deanne Foley Deanne Foley Bronwen Kyffin A comic misadventure about a ten-year old girl, her trombone, and the nun who forces her to practice. This delightful tale captures the familiar tensions generated by authority and the pressures of performance, peers, and power. Trombone Trouble is that rare achievement of comic insight, a short take on a big subject. Foley clearly subscribes to the less-is-more school of filmmaking, a school we wish so many more would sign up for.
The Fox, The Crow, The Cheese USA 1999 Bianca Bob Bianca Bob Bianca Bob/BBob Films When you can’t afford the real fox, crow, or cheese, why not use some suitable substitutes? Director Bob brings us a little bit of Master Foot Theatre. In her own inimitable words: “Kinda sorta loosely based on the Aesop fable of the same name”. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Marshlands Canada 2000 Penny McCann Penny McCann Penny McCann This film takes us to the heart of the maritime marshes, one of the most enchanting landscapes in the country. For the director, the marshlands evoke time and memory. This is understandable given dependency of the land on the ebb and flow of tidal pools and, in turn, the rhythms of the cosmos itself. What we have here is nothing less than a marvelous visual tone poem of place, a lyrical trip that is as much psychic as physical. Such a place is a kind of middle ground between now and then, dream and reality, inside and outside--like a film itself.
Avant le Jour Canada 1999 Lucie Lambert Sylvain L’Espérance We think of this lovely feature as a poignant meditation on a place we could easily call home--if we all spoke French, that is. Set on the Eastern Quebec isle of I’île Providence, this lyrical documentary chronicles the seasonal rhythms of an Atlantic coastal community in the post-fishery present. This film avoids the sentimental dream of loss and instead fills the screen with a careful contemplation of ordinary experience. This is an inspiring documentary about a world we know so well, and yet, through the power of the director’s images, that world looks new and fresh again. No self-respecting Newfoundlander should miss this film.
Waiting For Godot USA 1999 Bianca Bob Bianca Bob Bianca Bob/BBob Films Another Master Foot Theatre production, starring the same body parts as The Fox, The Crow & The Cheese. Look, times are tough. Not everyone has big Telefilm bucks. As Bob describes it, this film is “Very kinda sorta based on the Beckett play of the same name. The similarity ends there”. Let the games begin.
Closing the Gap: 0.4mg of Prevention Canada 2000 Sharon Halfyard Carmelita McGrath Sharon Halfyard Local filmmaker Sharon Halfyard has added to her impressive track record of professionally turned out documentaries with this visually arresting film about spina bifida. By taking on this common disease, Halfyard attempts to live up to its title, a verbal play on the very physical spinal problem suffered by children whose mothers were likely never fully informed of the simple dietary precautions necessary to avoid the disease in the first place. Narrated by Mike Jones, this film is an excellent demonstration of the significance of good work: its effects far-reaching and even life-changing.
Untangling the Mind: The Legacy of Dr. Heinz Lehmann Canada 2000 Tom Puchniak Catherine Mullins This fascinating doc both sets the record and sets it straight. The story of a pioneering Montreal psychiatrist whose career was fraught with the tensions of his times but whose legacy, when understood in perspective, reclaims the importance of his breakthrough methods. Fleeing Nazi Germany in 1973, Lehmann came to Canada where he discovered the “snake pits” that were psychiatric hospitals of the time. Working tirelessly for the next 60 years to find better treatments for the poor abandoned creatures who inhabited these institutions, Lemann persevered with Humanity and devotion. Extraordinary filmstock reveals the persistence of Lehmann’s experiments and the tenor of his times. This film goes a long way to illuminating the past but also opens up to new questions about the future of psychiatric care.
A Place Called Home Iran 1998 Persheng Sadegh-Vaziri Persheng Sadegh-Vaziri, Sahba Vazir The 20th century has sometimes been referred to as a decade of “homelessness”: huge immigration and emigration shifts have altered the face of entire nations, let alone neighbourhoods and families. This wise documentary explores the effects of such a seismic occurrence. Focusing on an Iranian family, what’s great about this film is the non-judgemental way it approaches its own fragmented histories. This intelligent doc challenges our assumptions about freedom and feminism, forcing us to reevaluate the terms by which we measure our “progress”. An enlightening experience.
Grist for the Mill USA 1999 Cynthia Wade Cynthia Wade Director Cynthia Wade explores the tensions in her family with remarkable candour. So candidly, in fact, you wonder at times if she isn’t violating her parent’s privacy. What relieves this documentary of its heavy subject matter is he imaginative way the director assembles the fragments of her past. What emerges is an intelligent convergence of fairytale, cinema, and home movie. It’s a gripping study of character as well as a form of social history.
Spirit Wind Canada 1999 Catherine Martin Catherine Martin A labour intensive labour of love, this film is a strong visual documentary about the director’s own Mi’Kmaw people. She prefers calling herself a storyteller, and after seeing Spirit Wind we can see why. The focus of this tale of a film is on a journey undertaken by Mi’Kmaw Chief Misel Joe, who is well known to people in this province as an articulate spokesman and tribal leader. Several years ago he arranged for the building of a birch bark canoe that could be paddled from Conne River to Nova Scotia. Spirit Wind, also the name of the canoe itself, is the chronicle of that trip. Never has the Cabot Straight been shot quite so closely and never has the provincial coast been imaged so fully and so well from this point of view.
Rocks at Whiskey Trench Canada 2000 Alanis Obomsawin Alanis Obomsawin This is a stirring final film in Obomsawin’s trilogy of films documenting the standoff over a lousy golf course in Oka, Quebec. The camera catches up close and immediately the devastating effects surrounding the infamous rock-throwing incident on a fatefully violent day ten years ago. Naturally, the film sympathizes with the native cause, and the Mohawks’ eventually successful attempts to prevent Quebec business developers from transforming a few acres of green and sacred native territory into a few well-groomed holes for duffers. This film is both testimony for the record and indictment of the racial prejudices that allowed a whiskey trench to happen. THis is a sobering and necessary work, astonishing in its candor and enlightening in its camera-caught veracity. This film has invited audiences everywhere to reflect on the bigger picture of native rights and land claims, and to measure the uncertain present against the unpleasant past.
Mary's Date UK 1999 Jan Dunn Georgia Pritchett Jan Dunn Consider this a well-done low-budget high-impact nicely-acted British-made woman’s joke. Pauline McLynne and TV-familiar Dale Ripley star as the dating couple. We’re at his place. Dinner is great, talk is stimulating, the candles are flickering--what next? Director Dunn extends the metaphor of the funny bone to hilarious reaches.
Mulberry Red, No. 17 Canada 1999 Kelly Beaton Kelly Beaton Kelly Beaton This film is a homage to lipstick, the filmmaker's favorite lipstick, we presume. And who can blame her when you see what a vivid set of associations this magic stick evokes. Some people measure their lives in coffee spoons. Others in Revlon. You know how to apply lipstick, don’t ya? You just put your lips together and…
Atomic Saké Canada 1999 Louise Archambault Louise Archambault François Landry A fascinating dramatic exercise in point of view. The director takes three attractive independent women, throws them together in conversation, pours some delicious sake, and watches the results. The crafty result of this potent mix is a charged and experimentally edited film about difference--sexual, personal, social. Three friend who thought they knew each other well suddenly discover that there is more to their relationship than meets the surface of the countertop.
A Cup of Tea Canada 1999 Joanna Gosse Joanna Gosse By its title you know it’s local, right? This little film riffs disturbingly on one of our most persistent and genteel rituals. Begin with two female friends having a cup of tea--add the absent but felt presence of a man--and stir. The result could leave you shaken. Consider this a surreal comedy of manners. Cup or mug--you be the judge. Lots of fun, color, and bad furniture.
Eva Meets Felix Canada 1999 Heidi B. Gerber Marko Sijan, Heidi B. Gerber Miranda de Pencier A well-produced short brought to you by Gerber and the talented resources at the Canadian Film Centre. This is an unusual boy-meets-girl story. The former is a their and the latter is suicidal. He is reckless and irreverent, she is searching but trapped. Their encounter changes them both. The Toronto Star called the performances here “explosive” and we could not agree more.
In Between Canada 1999 Daun Windover Daun Windover Margaret Harrison A short and very clever exercise in narrative construction, this witty film brings together two heterosexual couples in amusing alignment. One is younger and struggling to keep the flame alive; another is weary and somewhat deadened. You know them both, you’ve been there. Through a director’s sleight of hand, the two couples have something to say to each other. Director Windover has manipulated her parallel plot lines in intriguing ways, lending thematic coherence to the chaos of contemporary relationships.
Joséphine Canada 2000 Anne-Marie Sirois Pierre Hérbert, Marcel Jean So many wonderful animated films, so little opportunity to see them. This film is a lyrical tale of youthful longing and loss. Its images animate the sweet lyrics of the title song, a familiar francophone tune about a romantic possibility. Whether she loves him or loves him not, you are bound to fall in love with Joséphine.
www.six.lemondeestpetit.ca Canada 2000 Vail Fugulin Andre Gladu The world has shrunk so much that you need only a short documentary to reveal its interconnectedness. This quirky doc demonstrates the gratifying principle of six degrees of separation. That’s right--look to the left of you and then to the right. You’re connected to these people by birth or social circumstance, and a quick survey of your overlapping lives will reveal the lines of your intimacy. Of course in Newfoundland, we commonly experience two and a half degrees of separation, so there’s not much new here. There is, however, the sheer delight of watching the filmmaker experiment with the adage, coming up with an airtight conclusion right before our very eyes.
Do Wok A Do Canada 1999 Michelle Wong Michelle Wong Michelle Wong, Sandi Sommers A dramatic short set in the seventies about a young Chinese-Canadian girl growing up on the prairies. It’s been said that Canadian towns first put up churches and Chinese restaurant, and if you've ever traveled along the national routes of the railways you’ll understand why all roads lead to egg rolls with plum sauce. Joanne is the hyphenated child of the drama, whose family runs the only Chinese restaurant in St. Paul, Alberta. If you know your Prarie lore you surely know that this town’s claim to fame is that it was home to the world’s only UFO landing. This odd factoid appeals to Joanne, who daydreams of Bruce Lee and intergalactic possibilities. It's so interesting how one filmmaker's personal mythology can resonate with audiences far from the maddening prairies. This is one fine example of how films matter--when the matter of film is good.
Cecil's Insomnia Canada 2000 Bronwen Kyffin Bronwen Kyffin Bronwen Kyffin We think a most-popular film contest would choose this totally adorable flash of brilliance. To speak to the head and the heart you need not make a full-blown feature. Amazingly, this animated little treat relies on a sock to convey the full weight of story and character. You really have to see it to know what we mean--Ed--move over--there’s a new foot cover in town, and he means business.
BuLLy Dance Canada 2000 Janet Perlman Janet Perlman Marcy Page EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: David Verrall The style of this animated short marries Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to Disney: the effect is stunning and provocative. This is appropriate because the subject is the dark psychology of the tribe--the human tribe, that is. More specifically the film looks at the way our work-a-day world encourages groups to coalesce around whom they can exclude. In the millennium, the weak are not much better off than they ever were and bullies thrive wherever possible. Part social essay, part fantasy, this film is above all an exquisite piece of animation, driven by powerful rhythmic beat and the unforgettable symmetry of its images.
Mouseholes Canada 2000 Helen Hill Helen Hill Helen Hill This is an imaginative and bittersweet account of the filmmaker’s ailing grandfather. Inventively mixing real footage and evocative illustrations, Mouseholes is one of those unforgettable few minutes of personal reflection, transforming ordinary experience into a commemoration.
Beila Was A Baba-Kazak USA 2000 Dina Kagan Dina Kagan Dina Kagan This charming little film has all the best qualities of a short story--a strong narrative line, personal drama, good dialogue, a powerful theme. This is, essentially, the dramatization of a formidable Russian Jewish woman, the filmmaker’s distant relative whose remarkable life humbles the most super-achieving among us. Nelia’s memory lives on through the compelling oral tradition of the family, fortified by film itself.
Foxy Lady, Wild Cherry Canada 2000 Ines Bulchi Marlene Rodgers Marlene Rodgers This is not a tribute to Jimi Hendrix, although that would be good, too. This is a short and powerful drama whose title belies its serious take on emerging sexuality and the ambiguities of father-daughter relationships. In just a rich twenty minutes, this pointed dramatic film conveys more subtlety than most two-hour features. Unmasking the sexuality charged dynamics of the modern family and illuminating the confusion that attends to the subject.
Restroom USA 1999 Gretchen Hildebrand Gretchen Hildebrand Gretchen Hildebrand The title is plain but this delightful short film is anything but. Ever wondered what really goes on behind the stalls? This film dreams up a wonderful comic surreal fantasy, imaginatively caught in lurid color like a bizarre but irresistible dream. It’s hard to explain without spelling out the specific play of subconscious motifs at work here, but suffice to say that Restroom skillfully exploits the washroom pit stop as a site of paranoid and expressive possibility. You’ll wash your hands every time you go after seeing this.
Muriel Duckworth, Practising Peace Canada 1999 Patricia L. Kipping Patricia L. Kipping Patricia L. Kipping We found this documentary about one of our nation's pioneers of social activism moving and irresistible. Lovingly filmed--at least in part--by her son, this tribute both reminds those who have known Duckworth of what a great gutsy woman she is and those who haven’t of what it takes to make a difference. A self-described sufferer of “FMS”, or Fear of Missing Something, Duckworth has brought an admirable energy to all her endeavours, public and personal. A heartwarming antidote to cynical times, this film is nothing less than an inspiration for anyone who is wondering where have all the flowers gone.
My Feminism Canada 1997 Laurie Colbert, Dominique Cardona Laurie Colbert A well-made documentary that surveys the progress of feminism in the last few decades through interviews with some of the movement’s most fiercely intelligent minds. In some ways a necessary primer for “second-wave” feminism, the doc does not pretend to answer the big questions about race, class, and gender so much as poen these social signs up for further consideration. If it;s fixed closure and definitions you're looking for, watch the news.
In the Shadow of Hollywood Canada 2000 Sylvie Groulx A riveting documentary about the complexities of cultural imperialism, In the Shadow of Hollywood is nothing less than a stirring indictment of the American film distribution system and all the complicit ways the rest of the world (we’re talking Canada) submits to that system. The doc uncovers the history of that submission and domination, chronicling the various historic developments that have led to the current state of imbalance. This is a powerful and well-informed documentary on the amazing convergence of Hollywood culture and American foreign policy, and the subsequent marginality of Canada’s own production, exhibition, and distribution system. Anyone even vaguely interested in the history of the biz should see this film: it's worth a year of film courses all by itself.
Scourge Canada 1999 Lori Clarke Lori Clarke Lori Clarke Lori Clarke has turned out a superb lyrical essay on one of this province’s most notorious diseases, tuberculosis, without once resorting to documentary cliches or tired statistics. in short, this quick cinematic study packs a rich collection of historically based but richly evocative images of the disease and its profound social effects.After seeing this film you can’t help by admire the talent of the local industry, and the way women have enhanced it by transforming the world in exactly the way this director has.
Tight Canada 1999 Jillian Keiley Robert Chafe, Jillian Keiley Marion Cheeks How many times have you found yourself in a local theatre just itching to get out for a smoke, some air, or a psychic relief for the interminable production unfolding before your limpid eyes? how many times have you forced yourself to stay in your seats out of respect for the ten friends who re staging the very production before you? This film is a highly amusing short take on a tediously long experience. Local director Marion Cheeks, who knows well of what she produces, explores the friendship-fatal results of skipping out on a home-grown production before the final curtain. Supporting the local community is one thing: staying alive is another. This is a wonderfully comic spin on an all-too familiar experience, starring a cast of characters who have probably found themselves on both sides of the theatre at one time or another. You’ll laugh, you’ll applaud, you’ll be greatful for short funny films that give the people what they want.
My Left Breast Canada 2000 Gerry Rogers Paul Pope The comically ironic title of this wonderful documentary perfectly captures the comically ironic spirit of its subject--Gerry Rogers. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, Rogers decided to do what she has always done, even without a camera--turn her life into art. This film is the year-long personal chronicle of Rogers’ charged confrontation with the scary disease and all its life-challenging implications. The camera tags along and captures her experience, from post-diagnostic treatment to the crisis of breastlessness. My Left Breast manages to situate the very immediate experience of being sick within the wider sphere of the medical profession and its often inadequate ways of dealing with disease. Profoundly moving, often funny, and always rich exploration of one woman’s experience with breast cancer--but what a woman! We love ya, Ger.
Elling Lien