Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 2: Hunting & Zn. to Norteado

March 24, 2010

Families take the center stage in the second part of our New Directors New Films preview. In the Netherlands, a couple comes undone thanks to a new arrival. In Italy, a concubine dares to wander outside a brood’s closed ranks. In Canada, mother and son make like a WWE production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And you don’t even want to know what they’re doing to each other in Greece. It’s a line-up so gripping that film fans won’t even be able to turn from the screen to tell that elderly couple behind them to shut up. Hit the linked titles for more goodies.

Read the first part of our New Directors/New Films preview.

Hunting & Zn. (Hunting & Sons)

Tako and Sandra oughta be poster children for the Netherlands good life. Successful in both work and in life, the childhood sweethearts are the envy of all their friends. Sandra’s pregnancy should be cause for further celebration. In Sander Burger’s domestic horror, however, the blessed event is the very thing that causes their bourgeois bliss to spectacularly deflate. Don’t stand too close to the canal!

Io sono l’amore (I Am Love)

Luca Guadagnino takes a few frames from Visconti in this fragrant family saga, garnished with plenty of love, Italian style. Tilda Swinton is the beautiful Russian odalisque who marries into a fashion dynasty. Her second-class spousal existence is upended when she falls for a humpy young chef. Problem is Swinton’s surging libido might bring down the rest of the clan with her.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: 24 Beats Per Second

March 11, 2010

Closely paired with the SXSW music festival as it is, seems only fitting that the Film Festival dedicates a swathe of programming to films about music. If writing about music, though, is like dancing about architecture, than making a movie about music is like building a novel. To help you chew over that little pensee, here’s a celluloid mixtape highlighting the ethno-funk of David Byrne, the poison pen of Magnetic Fields, the rock ‘n’ roll riot of Tehran, the continental drift of Broken Social Scene and the prune juice of Levon Helm. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.

Ain’t in It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm

With Robbie Robertson gone Hollywood and both Rick Danko and Robert Manuel plucking harps, it’s up to drummer Helm to shoulder The Band’s cosmic Americana spirit. This EPK highlights the creation and promotion of Helm’s acclaimed 2007 album Dirt Farmer. The irascible coot spices the brew with stories from the frontlines of addiction, pestilence and bankruptcy. Directed by Jacob Hanley Hatley.

Beyond Ipanema – Brazilian Waves in Global Music

Brazil often seems like America’s reflection on the other side of the equator. The two countries have enjoyed an uneasy cultural relationship where we give them Homer Simpson in return for Joao Gilberto. Guto Barra’s tuneful documentary charts the musical exchange, from the early days of Carmen Miranda and her fruit basket titfer to Talking Heads’ promotion of the tropicalia movement led by Caetano Veloso. Formerly known as Beyond Ipanema – America’s Love Affair With Brazilian Music.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Emerging Visions, Part 2

March 11, 2010

First-time filmmakers often feel like they’re buried beneath the topsoil of indifference. Fortunately, SXSW is there ready with a shovel to help them arise blinking into the bright light shed by Indiewire.com. In the second part of our prEView (see what we did there?), there is among the budding sprouts films about aging, death, vengeance, and poverty. On the brighter side, there’s also a sure candidate for the greatest movie ever made about a parking lot. We’re serious! Click on the titles to watch trailers and more.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.

The Parking Lot Movie

To many, the parking lot is just a parking lot. To the attendants of a Charlottesville, Va., business, it’s a livelihood, a way station between brighter things, or possibly the most rewarding job of their lives. Meghan Eckman and Christopher Hlad hope to do for the humble tarmac what Spellbound did for spelling bees. It’s safe to say that you will never look at a sign reading “$5 for the half hour” the same way again.

Passenger Pigeons

The coalfields of Eastern Kentucky are the terminal backdrop for an intersecting series of narratives. Since that’s about all we know about writer-director Martha Stephens film—aside from the fact that a dead miner looms over all our characters—we’ll remind you that the region has given us such country music acts as Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, the Judds and Tom T. Hall.

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Trailerama: A Different Path

February 15, 2010

Yep, cars are killing the planet and we shouldn’t use them. The prospect of a documentary about alternative forms of transport, however, is about as appealing as choking on bread. That is, until we saw the trailer for Montieth McCollum‘s new film. He’s found eccentric activists and new ways of filming the cliched staples of environmental campaigns. It’s almost enough to make us run a few red lights with the Critical Mass crowd. Screening at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.

Berlin 2010 Preview: Forum, Part 1

February 11, 2010

So if the Panorama section deals with contemporary issues and Generations is for the children, what’s Forum? Well, loosely defined it’s where Berlin can put all the other films they like. There’s a particular emphasis on first-time filmmakers and experimental approaches. The net is cast wide this year, with movies from as far a-field as the Chinese-Burma border and Uganda in the first installment of our Forum preview. As for cutting edge, cut-up techniques are used to relate a transsexual romance. The line-up includes the best movie about clams since that one with Elvis Presley. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Aisheen (Still Alive in Gaza)

Swiss documentary filmmaker Nicolas Wadimoff went to Gaza to find the images behind the headlines. He got the goods. This al-Jazeera co-production shows how life goes on under the blockade, with moments of ordinary happiness punctuated by the occasional explosion.

La belle visite

The subjects of Jean-François Caissy’s documentary are in an unusual place. They live in a Quebec roadside motel that’s been turned into a retirement home. Caissy’s long takes and eye for detail emphasizes the grim tragedy of getting old in a mausoleum with has lost none of its transient air.

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Trailerama: Les Signes vitaux (Vital Signs)

February 3, 2010

Brought home by her grandmother’s death, a young woman (Marie Hélène Bellavance) gets a job at a hospice. When not learning about the malady of aging and dying, she’s making enthusiastic love to some hairy stud. We can think of worse trade-offs. The morphine helps, too. Quebecois director Sophie Deraspe tempers her study of the little things that keep us together with a bold sense of imagery.

Rotterdam 2010 Preview: VPRO Tiger Awards

January 22, 2010

The Rotterdam International Film Festival introduced the VPRO Tiger Awards in 1995. Each year, three prizes are awarded to filmmakers for their first or second film. Winners have included Lou Ye (Suzhong River) and Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy). In contention this year are a host of deadly serious films, tackling family relationships, leave-taking of many stripes and that old stand-by sex … often in the raw and ragged manner of contemporary cinema. The contenders also comprise a tour of emerging cinemas from Costa Rica to Georgia.

Agua fría de mar (Cold water of the Sea)

The pitch: A couple looking to sell their property on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast meet a seven-year-old stray.
Their lives are changed forever? Well, the tot certainly throws emotions and class boundaries into sharp relief in Paz Fabrega’s debut feature.

Alamar (To the Sea)

The pitch: A young man goes on a fishing trip with his father in the Caribbean’s Chinchorro reef.
Lots of booze and marlin to be had? It’s certainly an exercise in male bonding. Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s documentary approach to his story means the egrets get as much attention as the relationships.

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Trailerama: Grown Up Movie Star

January 15, 2010

Being a slut is a calling that film has rarely tackled with any kind of insight, but maybe this first offering from writer-director Adriana Maggs will be different. In rural Newfoundland, a young girl becomes a slut to cope with her troubles while her hockey-player dad struggles with his sexuality. Judging from the avalanche of misdoings in the trailer it’s no A Nos Amours, but there is never a dull moment north of the border. Maggs is best known to Canadian audiences for her role on the the CBC sitcom Hatching, Matching, & Dispatching.

Trailerama: La belle visite

September 30, 2009

Quebecois filmmaker Jean-François Caissy‘s documentary is situated in a motel which has been repurposed as an retirement home. Judging from the trailer, he has an eye for great faces, intimate detail and a dry sense of humor.

Trailerama: J’ai tue ma mere (I Killed My Mother)

May 14, 2009

Young Hubert’s tortured life is made all the more unbearable by mother. Sounds like a familiar story. Except that Hubert and mom’s contentious relationship almost verges on a mutually-assured-obsession. Outside the family warzone, Hubert endures growing up gay and Canadian. With its fantasy sequences, dramatic strings and overall histrionics, the trailer suggests a Savage Nights for the 21st century. The overheated achievement is all the more impressive considering that writer-director-star Xavier Dolan is a mere 20 years old. Roll over Orson Welles and tell Harmony Korine the news! The plum role of mother Chantal is played by Anne Dorval, who has won a pair of Gemeaux awards for her work in the Zone 3 TV show Le coeur a ses raisons. Due to screen at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.