Originally published as part of the Bloor Cinema Column at DORK SHELF
How To Make A Book With Steidl
Meet publisher and printer Gerhard Steidl: revered and sought after worldwide for his ability to make the most exquisite art books imaginable. Using profits from his work with such long-time clients as Chanel, Günter Grass and Karl Lagerfeld, Steidl underwrites his publishing of limited edition books with the world’s best photographers. Superb cinematography frames the scenes between Steidl and the artists in action, revealing the playful, yet exacting process of their creative collaborations. Steidl is constantly in motion, travelling to London, Paris, New York, Vancouver and the deserts of Qatar, allowing us seductive glimpses into the rarely seen homes and studios of such renowned artists as Robert Adams, Robert Frank and Jeff Wall.
How To Make A Book is an intriguing portrait of a fiercely determined and his all-encompassing fascination and obsession with paper and ink (kind of like this week’s other film about Tomi Ungerer). At times a self-deprecating master schmoozer, at other times a grumpy and vindictive control freak, Steidl is never a boring character. During the course of the film we also traverse a product’s lifespan, from conceptual beginnings to the final product of Joel Sternfeld’s book i Dubai, and see how Steidl’s exacting standards, with all the bickering, infighting and frustrations included, work in driving creating and producing a unique and bold final product.
Audiences who invest in the journey and the man will be captivated and engrossed, though the film will likely be too dry and one sided for those who are turned off by Steidl’s OCD tendencies.
Till Next Time
Movie Junkie TO
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Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
Most people have encountered the work of Tomi Ungerer during some point in their lives. From his award-winning children’s books to his provocative and iconic anti-war illustrations from the 60s and 70s, his work has always had a clever, biting edge balanced with a playful fearlessness. But his outspokenness made him a target of controversy and intense malice. This became even more evident when Ungerer began to illustrate erotic books late in his career, a move that outraged fans of his earlier work and blacklisted him and his publications from most major libraries, schools and bookstores.
Far Out Isn’t Far Enough is the story of a fascinating artist who never compromised his vision even when it meant the children’s literary world completely excised him. Reminiscent of the brilliant Wayne White documentary from last year, Beauty is Embarrassing, Far Out brings us another eccentric, reformed, and solitary man who chose to step back from his limelight and accolades. While not as accomplished or engaging as the Wayne White documentary, Far Out still tells a great story. With the multitude of drawings and artwork the filmmakers have to pull from, the picture has a fantastic and vibrant look.
Fellow author the late Maurice Sendak, of Where the Wild Things Are fame, calls Ungerer one of his greatest influences. Hopefully Far Out Isn’t Far Enough is ‘far enough’ to influence a new generation to put pen to page.
Till Next Time
Movie Junkie TO
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- Dragon Girls Review (Dork Shelf) (moviejunkieto.com)
Starting this weekend at the Cineplex Yonge/Dundas in Toronto is the newest from the director of “Pineapple Express” and the upcoming Nicolas Cage film “Joe”,David Gordon Green. “Prince Avalanche”. Avalanche is a small, inclusionary tale set against the backdrop of a wildfire and used the filing location of Bastrop, Texas to emulate the effects after the Bastrop County Complex fire of 2011.
Starring Paul Rudd and Emilie Hirsh
Written and Directed by David Gordon Green
Meditative and stern Alvin (Rudd) and his girlfriend’s dopey, insecure brother Lance (Hirsch), leave the city behind to spend the summer in solitude repainting traffic lines down the center of a country highway ravaged by wildfire. As they sink into their job in the remarkable landscape, they learn more than they want to about each other and their own limitations. (more…)
Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the critically acclaimed story of the struggle for a better life and the perilous journey that happens along the way in “La Pirouge”. The tale of African refuges is a story that has rarely been seen on screens before and was a big sensation at last year’s Cannes film festival, even becoming a nominee for the ‘un certain regard’ jury prize.
Starring Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Laïty Fall, Malaminé ‘Yalenguen’ Dramé
Written by Éric Névé, David Bouchet
Directed by Moussa Touré
Each year, thousands of people leave Africa in rickety boats to undertake the dangerous (and illegal) voyage to Europe in search of a better life for them and their families. Moussa Touré’s powerful and suspenseful drama focuses on Baye Laye (more…)
The tale of Iceberg Slim is one of the most extremely unlikely forms of influential and highly regarded people you are likely to see this year. Starting this weekend at theBloor Hot Docs Cinema “Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp” recalls the turbulent life of the now deceased Slim, and how his gritty and realistic novels still inspire many to this day. The film features and candid interview with the man himself before he passed away as well as interviews with those closest to him.
Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp
Directed by Jorge Hinojosa
Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp tells a turbulent and transformative tale about the life of Robert Beck, who became an author following decades of pimping. As a young man searching for a role model, (more…)
Starting this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox is the new music documentary that unearths one of the most influential bands that almost nobody has ever heard of, “A Band Called Death”. The documentary boats executive producers Scott Mosier (friend and producer of Kevin Smith’s films) and Entourage’s Jerry Ferrara, which just goes to prove the vast and different influence their music has had. A band becoming a hit 30 years after recording your demo tape is a compelling and unique story, and one that has never been told on screen this way before.
A Band Called Death
Directed by Jeff Howlett, Mark Covino
Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was Death. Formed in the early 1970s by three teenage brothers from Detroit, Death is credited as being the first black punk band, and the Hackney brothers, David, Bobby, and Dannis, are now considered pioneers in their field. But it wasn’t until recently, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of Bobby’s attic nearly thirty years after Death’s emergence, that anyone outside a small group of punk enthusiasts had even heard of them. Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family chronicle, the story of Death is one of brotherly love and fierce, divinely inspired expression.
Starting this weekend in theaters from Universal Studios is the eagerly awaited sequel to the 2010 cult film that hit large on home video, Kick-Ass 2. This time around the film is under the reigns of writer/director Jeff Wadlow and only produced by the original’s director Matthew Vaughn. The graphic novel sequel to Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall, is a veritable blood bath, which beckons the question of how the film will translate to the theater screen.
Written and Directed by Jeff Wadlow
When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl (Moretz) and young masked hero Kick-Ass (Taylor-Johnson), they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do with their shared calling, Dave decides to start the world’s first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she’s forced to retire, leaving her to navigate (more…)