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Festivals: Hot Docs

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Hot Docs 2019 Review: HONEYLAND Intertwines Humanity and Mother Earth in a Melancholy, Universal Story

We first meet Haditze walking precariously cliff-side to harvest a wild colony of bees. With the sun gorgeously settling in on the valley, she makes her way back to the isolated homestead she keeps with her infirm octogenarian mother. It...

Hot Docs 2019 Review: COLD CASE HAMMARSKJÖLD Is Hella-Good Storytelling

"This could either be the world's biggest murder mystery, or the world's most idiotic conspiracy theory." Two years before the JFK assassination, on the 18th of September 1961, the world was shocked by the suspicious death of the second serving...

Friday One Sheet: PUSH

Hot Docs is coming to Toronto, and what better way to celebrate that than with a documentary on the increasing urban-global housing crisis (of which several Canadian cities qualify). Fredrik Gertten's documentary examines the 'gentrification' issue in a variety of...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: THE RUSSIAN JOB Makes You Laugh on the Inside

How is this for an elevator pitch:  What if Roy Andersson directed Roger & Me? No pitch is necessary, because a collaboration between a Czech journalist, Petr Horký, and freelance photographer (and regular contributor to the New York Times) Milan...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: CERES Connects Children to the Land

With so much of the worlds population living in cities, where all the food comes from the grocery store, or some variant of urban market, immediate, highly proximate documentaries such as Janet Van den Bran's Ceres are essential. She follows...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: TUNGRUS, 15 Minutes of Tragicomic Absurdity

"If anybody wants to adopt a rooster, do your research, and as with all pets, be prepared for life to become hell." Tungrus examines the perils of pet ownership in a middle-class Mumbai flat, when a family adopts a 2...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: SHIRKERS, Weaponized Narcissism

Sandi Tan is the writer, director, narrator, and star of Shirkers, the documentary slash true crime story of her first film (also called Shirkers) which she made with her high school pals, and a mysterious American benefactor. The benefactor, named...

Hot Docs 2018 Review: DREAMING MURAKAMI, Found In Translation

The perfect sentence does not exist. Language is a way of thinking, but it is a boundary, not the infinite. Perhaps, there is a perfect thought. Or a perfect dream. There is very likely a perfect musical note. Language remains...

Friday One Sheet: 93QUEEN and THE RUSSIAN JOB

Hot Docs is currently happening in Toronto, and while researching what to see, and what to include in our previous Curtain Raiser post, I came across a few well designed posters for films at the fest. One publicist was kind...

Hot Docs 2018 Curtain Raiser: From M.I.A. To MeToo

North America's largest documentary film festival, Hot Docs, kicks off tomorrow with its 25th edition. And while the festival has always specialized in content focused on the margins of society and telling their stories, we are in the age of...

Hot Docs 2018: THE ARTIST & THE PERVERT, North American Trailer Debut

Our attention turns to the upcoming Hot Docs Film Festival here in Toronto in April. Of the many films that will raise eyebrows and questions the film The Artist & The Pervert by directors Beatrice Behn and René Gebhardt is...

Hot Docs 2018: Full Lineup Announced

Toronto's premiere documentary festival, and one one of the largest in the world, dropped its full lineup today, a month ahead of its opening night on April 26. Let it be known that the documentary world is keen and proactive. ...

78/52: Canadian Engagement Announced, One Week at TIFF Bell Lightbox This October

Alexandre O. Phillipe’s documentary 78/52, the incredible breakdown of the show scene from Alfred Hitchcock's seminal thriller Psycho, is returning to Toronto. The doc will have a limited one week run at TIFF Bell Lightbox starting on October 13th. Yes,...

Hot Docs 2017 Interview: Listen to Music On Screen - Tony Palmer on The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Frank Zappa, Stanley Kubrick and More

Tony Palmer told this story far better than I ever could when he was introducing his TV works, All My Loving and All You Need is Love (Episode 14), at the 2017 Hot Docs Film Festival, but I’m going to...

Hot Docs 2017 Interview: Listen to Music On Screen - RUMBLE, A STORY OF SAHEL SOUNDS, RAISE YOUR ARMS AND TWIST

Today marks a special episode of the podcast formerly known as Music on Film. Firstly, because I'm changing the name to “Music On Screen”, to acknowledge the growing importance of more forms of media than just film itself. Secondly, whereas...

Hot Docs 2017 Interview: Jeff Malmberg Talks SPETTACOLO

It goes without saying that a chief purpose of art, if nothing else, consists of the catharsis of its creator(s). The aesthetic realm is where artists sort out their innermost conflicts and dreams, melding them into a form of expression...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: 78/52, An Endearing, Insightful Study of a Single Masterstroke of a Cinematic Legend

At the end of the Summer of 1960 audiences and fans of British auteur Alfred Hitchcock and his already stellar filmography scurried into cinemas to watch his new film, Psycho. Riding a growing wave of popularity, hot on the heels...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: BRIMSTONE & GLORY, Where Cinematography Induces Euphoria & Panic

Do you remember that sequence in Beasts Of The Southern Wild when everyone runs around shooting fireworks at each other in the Bayou? The glorious dance of the visuals and music grasp at the essence and the onslaught of life's...

Hot Docs 2017 Review: SHINERS, Making A Living With Polish

Opting for nothing less than an examination of the purpose and philosophy of 21st century labour -- in short, how and why do we work in an era of automation and disposable consumerism? -- Stacey Tenenbaum's re-evaluation of the humble...

Hot Docs Review 2017: RAMEN HEADS, Slurp-tastic Food Porn

What is it about ramen, Japan's robust working man's (be it salaryman, artist or labourer) meal of broth, noodles and pork, that makes its practitioners and enthusiasts become philosophers and seriocomic poets? Cinema has only encouraged this, as Itami Jûzô's gonzo, fussy,...