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Showing posts from April, 2014

Nordic Charmers: May I Recommend Olga and Love & Engineering

You know I love Nordic films, and I'm happy to direct you to Olga--To My Friends, and Love & Engineering screening at Hot Docs 2014.

Want me to watch a film? Show me a picture of reindeer. So, why have I chosen to show you this picture of Olga instead? Because, Olga--To My Friends is an intimate portrait of a fascinating young woman who deserves your attention. Yes, there are reindeer in the film because she works at a station guarding provisions used by the reindeer herdsmen in the summer; but what I found absolutely fascinating about this documentary is Olga and her quiet will to keep surviving whatever life dispenses. Director, Paul Aders-Simma and cinematographer, Elen Lotman have framed and lit Olga in a style that references Old Masters, while at the same time managing to capture the vastness and icy-stillness of the tundra.
At the opening of the film, Olga tells us that she has spent 177 days alone at the outpost with only her cat as her companion. Upon learning this…

Hot Docs Day 3: May I Recommend


ROM Theatre
Sat, Apr 26 3:30 PM

This film gives you a look at poverty, not from the perspective of having nothing, but from the Malagasy people themselves speaking of how their sense of community, culture and fortitude has enabled them to maintain their sense of pride and fortitude.

Scotiabank Theatre 4
Sun, Apr 27 4:00 PM
Scotiabank Theatre 3
Sat, May 3 9:15 PM


Scotiabank Theatre 7
Sat, Apr 26 6:00 PM

This is not an easy film to watch, but it is an interesting look at poverty that is a direct result of historical conditioning. The Pine Ridge reservation is just above Haiti in terms of its lack of economic development. This South Dakota reservation brings to light the generational effects of the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890) and references the impact of the Wounded Knee Incident (1973). Seenthrough theeyes of several youth, the film asks the question: why are such dire conditions allowed to continue in one of the richest countries on ear…

Hot Docs Day 2: May I Recommend


Then I suggest a screening of Que Caramba Es la Vida by renowned German director, Doris Dörrie. Her take on mariachi music is refreshing in that it follows the lives of several female musicians who perform in Mexico's Garibaldi Square. Mariachi can be a macho business, but these women, some of whom are daughters of mariachi fathers, have inherited the love of the music and their passion drives them to perform despite some of the negative side effects of their chosen profession. In the square they perform for families or couples who are out for an evening of social activity, but they also have to put up with the drunks and drug users (as well as some men) who hurl slurs at them. As one woman puts it, she has often had to tell men she is a singer, not a prostitute. Dörrie also delves into a bit of the history of female mariachas through interviews with members of Las Estrellas de Mexico and Las Coronelas, some of the first mariachas in Mexico…