Author

Brett Story

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Concerning Violence by Göran Hugo Olsson

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This post is the last in a series on Hot Docs 2014 films that reorganize and reimagine the limits of documentary. Viewers familiar with Swedish filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson’s 2011 The Black Power Mixtape will be already acquainted with three of the narrative and formal tropes also present in his follow-up film, Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from the Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defence—racialized...

Out of Mind, Out of Sight by John Kastner

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This post is the third in a series on Hot Docs 2014 films that reorganize and reimagine the limits of documentary. Like John Kastner’s 2013 documentary NCI: Not Criminally Responsible, his follow-up film, Out of Mind, Out of Sight, is also a powerful reminder of what a traditional, made-for-television film can do without experimentation. It can haunt, and it can devastate. It can also leave us...

Guidelines by Jean-François Caissy

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This post is the second in a series on Hot Docs 2014 films that reorganize and reimagine the limits of documentary. This quiet, patient NFB-produced film by Quebec visual artist and filmmaker Jean-François Caissy watches adolescents in and around a high school in rural Quebec. The film is stitched together as a series of observant tableaux that move back and forth between youth, on the one hand...

The Measure of All Things by Sam Green

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This post is the first in a series on Hot Docs 2014 films that reorganize and reimagine the limits of documentary. The Measure of All Things is not so much a screening as a feature-length “live documentary” enacted at the Isabel Bader Theatre early in the festival’s run. U.S. filmmaker Sam Green, best known for his Academy Award-nominated The Weather Underground, “performed” a one-night-only...

Pussy Riot at Hot Docs: Punk Feminist Performance Art on Trial

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Reviewed in this essay: Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin and Mike Lerner, United Kingdom, 2012. Always difficult for a film reviewer is what to do with a film that’s got a really great story, but is not itself a particularly great film. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t run out and see Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, because you absolutely should. It’s the fact that it is a...

Women and Boxing in Canada: Last Woman Standing at Hot Docs

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 Reviewed in this essay: Last Woman Standing, directed by Juliet Lammers and Lorraine Price, Canada, 2013 at Hot Docs 2013. The key to a good sports documentary—especially for those of us who don’t feel especially enraptured by the intrigues of competition—is in reminding viewers that sport is actually a field of relationships, and in bringing those relationships to the fore. That’s just...

Health Care in America: Reichert and Zaman’s Remote Area Medical at Hot Docs

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Reviewed in this essay: Remote Area Medical, directed by Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman, 2013, United States If there’s a single, insurmountable psychic obstacle to a Canadian’s long-standing fantasy of one day moving to New York it is this one: health care. No other facet of American life (save sometimes guns and prisons) makes the idea of actually renouncing a Canadian address for a US...

Occupying Prisons: Canada and the Future of Incarceration

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Films reviewed in this essay: Herman’s House  (Canada, 2012, 81 min.), directed by Angad Singh Bhalla Hunting Bobby Oatway (Canada, 2004, 45 min.), directed by John Kastner As the Canadian government prepares to close Kingston Penitentiary, the oldest pen in the country, Whiggish history-telling has already begun to frame its wake.  Virtually all the major news media have offered their own...

The 2012 Hot Docs festival, a Quick TRB Primer

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Toronto’s annual festival of documentary and non-fiction film is upon us again, kicking off its 19th year in style tonight, April 26th, with festival opener Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a portrait of Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei. Dissent is indeed in the air during this year’s Hot Docs, so if you’re looking for a round up of some of the year’s most exciting global...

Whose Streets? The Toronto G20 and the Challenges of Summit Protest: A Review

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Reviewed in this essay: Whose Streets?: The Toronto G20 and the Challenges of Summit Protest, eds. Tom Malleson and David Wachsmuth. Between The Lines, 2011. Chris Hedges got into a lot of trouble from the occupy movement recently. I happened to be in Oakland when the whole brouhaha over his controversial Truth Dig piece, “The Cancer in Occupy,” hit the fan, and I was hanging out with the very...