It’s 2010 and indie rock band The National is set to embark on their largest international tour to date. Enter lead singer ’s younger brother Tom, a wannabe horror filmmaker with aspirations to make a documentary film about the band. Starting out with large ambition and grand ideas, and starting with Matt’s full support, it’s not long before Tom’s tour roadie position is hanging by a thread due to his constant by slacking off on the job, getting drunk and overall lack of ability. What starts out as a candid music doc ends up going in a completely different direction, delivering an earnest, behind-the-scenes look at Tom’s endeavours and subsequent departure, but the question becomes will Tom be able to salvage his film?
Mistaken for Strangers may be one of the best stories about brothers captured on film. Tom may not have started out wanting to include himself into the film, but eventually his own antics and screw ups became too difficult for the director to ignore and he discovered the real film within his footage. This discovery also plays out over the course of the film’s last act, a rare glimpse into what goes into developing a film beyond the filming stages.
A Story of Children and Film is a documentary by Mark Cousins which explores the history of cinema and the roles that child actors have had in it. The film uses an interesting approach that utilizes a magnitude of different movies dating back to the earliest era and cinema and reaching all the way across different parts of the world. Cousins also intercut footage he took of niece and nephew and contrasts it to the films he’s talking about creating the actual narrative of the documentary. Aside from the footage that he took, and a few brief shots at the end of the piece, a majority of the film is footage from other movies with Cousins narration.
The topic that the A Story of Children and Film explores is not a commonly covered one, so Cousins does a good job at breaking new ground and exploring the various aspects of it. However, the films biggest downfall is its narration which is done by the director himself. Some filmmakers can pull off narrating their own films, however Cousins done so in the most monotone way imaginable. It can only be assumed that this is done intentionally with an attempt to speak in a somewhat poetic way; however it can often feel dry and boring at times. The footage really is the essential attention grabber in the documentary, and it becomes really interesting to see how the earliest pieces of cinema have had an ever growing influence on the most modern films released. Cousins goes on to point out that cinema is one of the newest art forms and that it is almost a child itself, something not often thought about considering how young of an art form film really is. Instead of simply narrating the entire piece, real life footage of family members was used to flow from topic to topic, thus removing the choppiness that a documentary like this could have easily fallen victim to.
The underdog sports story is one of the oldest tales in film. This is the one where the athlete that nobody believed in eventually proves everyone wrong to roaring applause. Such is the true life story of professional basketball player and overnight sensation, Jeremy Lin. Lin grew up living a normal life, idolizing his favourite basketball players on TV, and mimicking their moves on the courts with his brothers. He would time and time again prove he was an exceptional player but was often passed over because he didn’t look like a traditional basketball star.
Evan Leong’s Linsanity focuses on the meteoric rise of Jeremy Lin and chronicles his early childhood memories while paralleling it with Lin’s current NBA stardom. The documentary does a great job of capturing the real Jeremy Lin, and getting a first-hand account from the star himself, which reveals the very personal and spiritual journey that the basketball sensation has been on since his youth. The strongest aspect of the film is that it doesn’t just gear itself towards basketball fans; it instead opts for a broader approach making it accessible and fun to watch for everyone. Even someone who has never sat and watched an entire basketball game will stay engaged in the film throughout. .
Starting today, Mar 8 2013, at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is the new documentary focusing on the politically charged singer songwriters of the 1960’s and early 1970’s that called Greenwich Village home, “Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation”. The epicenter of the folk music movement of the 60’s, hundreds of acts grew from the streets of Greenwich to conquer the world. Director Laura Archibald is clearly a large fan and enamored of these artists and their achievements as the entire tale is seen form the one side that is the artist’s themselves.
Greenwich Village: Music that Defined a Generation
Narration by Susan Sarandon
Written by Laura Archibald, Rob Lindsay and Kevin Wallis based on the novel by Suzie Rotolo
Directed by Laura Archibald
In the 1960s and early 1970s, Greenwich Village attracted numerous artists and activists. This creative and politically (more…)
Starting a 2 show run, Mar 2and Mar 3 2013, at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is the newdocumentary exploring the life of the comedian nicknamed “The Bitter Buddha” of the title, Eddie Pepitone. The documentary explores the life and performances of the now 54 year old comic who has been doing stand-up, working the clubs and road, without the break out success that other comedians that adore what he does feel he deserves.
The Bitter Buddha
Starring Eddie Pepitone
Directed by Steven Feinartz
February’s Doc Soup presentation at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema brings us drama on the high seas with the award winning documentary “Stolen Seas”. The documentary explores the Somali pirate phenomenon, how the pirates get away with all the damage they inflict and the impact on all of those involved.
Written by Mark Monroe
Directed by Thymaya Payne
“Stolen Seas” is in essence the story of a Danish shipping vessel’s 13-man crew held at the mercy of pirates, but the film goes much further than this singular story. It’s November 8th, 2008 and the CEC Future is on high alert. Sailing inside the pirate-infested swath of sea between Somalia and Yemen (more…)
The Waiting Room
Directed by Peter Nicks
Today (Friday, Jan 18), the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema begins an exclusive run of another of its 2012 festival favorites, The Waiting Room. When the shortlist of documentaries up for nomination for this year’s Academy Awards was released back in early December, director Peter Nicks found his film among the contenders. And even though it did not make the cut the film was in the mix for a reason, the day in the life of a U.S. hospital is an impactful and insightful piece of film making.
The Waiting Room is a riveting day in the life of an Oakland, California, public hospital’s overtaxed emergency room. The purely observational character-driven documentary expertly weaves the stories of several patients, most of them are uninsured, and who come to the inner-city facility because they have nowhere else to go. (more…)