Friday, May 17, 2013
There comes a point in everyone's life, around the mid to late twenties, where you must decide what you want out of life. For many that point comes rather unexpectedly. One day you notice that everyone else is using words like "career" and "marriage". Furthermore, all the things you and your friends used to make fun of are now the things you covet the most. This is the exact predicament that Greta Gerwig's Frances Halliday finds herself in.
Frances is a 27 year-old dancer who has been apprenticing at a dance company for many years. Though her dream is to become a full member of the company, her chances are slim at best. Despite not having a stable job, Frances finds solace in the fact that she shares an apartment with her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner). Frequently referred to by Frances as "me with different hair", Sophie is the only one who truly understands Frances. The pair even share a dream of achieving success in life at the same time. Unfortunately, cracks in their friendship begin to appear when Sophie jumps at the opportunity to live in her dream New York location of Tribeca. Unable to carry the rent alone, and not willing to accept that it is time to take responsibility for her life, Frances’ life begins to take a downward spiral just as everyone else's life seems to be on the up and up.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The sharing of one’s family history through the generations is something that we rarely give much thought too. In fact, we often take for granted the significances of doing something as simple as sitting around the dinner table reflecting on the past. On the occasions where these stories, be it joyous or sad, are shared we often tend to focus on the content rather than the storyteller. This is rather odd, when you think about it, considering the integral role that the storyteller plays in shaping the tale.
This contemplation of storytelling and family is at the heart of Sarah Polley’s latest work, Stories We Tell. Already a celebrated actress in Canada and abroad, Polley has also proven herself to be a talented director with her films Away From Her and Take This Waltz. While Stories We Tell marks Polley’s first foray into the realm of documentary filmmaking, it marks her most assured directorial work to date. Similar to Bart Layton’s The Imposter, Polley manages to bend the conventional expectations of the documentary format into something that is both captivating and emotionally impactful.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Due to our Hot Docs coverage we missed the April edition of I Have Scene It Before. As a result, we have decided to give you a supersized edition for May! The last time we ran this feature all 11 films were identified. Here is this month’s selection of film scenes. How many can you identify?
Labels: Scene It Before
Monday, May 13, 2013
Director Kaspar Astrup Schröder came up with the idea for Rent A Family Inc. on one of his many trips to Japan. He was looking through the classifieds and noticed that unusual items were available for rent. These items not only included dogs that could be rented for an hour, but a section for renting people as well. Intrigued, Schröder contacted Ryuichi Ichinokawa who owns a business called I Want To Cheer You Up Ltd. Running the company only though his laptop and cell phone, Ryuichi rents himself out as a father, husband, boss, and colleague. He will even go as far as getting a group together to serve as one side of a family for weddings.
While comfortable pretending to be a part of other people's lives, Ryuichi, a father of two boys, does not have a great relationship with his own family. Living in small cramped quarters outside of Toyko, Father's Day goes by each year unnoticed while Mother's Day is a big deal in the household. Ryuichi's family has no knowledge, and shows little interest in finding out, about his business. His wife, who hardly speaks to Ryuichi anymore, does not care what he does as long as he brings home money to support the family. The only affection that Ryuichi gets at home is from the family dog Chappi.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
“There's something in that mud” declares Bono in the opening interview of Muscle Shoals. The town of Muscle Shoals hits musicians in the gut, dragging out songs anchored by deep base guitars and base drums. As Bono speaks of the region, director Greg "Freddy" Camalier displays shots of both the Tennessee River and the deep rich thick forests that runs along the town. Though not glamorous in comparison to major cities, Muscle Shoals was a hot destination for many of the leading artists from the 60’s and 70’s who wanted to record music. It is a place where musicians are left alone to quietly work on their craft.
So how does a sleepy Alabama outpost become a must for musicians ranging from Wilson Pickett to Aretha Franklin to The Rolling Stones? The “Muscle Shoals Sound” came from the vision of producer Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios, and his musician buddies who became the Fame Rhythm Section (a.k.a. The Swampers). Many of Hall’s advancement at the FAME Studios helped to revolutionize the music world. It was Hall's idea to mike the base drum separately which had never been done before. Hall's life story is full of personal tragedy yet he managed to put these tragedies aside in order focus on the music. This resulted in Hall gaining a reputation as a being a legendary taskmaster who would push artist to achieve the perfect sound. He could not always articulate what he wanted but knew when he heard it…even if it took 40 attempts to get there.
Friday, May 10, 2013
The date February 24, 2010, flashes briefly on a dark screen followed the sound of a panicked voice over phone. There has been an accident at Sea World and one of the trainers is severely injured. The trainer in question, Dawn Brancheau, was dragged into the water by an orca named Tilikum.
To understand the reason for the occurrence, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite must first give us the background of killer whales in captivity. It all started with the 1970 capture of killer whales in Puget Sound, Washington. The orcas, each group having their own tactics for avoiding capture, were chased by hunters in boats and helicopters. The hunters eventually honed in on the mothers and children, with the young whales ultimately being the targets.