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Showing posts from September, 2019

Ranking Toronto International Film Festival Screenings

I saw a total of 45 feature selections during TIFF.   The following grades those with very brief notes under each title.   I will do longer reviews of the more significant films when they are released.   It is worth noting that the streaming giants (Netflix, Amazon) have become major players in both producing films and getting them to the public.   So increasingly, even if you do not live in a metropolitan centre with theatrical choices, more and more cinematic content is coming to your home screen. TIFF Documentaries Varda par Agnès (France 2019 ) A+ Agnès Varda, who died at age 90 this past March, is one of the great treasures of French cinema. This is both a reflection on her career and a master class in appreciation of the moving image. The Cordillera of Dreams (Chile/France 2019) A From another master filmmaker, Chilean expatriate Patricio Guzmán, this memoir, alluding to his native country’s Andean spine, is the thi

September Movies

A major computer crash has set this back but here are notes on some new documentaries and dramas.   Coming next my grading of screenings from the Toronto film festival. Honeyland (Macedonia 2019 ) This amazing piece of cinema verité directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov received three awards at Sundance including the grand jury prize for world cinema documentary. The central figure is a middle-aged woman Hatidze Muratova who carries on traditional beekeeping practices while caring for her ailing elderly mother. She sells her natural honey in the Macedonia capital of Skopje. But that way of life is threatened by the encroachment of a nomadic family who also bring a large herd of cattle.     As Hatidze struggles to maintain the natural balance the observant camera offers an astonishing witness to these encounters and to her determination to carry on.   A Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Denmark/Norway.Sweden/Belgium 2019

Post-Labour Day Movies Update

First a follow-up to a previous documentary recommendation on Netflix.  On Chinese reaction to American Factory : . Then, looking back to the storied summer of ’69, and the 50 th anniversary of the most iconic music festival happening of modern times, here’s another documentary recommendation on Netflix: Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation . This PBS production recalls many fascinating details behind the event. A Even better and more significant is another PBS documentary production—the almost six-hour, three-episode series Chasing The Moon , written, produced and directed by Robert Stone. It’s streaming on the Kanopy platform which can be freely accessed with a public library card. Assembling a trove of archival footage and commentary the series—Episode 1 “A Place Beyond the Sky”, Episode 2 “Earthrise”, Episode 3 “Magnificent Desolation”—has many revel