2002 Films

Random Passage Canada John N. Smith Des Walsh (Screenwriter) Graham Benson, Barb Doran, Tristan Orphen-Lynch, Lorraine Richard, Jennice Ripley A much adored novel adapted for the screen. This film is the most extravagant production of it’s time to have been borne and raised locally, surely a sign of a strong and healthy film industry, the benefits of collaborative partners and generous funders, and a clear measure of the degree to which Mary Bundles’s own people eventually made a difference. So many thanks to CBC and to all the many dedicated participants who have made thisfilm not such a random act of passage after all!
Christopher Changes His Name Canada Cilia Sawadogo (Animation) Tamara Lynch Most kids probably hate the name they’re born with. Somebody else always seems to have a better handle. This short and lyrical animated film focuses on such a situation. You’re never too young to feel envy, and little Christopher whose family roots reach to Trinidad, is no exception. As Christopher (AKA Tiger) learns, maybe sometimes it’s better to stick with what you’ve got.
Lonesome Monsieur Turgeon/La Solitude de Monsieur Turgeon Canada Jeanne Crepeau Jeanne Crepeau Jeanne Crepeau This wonderful animated short is about a lonely guy with a big head. Monsieur Turgeon lives a life of quiet desperation, enlivened by the occasional fantasy and the unpredictable sounds of the busy urban world that surrounds him. Life trudges on, a series of meaningless routines and insignificant gestures. As dreary as this seems, this compelling little story is nuanced with wit and irony, color and motion.
Bearwalker Canada Shirley Cheechoo Shirley Cheechoo Shirley Cheechoo This passionate drama will suspend both your disbelief and your assumptions about First Nations experience. This remarkable film ranges over a variety of subjects and tones, surprising us with its shifts and edges. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes comic, and always witty and wise.
The Boy Who Saw the Iceberg Canada Paul Driessen Marcy Page Paul Driessen An animated split screen presentation of two possible worlds, one imagined, one real. At some point it becomes difficult to tell the difference. This film will challenge your expectations of animation, and the way you actually look at the screen. This utterly sophisticated universe is layered with possibilities, perhaps the way a child’s imagination itself actually runs.
A Monster's Calling Canada Louise Johnson ANIMATION: Michael Fukushima Louise Johnson From the National Film Board’s talented stable of animators, this film draws on the inner life of dreams and fears to tell a story. When the lights go out, children’s minds tend to light up. The bedroom can become a sinister site, the closet harbouring boogeymen and the bed concealing predators. This innovative short explores the range of late-night figures populating the minds of children, using 3D animation to show us those minds in haunting and mysterious ways.
Lights for Gita Canada Michael Vo ANIMATION: Gregory Houston Tamara Lynch Very much a study of the potential of Canadian multiculturalism, this animated short tells the charmed tale of Gita, an 8 year old who has moved across the world from New Delhi to Montreal. Her excitement stems from anticipation of celebrating her native holiday of Davilai, a festival of lights, but she’s devastated when and ice storm hits the city and thwarts her party plans. Without electricity Gia has nothing else to do but walk the icy streets, but sometimes bad weather is transformative, and Gia discovers the enchanting power of nature.
Body Rhythm Cadences Canada Wayne Traudt (Animation) Wayne Traudt This animated lok is a fluid celebration of movement itself. As the title suggests, Body Rhythm pulsates with sensual appeal. It’s got a great beat and you’ll enjoy bum wiggling to it.
Christopher, Please Clean Up Your Room Canada Vincent Gauthier ANIMATION: Jo Meuris, Vincent Gauthier Sugith Varughese Tamara Lynch The title pretty well says it all. Christopher is a great kid and a slob, and this charming animated film aims to show the difference. Apparently neatness counts. With the help of some chatty cockroaches, Christopher discovers that very maxim, This cute and lively short teaches without preachers. Neatness seems to go down better that way.
Through the Eyes of Another USA Jennifer Machiorlatti Jennifer Machiorlatti Jennifer Machiorlatti The title is longer than the film itself, but you really have to see it to appreciate its lyrical feminism. A part of a longer series by Machiorlatti, this film is the shortened version of a travelogue based on a woman’s four-month adventures traversing the planet. We see glimpses of India, China, Japan and Morocco, national sites where artisans have been drawing on the godly powers of the muse for centuries. More interpretive experience than straight-ahead documentary, this film is a refresher course on female power. Even better: you get to travel without getting your shots.
From Far Away Canada Shira Avni, Serene Eh-Haj Daoud Sugith Varughese Michael Fukushima At some point in cultural history cartoons took on more serious subjects. This particular little tale proves it. Told from the point of view of a little girl who escapes war-torn Beirut for Canada, this film explores the uneasy relations between the newcomer and her adopted country. Canada can be pretty threatening if you don’t speak the language(s). Sometimes it takes a little longer to feel at home.
Strange Invaders Canada Cordell Barker Jennifer Torrance, Cordell Barker Mr. Dress-Up meets the X-Files? There’s simply no way to describe this film in any accurate way. It’s too good, too inventive, and too powerful a story to capture in a breezy paragraph. Let’s just say it;s about a couple who are having difficulty conceiving a child, and one night they are invaded by a little visitor.He’s teeny and odd but they adopt him anyway, and the rest is more than they bargained for. The director claims that the inspiration came from being a Dad to “three evil boys”.
Nupur USA Aparna Malladi Aparna Malladi Aparna Malladi The title literally translates as “ankle bracelets” but it also happens to be the name of the sweet central figure, a curious little Indian girl. Like a kitten she often wanders off in search of newness; her parents adorn her with the bracelets so they can hear where she is meandering. But this is a child whose intuition resists all such confining conventions, and it;s only a matter of time before she is totally out of sight. And sound. Gorgeously shot, this film fully evokes place and character in a few economically matched minutes.
Season of Planting Girls Egypt Viola Shafik Maggie Morgan This Egyptian-based documentary now comes to us with a sobering and sophisticated account of female circumcision. The subject is horrible, but the film is anything but. Independent filmmaker Shafik sets out for the high road, exploring this disturbing cultural practice from the points of view of those--men and women--for and against it. Instead of graphic exploitation, Shafik takes her camera to a circle of Egyptian women who freely talk about a familiar custom. We might not always like what we hear, but the film wisely respects all the voices that have a claim on the topic.
Tracks in the Snow Canada Shirley CheechooDIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Cree School Board: James Bay, Daisy Herodier Shirley Cheechoo Shirley Cheechoo This compelling doc follows a journey at once physical and spiritual. The director joins a group of James Bay Cree children and their elders as they follow a well-trodden trapline, living the old ways, speaking only Cree, and practicing the time-honoured traditions of her people. The journey is also a fundraiser, calling attention to a tragic disease inflicting Cree babies; the unpronounceable Leukoencephalopathy. As with all her films, the director brings a vision of promise to the screen, illuminating an entire way of life in one northern journey.
Quelque Chose Dans L’Air Canada Sylvie Dauphinais Jean-Daniel Lafond Diane Poitras We really admire this important NFB documentary/ Shot exclusively on and about Prince Edward Island, the film dares to challenge all those benignly pastoral tourism accounts of life in Anne’s country. Indeed, if the Green Gable girl ever saw this film she’d be hyperventilating all the way to Japan. As it turns out, PEI is not what it seems. Rolling verdant hills, acres of bountiful farmland, and friendly sandy beaches mask the reality of life among the ruins of chemical-enhanced landscapes. Why does PEI hold the record for asthma-related hospitalizations? Why do so many kids on the island breathe through oxygen masks? Where do all of the allergens come from? The health of PEI kids is brought to light in this film. After hearing the alarm bells being ring, you’ll never eat one of those island spuds without choking again.
Ladies in Waiting Canada Lulu Keating Lulu Keating Lulu Keating This film is nothing less than director Keating’s way of having fun with the girls. Shot in home-movie Super 8, this whimsical short dresses up a bunch of women in adult clothing and lets them chat and pass the salt. Observing the women and their endlessly moving lips is a young girl, Emlyn, who is probably the eyes and ears of the director herself. More a small and subtle meal of impressions than a grand feast of female themes, this film still fills your with pleasure.
Team Red USA Ann Alter Ann Alter This film describes a form of murder by HIV. This award-winning film follows three hired “hit”-people, each claiming to have HIV and and each describing an organized plan to infect unsuspecting high-powered businessmen with the disease. This film takes risks even the most entrepreneurial Wall Street Trader never imagined.
Miss Blindsight USA Wendy Snyder MacNeil Alice Wingwall Wendy Snyder MacNeil It’s impossible not to like this unusual documentary about an utterly remarkable woman. Indeed, the slight-challenged Alice Wingwall is herself a co-director of this work, a testimony of her will-to-normalcy. WIth Wendy Snyder, Wingwall patiently records her own diurnal challenges. How does one dance, walk, drive, skate, make tea and art without full sight? With a guide dog and difficulty sure, but also with humor, wit, and sheer resolution. Here’s a woman for whom touching a wall is a major dal, let alone taking a photograph. It certainly seems as if Wingwall’s artistic drive gives her an edge in a dark and clumsy world. Humbling without pity, this film is an oxymoron of affirmation.
Tommy Canada Mary Sexton, Nigel Markham Kent Martin With the love and skills of a few good sisters, Tommy Sexton lives on through the luminous power of the screen. No self respecting Newfoundlander would want to miss this affectionate documentary about the life and work of one of the province’s most famous sons. When Tommy was alive he lit up the room, the stage, the ube, and the island. He was a natural performer, a hilarious exibitionist, and the heart of all the parties. This film intercuts recollections by his large family of siblings and his courageous mother with rewinds of so many of those brilliant skits. The time flies by far too quickly, leaving us laughing remembering, and craving much more.
My Aunt Lila: A Mad Documentary Canada Lila Pine Lila Pine Lila Pine This is definitely a doc worth seeing for the fascinating journey back into the filmmaker’s past. In an attempt to uncover why her aunt ended up in a mental asylum, Lila Pine grounds a personal search in the wider context of the unfriendly fifties. She might not know the full answer to her personal questions, but she does learn that if a woman didn’t measure up to patriarchal expectations she might have ended up committed and confined. Even menopause was considered a condition of insanity. This film is at once disturbing and edgy. Above all, it’s a fresh example of how to tell a story.
Bollywood Bound Canada Nisha Pahuja Karen King-Chigbo Hooray for Bollywood, where West meets East and stars are a Rupee a dozen. This film is a superb feature study of two young Canadians with Sout hAsian roots who decide to try their fortune in the thriving economy of the Indian motion picture industry. They look culturally correct and can claim the advantage of a Western education, so why wouldn’t Bollywood want them? The answer is complex, part of what makes this feature documentary so interesting and intelligent. We are so familiar with stories of new Canadians who struggle to find space and identity in a new world, but this film tracks the movement the other way. Hence, this is an especially original spi on cultural convergence and resistance. Provocative, witty, and endlessly fascinating, this is one of those rare works of art that will stay with you long after the taste of samosas have disappeared.
A Sigh and A Wish: Helen Creighton’s Maritimes Canada Donna Davies Donna Davies Kent Martin In the late twenties, Helen Creighton was a naive journalist merely looking for a story. She ended up turning that task into a life’s worth of meaning. When she encountered Enos Hartland, a native of Hartland point near Halifax, she sense she had stumbled upon a living archive. He claimed he knew as many songs as there were stars in the sky, and she listened to them all, recognizing the newness of her discovery and the significance of the encounter. For the rest of her life Creighton carted recording equipment around with her to the bays and backwaters of the region, ensuring that posterity would forever preserve these time-honoured tunes. Perhaps even more interesting, this admiring tribute to a diligent woman doesn’t shy away from other questions of moral and cultural interest. Some in the film express their disappointment that Creighton avoided certain kinds of songs, especially those celebrating the worker or lamenting the poverty of the region. Did Creighton edit her own ethnography, and should we hold that against her? This intelligent biopic goes further than most in advancing some important questions about the conequences of social observation.
The Notorious Mrs. Armstrong Canada Paula Kelly Paula Kelly Liz Jarvis, Paula Kelly If you know anything about Manitoba, you know that the defining story of that province’s social history is the General Strike of 1919. In the rubble of Official History are many untold stories. The director commits herself to recovering an important female figure whose life and work intersected with many of those stories. Helen Armstrong was a dynamic and fearless personality who led Manitoban women head-long into the Strike. In fleshing out such a remarkable woman’s life, the director not only celebrates one woman’s life but also blazes her own trail in the emerging landscape of women’s cinema. Watch for a special appearance by MUN Historian Linda Kealey whose own contributions to women’s work serve history honourably.
Have A Nice Day Canada Jennifer Babcock Jennifer Babcock, Carol Lavalee If you’ve ever harboured fantasies of being a waitress, then this film might just cure you. Self described as a “shameless glorification of the women who serve”, this witty doc probes the inner life of a girl in uniform. This film follows four women who were chosen for this project out of the many who responded to the filmmaker’s call. Each works in a unique venue, as different from each other as beans from beef. A celebration of working women everywhere, this film is particular in its account of the stresses and strains besetting female servers. Balancing a tray is the least of their worries. Presumptuous men, saucy customers, pinching employers, ungrateful diners: these are a few of their unfavorite things, yet each finds humor and pleasure in the demanding duties of their job. if you like this movie, please leave a generous tip.
Ame Noire/Black Soul Canada Martine Chartrand Martine Chartrand Martine Chartrand An exuberant survey of black history, this film derives its power from the morphing nature of its painted images. The film has a buoyant energy about it, carrying us back into the past and forward in time with zippity doo dah. the narrative hook is an encounter between a young boy and his grandmother who draws him into stories of his people’s past. She talks, he imagines, and the filmmaker brings it all to life. it’s hard not to get caught up in the sway of this lyrical film or its evocative music, which by itself is worth the price of your bag of popcorn.
Little Moments Canada Darlene Lim Darlene Lim Darlene Lim If this sort were any sweeter we’d have to eat it at intermission. 8-year old Amanda realizes during a tiff with a classmate that she is not Caucasian. The charge is alarming and strange. Why didn’t she know this before?How do you know you’re different if you’ve assumed you’re not? the encounter, a moment of sudden and heightened awareness, alters her entire view of the world. Nothing will ever be the same again.
The Day Jesus Melted Canada Su Rynard Su Rynard This film captures a childhood moment of revelation. What happens when your fetish object turns to wax? We don’t want to spoil the whole story for you so we suggest you simply light a candle and watch it.
In the Wings Canada Lisa Robertson Lynn McPherson Brent Barclay, Natalie Hoban A clever piece of drama that concerns itself with drama itself. Set in a retirement home for performers, this film focuses on the artsy and neurotic inhabitants whose lives were once wedded to the stage. A product of the Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre, this well crafted drama has already played in various international festivals. We understand why: wit and poignancy make for a potent and appealing mix.
Joan UK Jann Dunn Georgia Pritchett Jann Dunn If you like Monty Python’s Flying Circus you’ll love this killingly droll piece from the same English place across the pond. It throws the great Saint herself, armor, buzz cut, steed, and all, right into the heart of the City. This is one of those What if…? scenarios, in which Joan, her date, and his mum and dad try to get to know each other. You’ll laugh, you’ll smile, you’ll wonder where Joan parks her horse.
Spa-tel USA Diane Sherry-Case Diane Sherry-Case Kasey Sixt, Sondi Kvoeger A stunningly short blast of desert sun, this film achieves an unusual narrative edginess. This interesting short film surprises at every turn. A born-to-be-wildish couple, Peach and Billy, find themselves stranded at a suspiciously shabby motel, surrounded by stretches of white sand and lots of bare blue sky. When Billy leaves to look after things, Peach is left alone with the owner, bea, a strange and knowing woman who appears to know the ways of the desert better than Carlos Castaneda. That all said, keep in mind that the dramatic question of the film is whether or not Peach should or will wear underwear.
Emily Canada Liz Pickard Liz Pickard Justin Hall You’ll want to see/hear this music video again and again. This film is irrefutable evidence of local composer/performer Lz Pickard’s glorious talent, not to mention her ability to make beautiful babies. This is Liz’s electric anthem to her first child. The video comes to us via the evocative black and white photos of the awesomely talented Justin Hall, who manages to capture something deep and knowing in a child’s naive expressions. While Liz croons with that unmistakably strong voice of hers, Emily looks back at the camera in wonder,over 13 years of life just rocking by.
Multiplicity Canada Monica Kidd Jeanette Winterson Monica Kidd, Derek Norman This debut short film by local reporter, author, runner, and poet Monica Kidd, is remarkably accomplished. This film is a largely lyrical experiment on the process of discovery. Time-lapse photography (the passage of a day over an island off the coast of Newfoundland) and a serial motif of several hands writing a line of Jeanette Winterson’s prose contribute to the hypnotic effects of the work. A stunning first film, Multiplicity promises yet another career of this obviously gifted director.
Hindsight Australia Melanie Brunt Melanie Brunt Victorian College of the Arts This clever short drama skillfully crams about a year’s worth of Oprah topics into one intelligent film. The central character, Halina, is lost in mourning her deceased daughter. Upon discovering an old home movie of her daughter Haline loops it around the projector reels in a kind of therapeutic exorcism. But something starts to happen on the screen and soon enough Halina discovers too much information. Hindsight comes to us from Australia, which just proves that down under can look the same as up above when your eyes are wide open.
The Pubmer’s Waltz Canada John Doyle Lis Porter Paul Pope This film is some gorgeous piece of work. Lisa Porter could probably turn sump pumps into wine if we asked her to. Here she takes us on a choreographed adventure into a maze of subterranean pipes/ George Morgan’s suggestive music shares equal attention with the surreal visual landscape. If our basements were really this promising we’d happily move our TV sets upstairs.
Now It's Our Turn Canada Marion Cheeks Marion Cheeks, Monique Tobin Marion Cheeks If an arts festival is held in the forest na no one records it, is it really there? Wisely, Marion Cheeks and her own creative team sidestep the question by showing and telling. So it is that the Labrador Creative Arts Festival does exist. This documentary extends the activity of a regional event to much wider audiences who can participate in both celebrating creative arts in general and Labrador in particular. The wonderful paradox of film is that it captures the living stories forever. Long live documentary films and the Cheeky women who make them!
One Man, Six Wives, and Twenty-Nine Children UK Jane Treays Jane Treays Jane Treays No, this fascinating documentary is not a promotional film for viagra. It is, however, about the profoundly fertile Tom Green, fundamentalist Mormon, father, polygamist and unlikely stud-master. Perhaps it took a woman and a citizen of the UK to gain intimate access to the trailer-park compound in Utah where Green and his apparently merry band of Swiss Family Robinson look-alikes hang out. Whatever, the result is a totally gripping inquiry into the life and style of a man with a mission. The film brings us up to the moment of Green’s 2000 trail for polygamy,which concluded with Green being convicted and sentenced for his many pleasures. Never dismissive or condescending, Treays’ film gives lots of time to the voices of the various wives, each of whom sure sounds happy enough. So although the subject matter is remarkably sensational, the film itself never is. It takes a lot of good judgement to stand back as she does, and this documentary is all the more interesting because of it.
A Time of Love and War (Lettres D’Amour et de la Guerre) Canada Sabrina Mathews Sabrina Mathews Michelle Smith A timely documentary about the effects of war, this strong presentation is about an unlikely friendship between two women, one of them being Sabrina Mathews, the artist-filmmaker. Like many other Canadian of a certain generation, Mathews as involved in the Sandinista politics of Nicaragua in the 90s. Over a decade after first meeting Martha Aguilar, Matthews returns to Nicaragua to meet up with her again. In the years since their first meeting they maintain a steady letter-writing correspondence, as the world evolves, the Soviet Union dissolves, babies are born, and Nicaragua reaches a measure of stability. Clearly this doc believes that the political is illuminated through a close-up study of the personal, and, indeed, it is difficult not to be at once both moved and enlightened upon seeing this film.
MLB2K USA Morgan Bornstein Morgan Bornstein The title is perplexing, but everything will make perfect sense upon seeing this witty little doc about a lesbian beauty contest. if you thought all beauty contests, lesbians, and short documentaries were alike, you haven't seen this film, and that is why God invented women's film festivals.
The Bridge Man USA Noriko Takabishi Noriko Takabishi Noriko Takabishi This is a short lyrical expression of the experience of loss. An African-American soldier meets a Japanese woman while on duty. They relocate and live happily almost ever after to New york. Life happens, the man is widowed. Inspired by Claude Debussy's familiar Clair de Lune, director Takabishi wisely recognized the power of music to express what words might trivialize.
The Goddess Method Canada Punam Sawhney Punam Sawhney Punam Sawhney, Javed Ali The goddess method is a form of the rhythm method but without the mess. This startling short drama is about how you get to who you are. The Toronto-born director describes the story as a man’s search for his soul. When the man has to struggle against years of social conditioning, parents and his own confusion, then the process is particuarly arduous. How a filmmaker managed to tell such a story and so well in a mere 6 minutes is surely part of the mystery.
Breathe Canada Lori Clarke Lori Clarke Lori Clarke We really admire local Lori Clarke’s ability to harness medical fact to artistic purpose. This project extends Clarke’s video practice to the study of breathing, part of a larger and ongoing project in the body. Particularly effective here is the technique of associative imagery, as the viewer is drawn into an impressionistic tableau of the most fundamental act we do. Take a deep you-know-what and enjoy.
Mistaken Point Canada Theresa O’Leary Theresa O’Leary Derek Norman This film is generally concerned with the universal experience of of loss, but it;s specifically about a Newfoundlander's unique experience of it. Graveyards overlooking the sea are ubiquitous here, and death by the water haunts even the most landlocked townie. In this debut short, O’Leary skillfully exploits limited resources to narrate an epic tale.
Jack and Diane USA Wendy Wilkins Steve Walsh Wendy Wilkins If you laid the lyrics to all the popular tunes in the world end to end, you’d get a lot of repetition. Indeed, one person’s romance is another Top 40 tune. This film is shrewdly aware of how breaking up is hard to do. When life is not a bowl of cherries you might as well whistle a happy tune. Finger-snappingly amusing.
Drumba Canada Liz Goldberg, Warren Bass Liz Goldberg, Warren Bass Look quickly. This animated short is a tour de force of speed sketching. Each frame of this short was drawn freehand in less than 3 seconds time--that’s 72 illuminated frames in the time it takes to reach for your popcorn. The ostensible subject of this experiment is choreography, but the obvious appeal lies in the strategic shifts from image to image, all accompanied by the beat of a powerfully pulsating drum machine. Ba da bing!
The Magic of Anansi Canada Jamie Mason Sugith Varughese Tamara Lynch Children 5-9 are pitched in this lovely jungle fable about a spider with a web disability; he can’t seem to catch bugs. Aching for respect he learns how to earn it the hard way, but that’s better than no way at all. A talented animation team assembled these computer-assisted drawings to bring the world of the animal kingdom to a theatre near you.
Hello Baby Canada Rae Staseson Rae Staseson As a teacher herself, director Staseson’s work is directly interested in the subject of instruction. When she came upon an old record aimed at instructing parakeets to talk she knew she was on to more than Polly wanting a cracker. This film borrows the traditional male voice of instructional authority and voices it through the ruby-red lips of a woman’s mouth. The result is incrementally disturbing. What begins as an amusing idea eventually assumes a sinister subtlety.
Sitting Next to Bernie Canada Aidan Kelly Aidan Kelly Aidan Kelly This is Kelly’s first film and a happy products of her experience at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. A lively and evocative musical score fills in for dialogue, but the images tell the story best. This is an utterly charming set of drawings that in their delicate simplicity carry the full weight of feeling. We really loved the sweet sophistication of this film about a woman and the memory of an absent friend that animates her own world.
Breaths USA Amy Ellison Amy Ellison, Stacy Horn Stacy Horn Breaths is a vividly rendered comedy of difference. The film focuses on Ellen, a perky high schooler who aches to fit in. But Ellen’s asthma is so severe she has to rely on a “nebulizer” to get by. Afraid to look weird and desperate for approval she risks her own health. A Goth girl named Jackie proves to Ellen that good nebulizers make god locker neighbours. High production values, great acting and obviously bags of talent make this film well worth 22 minutes of inhalation and exhalation.
When I Was Seven Canada Jessica Bradford Jessica Bradford Andrea Bastin We can all recall early transformative moments, dramatic markings indicating a shift from one view of the world to another. This film captures one such memory. filmmaker Bradford immaculately captures her own experience of change. One person’s small and meaningless moment is another's life-shaping drama. Tess, the 7-year old, is chased by Nathan. this is Tess’s story. who know what Nathan would make of it?
Traces USA Alexa Shluz Alexa Shluz Matthias Grunsky In the words of the filmmakers, this is a ‘comic-tragic story about gummy bear voodoo”. Yes, and it is as wonderfully silly as it sounds. The impressive American Film Institute helped produce this amusing revenge story. There are many ways to get even but it takes an especially shrewd woman to use candy to expose her good-for-nothing lover.
Lip Service Canada Ann Marie Fleming Ann Marie Fleming Ann Marie Fleming Unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, this film hovers between several boundaries: live-action and animation, comedy and tragedy, make-up and make believe. You really have to see it to appreciate it, but you should know that the plot involves a single woman without an upper lip who becomes a private eye. Still with us? Trust us, Lip Service pays off more than its deliberately misleading title suggests.
About Face Canada Marilyn Cherenko Marilyn Cherenko Marilyn Cherenko Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most tired, weary, sallow-faced of all? You wake up, you look at yourself, you probably don’t like what you see. This film is a complex assemblage of animation techniques, from call drawing to computer enhancement, collage and water-color sketches, all in the service of exploring the psychological trauma of simply looking in that familiar medicine cabinet glass. Waking up is especially hard to do , especially on the morning of the night before.
Hockey Stories Canada Kim Thompson Kim Thompson Kim Thompson Regardless of whether you cheer for the Habs, the Leafs, or the guy in the Labatt’s commercials, you’ll appreciate his wonderfully animated set of short tributes to four NHL heroes. Director Thompson shoots and scores by bringing to life the figures who once ruled hockey trading cards. Hockey Stories makes sure the golden days keep their color.
Swimming Alive USA Sayer Frey Sayer Frey Sayer Frey Director Frey turns an otherwise banal subject into a serious issue: a woman’s right to keep her bathing suit on. We could probably devote an entire festival to the subject of women and bathing suits, about as culturally loaded a wardrobe object as there is. This serious little film reminds us that even with bathing suits, no means no.
Journey Swiftly Passing USA Barbara Klutinis Barbara Klutinis This film is a moving tribute to the memory of the director’s father. No film can capture the measure of anyone’s life, but good filmmakers know how to make that very point, even while showing us glimpses of the whole. As its title suggests, this film is not a lament so much as a meditation on the paradox of life. Spirits live on in mysterious ways, as in this very film. There’s an experimental quality to this film, but ultimately its images are powerfully accessible.
Recipe USA Caryn Cline Caryn Cline Caryn Cline A “terrific aura-visual poem” about the relations between a woman and her mother. Take one talented filmmaker and a universal theme and you are likely to get a recipe for something wonderful.
I Was Born A Black Woman Brazil Masia Menonça, Vincent Franco Kit Miller Kit Miller This formidable documentary is a tribute to Benedita da Silva, the first Afo-Brazilian woman to be elected to the Brazilian Senate. da Silva traversed many paths and overcame many obstacles before rising to the ranks of political office. Drawing on her own experience among the poor and dispossessed, she connected well and deeply with her constituency. This film transcends the limits of personal biography, however, by showing the bigger global picture of race and poverty. A small budget and a large vision made this powerful and affirmative film possible.
L’éternité: Ou la Disparition d’une Culture Canada Marie-Claire Dugas Marie-Claire Dugas Diane Poitras Filmmaker Dugas inquires into something we all might have taken for granted, the continuance of Acadian culture. This assumption of cultural stability was certainly fed by the massive 1994 reunion in New brunswick of Acadians scattered all over North America. But globalization has been steadily undermining such certainties; and of course globalization means the ultimate domination of the English language. We might still speak French in Moncton, but is this enough to secure a distinct identity? This and other changing questions provoked Dugas to confront the possible disappearance of Acadian culture.
Tableaux d’un Voyage Imaginaire Canada Chedly Belkhodja, Jean Chabot Jean Chabot Diane Poitras This intelligent documentary dares to ask the question; does cultural tourism kill culture? The filmmakers prefer to let their chosen Atlantic sites speak for themselves. After all, what commentary could possibly be added to the images of a Japanese couple travelling halfway around the world to get married in the Anne of Green Gables “house”? Rather than merely shoot cheap and easy targets, this film explores the appeal, benefits, and possible negative consequences of cultural tourism policy, a new priority on government agenda. In other words, it covers the territory without sermonizing. Local audiences will get a special kick of the Viking footage. Spectator be warned: it could lead to wincing.
Un Everest de L’interieur Canada Sylvie Van Brabant, C-A. Nadon Sylvie Van Brabant C-A. Nadon It’s almost as difficult to resist this documentary as it is to scale Everest. This film documents a Canadian expedition to climb the famously steep mountain without oxygen or Sherpas. Watching four arguably sane men attempt such a thing is a lot safer than accompanying them. This entertaining documentary takes us right to the north face, armchair trekkers on an arduous journey of heroic proportions. We witness four people struggling not only with nature but also with each other. Nothing like the world’s highest mountain to bring out the best--and worst--in everyone. If you think walking up Signal Hill is a challenge you’ll drop your jaw at these characters.
Dernier Appel Canada Caroline Martel Nicole Lamothe This edgy documentary tracks the emergence of solidarity among the 2,400 telephone operators who dared to resist the power of their employer. On strike and mad as hell, a group of vocal women on the lines gave expression to the insane practices in their workplace. Six ferociously brave women are features in this documentary about Bell Canada’s abrupt sell out of their own operations to an American call centre. Many of these women had devoted half of their life to the company, only to be unceremoniously dumped with the assistance of free trade and market capitalism. Braced by both the public and the media, the women’s resistance went a long way. This film is an inspiring and lucid testimony of the courage of those workers on whom so many of us depend.
My Father’s Camera Canada Karen Shopsowitz Silva Basmajian Moving pictures of family life have started to replace the traditional family album, and many films draw on this fact with diverse results. This director had a special advantage in that her Dad himself was an ammeature filmmaker, always ready with his Super 8 to capture life and history on the fly. Inspired by her personal collection of memories, she has made a documentary about the history of the Super 8 itself, arguably more important an apparatus for the family than the toaster or vacuum cleaner. People who make Super 8 movies are the luckiest people in the world, at least until the invention of the Camcorder.
Waging Peace Canada Teresa MacInnes Teresa MacInnes Peter d’Entremont This topical documentary has garnered lots of national attention. Director MacInnes followed the misadventures of a Nova Scotia high school over the course of a year, driven by a need to record the very difficult struggle all instructors, staff, and students face in a wake of reduced resources, cultural restlessness, the rise of bullying, and multi-cultural conflict. This film is the edited result of the director’s abundant footage, shaped into a coherent narrative of conflict and compromise. It’s a jungle in there, and it takes guts, compassion, and sheer bullheadedness to make sure chaos is kept in check.
Industrial/Organic Australia Kira Rea Kira Rea Kira Rea The title might be oxymoronically puzzling, but this vivid short experiment makes perfect sense. Indeed, this brilliant little film actually tackles a complex subject, the effects of material culture on nature. Have we moved so far from the earth that we scarcely recognize it anymore? Ironically, paradoxically, oxymoronically, here it takes a technological apparatus like a camera to raise these very questions. The best thing about the technology of film is that it can turn such questions into poetic argument. Nature might be elusive but the mind keeps dreaming its way back.
The Invitation UK James Erksine, Danny McCullough Emily Corcoran Emily Corcoran, Sarah Earl We simply adore this hilarious romantic comedy, an elaborate joke that reminds us of what is so good and outrageous in British culture. The set-up is a weekend sojourn in the English countryside. William and Zeze are invited to drop in on Sarah, William’s recently widowed ex-girlfriend. When they pull up to a manion even Jane Austen would find impressive, the plot thickens. A crew of well-known actors lend class and clout to this already ingenious script.
Lost and Delerious Léa Pool Judith Thompson (Screenwriter) Lorraine Richard, Greg Dymmett, Louis-Philippe Rochon, Richard Rochon Take two gorgeous private school girls, mix the together in the dorm, see them get hot for each other, watch the elders rage. This cinematically stunning film is adapted from Susan Swan’s gender-troubled novel, The Wives of Bath. Tory and Paulie are the central lovers in this gorgeous melodrama of their emerging lives, but the film’s point of view rests squarely with a third party, an observant bystander and naive roommate named Mouse. The movie therefore has a literary feel to it, adding visual metaphor to the literary frame and layering the dialogue with rich texture and sensual allure.
I Shout Love Sarah Polley Sarah Polley Meredith Caplan, Jennifer Weiss Tessa knows that she’s about to get dumped by Bobby for another woman, so she persuades him to reenact their most poignant moments on video. ostensibly to keep a record of a good time that once was. In I Shout Love, the director positions the personal in line with and in counterpoint to the political, and reflects her well-known interests in the intersection of art and politics. Well produced, craftily staged, and shrewdly timely, this film takes its inspired title from the poetry of Milton Acorn, Canada’s unofficial poet laureate of the dispossessed and powerless.
Elling Lien