Tag Archives: Documentary

May 24

Inside Out 2017: Mansfield 66/67

The documentary Mansfield 66/67 trades in the same camp as its iconic subject: “Blonde Bombshell” Jayne Mansfield. The film focuses on the last two years of the starlet’s life, reveling in the rumors that swirled and the legends that the papers saw fit to print. The film is built from celebrity interviews, discussions with cultural […]

May 23

Inside Out 2017: Free Cece

On one horrific night in June 2011, Cece McDonald was violently attacked while walking with her friends. Attempting to defend herself, Cece, a transgendered woman, accidentally stabbed one of her attackers. Her incarceration sparked an international outcry as it once again highlighted the injustice that the transgender community endure when it comes to the criminal […]

May 06

Hot Docs 2017: The Force

Over at In the Seats, I reviewed the mesmerizing film The Force which plays Hot Docs one last time tomorrow. I have included the film’s Hot Docs synopsis and a link to my review below: The Force Hot Docs synopsis: ”A stunningly intimate fly-on-the-wall account of the beleaguered Oakland Police Department as it battles to […]

May 05

Hot Docs 2017: Island Soldier

A woman clings to a casket draped in the American flag as tears roll down her face. It is a scene that has sadly played out in many states, however, this is not America. This is the Federated States of Micronesia, a remote group of islands that have been supplying the U.S. military with soldiers […]

May 05

Hot Docs 2017: Recruiting for Jihad

Ubaydullah Hussain is an Islamist missionary who is also a recruiter, though he often denies the latter. Despite the philosophical rhetoric he spouts, when it comes to defining what a recruiter is, Hussain dedicates a large chunk of his time to helping young radicalized Norwegian men make their way to battle in Syria. Like a […]

May 04

Hot Docs 2017: Ramen Heads

In Koki Shigeno’s Ramen Heads, the homey Japanese comfort food is lovingly explored, revealing the complex quintessence of broth and noodle.  The documentary focuses on Osamu Tomita, the preeminent ramen chef in Japan and winner of three consecutive end-of-the-year awards for best ramen in the land. We delve into Tomita’s kitchen and learn his ramen […]

May 04

Hot Docs 2017: Hobbyhorse Revolution

I was excited to see Hobbyhorse Revolution because I’d heard of, and was mystified by, ‘hobbyhorsing’ and needed to know more about it. Hobbyhorsing is a lot like the horse competitions you’re used to seeing on TV, or in Olympic events.  Dressage, an equestrian sport, is the highest expression of horse training. In the events, […]

May 03

Hot Docs 2017: The Quiet Zone

I’m not sure you can ever know what it feels like in someone else’s skin. You can identify with certain issues, headaches, a stubbed toe, a bumped funny bone, but you can’t rate someone else’s experience with pain. If you had to live with numerous kinds of pain, and someone told you there was a […]

May 03

Hot Docs 2017: A Cambodian Spring

Land rights are a super contentious issue in Cambodia, where the communist Khmer Rouge regime banned private property in the 1970s, destroying tonnes of land documents in the process. As a result, at least two thirds of Cambodians, most of them poor, of course, don’t have proper deeds for the land they live on. Over the […]

May 02

Hot Docs 2017: Integral Man

Writer-director Joseph Clement’s subject for Integral Man is the modern renaissance man Jim Stewart.  Stewart is a brilliant concert-level violinist with a contagious passion for music, but he is also an accomplished teacher of mathematics.  Spurred on by some students who told him that his notes on the chalkboard were clearer than the textbook they […]

May 02

Hot Doc 2017: Birth of a Family

Tasha Hubbard’s Birth of a Family documents the first meeting of a family torn asunder by racist government policies, decades after their separation.  As infants, Betty Ann, Esther, Rosalie, and Ben were taken from their indigenous mother and placed into separate white homes across North America as part of Canada’s “Sixties Scoop”.  The story of […]

May 02

Hot Docs 2017: Step

As the final credits began to roll on Amanda Lipitz’s Step, a woman sitting next to me turned and said “wow.” She stated that she felt like she had cried throughout the whole film, the sound of sniffles and the frequent dabbing of eyes did not go unnoticed, but these were clearly tears of joy. […]

May 01

Hot Docs 2017: Unarmed Verses

The Toronto Community Housing’s Villaways neighbourhood is viewed as a slum by some, but for 12-year-old Francine Valentine it is home. However, it may not be her home for much longer. With the area about to go through a massive redevelopment, one that will bring shiny new condos that most of the current residents will […]

May 01

Hot Docs 2017: Living the Game

The biggest change between grade 8 and grade 9 was that once I started high school I was allowed to leave school property on lunch. And leave I did. Every weekday from noon to 1, my friends and I walked to the nearest arcade. When I had quarters, I spent them, and when I was […]

May 01

Hot Docs 2017: Manic

It’s apparent that Kalina Burton’s Manic is made with passion, care, and respect for the mental health of its subjects: Burton’s own brother and sister.  It’s also clear that an amateur is at the helm.  Burton has a lot to learn about pacing, structure, and focus. The film opens with blunt white text on a black […]

April 30

Hot Docs 2017: Ask The Sexpert

When Dr. Mahinder Watsa was starting out his career as a doctor, he wrote a medical column in the back of a ladies’ journal. At the time, young women were dying from back-alley abortions while others committed suicide, unwilling to let their prospective husbands know they were not virgins (due to sexual abuse). Dr. Watsa […]

April 30

Hot Docs 2017: Tokyo Idols

Sad-sack middle-aged men in Japan are flocking to ‘pop’ concerts performed by underage girls. These artist are called Idols, they perform in ‘girl groups,’ and to date there about 10,000 of them. They are so intoxicating that one 43-year-old man has blown his life’s savings on this “religion” that saved him from depression. They’re providing […]

April 29

Hot Docs 2017: Thank You For the Rain

There are moments in this world when we know we could have done more. The recent elections in the US, Brexit in the UK, among many others have left many people realizing they should have done more. The focus of the new documentary, Thank You For the Rain, directed by Julia Dahr, is a Kenyan […]

April 28

Hot Docs 2017: 78/52

Psycho was a watershed moment in cinema, and not just because it was the first film to show a flushing toilet.  Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary 78/52 explores this cultural touchstone through interviews with a myriad of film people, from directors and editors to actors, composers, and critics.  The film begins by exploring the philosophies, style, […]

April 28

Hot Docs 2017: About My Liberty, Unrest

Over at In the Seats, I continued my Hot Docs coverage with reviews of About My Liberty and Unrest. I have included the Hot Docs synopsis of both films and links to my reviews below: About My Liberty Hot Docs synopsis: ”A group of millennial students plan protests unlike any Japan has ever seen—loud, well-marketed […]