Tag Archives: Documentary

March 21

The Settlers

Canadian-Israeli filmmaker and NYU Professor of Political Cinema Shimon Dotan brings us a powerful, and occasionally disconcerting, documentary chronicling the daily lives of those living in Jewish settlements along the West Bank. If you don’t know much about the history of the region other than simply “It’s pretty tense over there, isn’t it?”, don’t worry. […]

March 10

Shadow Girl

“Going blind is a fear of darkness when you can see. Darkness has a different meaning when you are born blind” states filmmaker Maria Teresa Larrain at one point in her moving documentary Shadow Girl. For Larrain, going blind has been both a source of fear and inspiration. After years of working in the visual […]

February 26

My Scientology Movie

My Scientology Movie is infuriating, terrifying, and bizarre and I’m still coming down from it. This is nowhere near the first documentary on the subject of Scientology, but somehow it’s the first I’ve seen. Director John Dower and presenter Louis Theroux seem realize that they’d better come up with a new spin on the Scientology […]

February 24

I Am Not Your Negro

“What is going to happen to this country?” Novelist James Baldwin believes this the real question that should be considered, while appearing on The Dick Cavett Show, rather than the one he has been asked regarding why black people are not jovial about their better life. Of course Baldwin, and those taking in Raoul Peck’s […]

February 20

Politics, Love, and Music at TBFF17

In its fifth year, the Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) has established a stable foundation for future generations to build on. Smartly taking place during Black History month, the festival not only strives to showcase stories and filmmakers that highlight the black experience in cinema, but also helps to facilitate professional growth for those looking […]

February 18

TIFF Next Wave: 2 Fists Up

“They were trying to police how we fight for liberation” states Ayanna Poole, a University of Missouri student and founding member of the school’s Concerned Student 1950 activism group, recounting one particular protest that was designed to get a face-to-face meeting with university president Tim Wolfe. Despite being told to move their protest to the […]

January 15

Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival: Angry Inuk

An Inuit community in Canada’s northern territories faces an interesting challenge. How can a culture, that prides itself on a patient and understated expression of anger, make themselves heard when their opponents are famous for a more aggressive approach? Canadian seal hunting has gotten a lot of media attention since the late 1970s thanks to […]

January 13

Bugs

Imagine going to your favourite restaurant and ordering a dung beetle stew just as easily as you can order a gourmet hamburger. While the notion may seem far fetched to some, Andreas Johnsen’s latest film Bugs makes a convincing argument for insect infused culinary dishes. Embarking on a “gastronomic adventure” with Josh Evans and Ben […]

December 28

Tower

  On August 1 1966, Charles Whitman, a student at the University of Texas, barricaded himself in the tower of the main building on campus and opened fire on unsuspecting civilians. Armed with a sniper rifle, among other weapon, Whitman killed 16 people and wounded 36 others before he was taken out by police officers. […]

December 23

Reset

According to famed dancer Benjamin Millepied, ballet is all about, at its core, the relationship between music and movement. It is when these two elements are working in unison that the art form is most powerful. As directors Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai show in their documentary Reset, achieving this harmony, and making it look […]

December 21

The Thoughts That Once We Had

Though ostensibly a documentary, it is disingenuous to cast director Thom Andersen’s The Thoughts That Once We Had as anything but a spruced-up video essay.  It is a YouTube video stretched to nearly two hours, with a more-practiced hand at the helm.  Andersen is unabashed about his love of cinema, and clearly states that this […]

December 18

Kate Plays Christine

Kate Plays Christine is a confusing commentary on the public’s obsession with true crime drama.  The film is structured as a kind of documentary, focusing on an actress named Kate Lyn Sheil as she is preparing to play the role of Christine Chubbuck.  Chubbuck was a news anchor in Sarasota, Florida who infamously committed suicide […]

December 17

Hooligan Sparrow

In Hooligan Sparrow, director Nanfu Wang take great risks with her camera, and not just artistic ones.  Her film focuses on a woman named Ye Haiyan, also known as “Sparrow”, an infamous women’s rights activist who is known for viral stunts and art projects that shine a light on the abuse of women in China.  […]

December 13

Life, Animated

One of the remarkable things about Roger Ross Williams’ Life, Animated is the way it celebrates the power of film without feeling like a promotional tool for that which it praises. Disney movies have been leaving lasting impressions on generations of film lovers both young and old for many years. While their best films can […]

December 11

The Academy of Muses

Trying to review The Academy of Muses feels a lot like faking my way through an essay question on an exam for which I’ve barely studied. A professor of philology, which apparently is a thing, teaches an advanced course in Barcelona for which we get a front row seat. Professor Pinto’s class seems to offer […]

December 01

Don’t Blink – Robert Frank

When Robert Frank put out a book of his photographs called The Americans in 1958, it was panned by critics. They called him an angry, joyless, outsider. Today that same series of photographs is considered before its time, influential, seminal. The photos haven’t changed at all, nor the man taking them. It is only that the […]

November 30

Miss Sharon Jones!

When a film includes punctuation in its title, it’s a signal that you should pay attention. The exclamation adorning Miss Sharon Jones is no anomaly. The woman is a phenom worthy of exclamation. Often called the female James Brown, you’ll notice the similarities not just in the soulful tone of her voice, but in her […]

November 29

Netflix Pick: Sour Grapes

One of the unheralded cinematic bright spots of 2016 is the wonderful wealth of stellar documentaries that have been flowing into theatres and onto streaming services. Though they may lack the fanfare that often comes with the release of most blockbusters, this year’s crop of non-fiction tales have featured storytelling that is far more potent […]

November 28

The Seventh Fire

Rob Brown takes a moment to consider his beloved Ojibwe community, and pronounces its new tradition: booze and bingo. Director Jack Pettibone Riccobono gives us plenty of cut-away shots of the things that used to feature strongly in the aboriginal culture: water, trees, and sky, but those days are gone. Today Brown’s remote Minnesotan reserve is […]

November 21

BITS 2016: 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters

When you go the movie theatre, how much time do you spend looking at the movie posters that adorn the walls just outside the cinema your film is playing in? According to Kevin Burke’s documentary 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters, nowadays, we barely spend time looking at them at all. Considering that media consumption […]