The mind’s willing but the body isn’t …

Like my mother, I’m a film lover and have been since childhood. I was in my glory when I moved to Toronto and realized that, for 10 days every September, it was home to TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival).

I’ve cancelled or delayed many a vacation in my time, but those 10 days were sacrosanct. I looked forward to the festival all year and I Continue reading

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Turkish delight …

I saw a wonderful documentary last week, about street cats in Istanbul, where hundreds of catsthousands of them roam freely, and have for thousands of years. In the film, Kedi, we meet seven of them.

To be perfectly honest, much as I love cats, part of me wanted to see the film and part of me didn’t. I hate to see animals (or people) suffer and I was afraid these pussycats would look Continue reading

I knew the despot in the White House reminded me of someone …

… And it finally came to me.

Like Trump he played golf, travelled in a private jet and, in order to get what he wanted, hegoldfinger  promised his potential partners millions of dollars (which they never got by the way).

Sound familiar?

He also loved, loved, loved gold. In fact he couldn’t get his hands on enough of it. And, also like Trump, he was prepared to stop at nothing to increase the value of his stash, even if it meant detonating an atomic device (it was a long time ago, he didn’t Continue reading

Day 320. Wise Words

There’s been a fair bit of talk about feminism on WordPress blogs recently. The first one I read, “Is Quiet Feminism an Oxymoron”, can be found at The Green Study. It beesis an interesting essay. One in which Michelle, who authors the blog, examines her own ‘relationship’ with feminism; and whether or not she’s doing enough for the cause.

The problem I sometimes have with ’causes’ in general is, they seem to go hand in hand with anger. It’s not necessarily true, but it is how it often ‘feels’. The perception. The image I have in my mind, and often see on television, is of people screaming and shouting. Waving fists. Pointing fingers. Being aggressive. Argumentative. Red-faced. Hot under the collar. Throwing placards. Fighting. Scuffling with police.

This is not a criticism. It’s not that I’ve never reacted, or over-reacted. I most certainly have. It’s not that I’m

Continue reading

Day 273. All Done

That’s it for another year. Marilyn and I saw our final documentary at 8:00 last night. HotDocs 2013 is officially over. Funny, but in the end, I was no longer tired. globeI know I wrote, early in the week, I was weary; and grateful for a couple of days without movies. But I got my mojo back towards the end of the week. I hit my stride. And, now, I’m re-energized.

The movies we saw got much better as the week progressed (until yesterday), which could have something to do with it. Or, I just got into the groove. Doesn’t matter what it was, in the grand scheme of things. I’m just happy we went. And I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some of the films we missed, during the year.

Here in Toronto we’re very fortunate. We have a theatre, very close to where I live, devoted to showing only documentary films, 365 days a year. We also get non-documentary festival-worthy films at other theatres

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Day 269. True Calling

India has always beckoned those, from every corner of the globe, who are seeking answers.  And Rocky Braat, a young American man from Pittsburgh, is no exception.  The son of an alcoholic mother who neglected him, and a father who compassionleft him and joined the military when he was just three years old, Rocky was brought up by his grandparents.

But as grateful as he was to his grandfather, and as much as he loved him, he never stopped longing for what his life was lacking. A family.  A typical, close-knit family of his own.

So that’s why he went to India.  In search of love.

What he didn’t expect, was to end up volunteering in an orphanage, refuge, school and care centre for children, and women, infected with HIV.

What he didn’t expect, was the degree of suffering he would encounter.  The poverty, the squalor, the alienation, Continue reading

Day 268. Not Impressed

Into every life a little rain must fall.  Both literally and figuratively, in my case.  Monday was nasty, weather-wise.  Damp, cool, grey and raining.  More like fall than late spring.  And the sun doghasn’t been shining all that brightly on my HotDocs experience so far, either.

Before I go too much further, I just want to say that instead of writing this post this morning, I wrote it yesterday, for posting today.  This is a crazy busy day for me, and I wanted to make sure I delivered.  My promise is, after all, a post every day.

So as of yesterday morning, Tuesday, August 30, I’d seen five films.  Seven, really, if you count two short films before a couple of main attractions.  So I’m halfway done.  I’ve loved one (Anita).  I’m ‘comme ci comme ca’ about another (Ballerina).  One was very charming and I enjoyed it (Cutie and the Boxer) and the rest, well … Continue reading

Day 266. First Three

You remember I mentioned I’d be seeing ten films at this year’s HotDocs? Well, I’ve now seen three of them. “Ballerina”, “Anita” and “Tough Bond”. With the exception 3moviesof Anita, I can’t say I loved all of them. But I am happy I saw them.

Does that make any sense at all? Probably not. It does to me, though. Because there was something in all three I found worth seeing.

“Ballerina” was, perhaps, the biggest surprise. Why, I’m not exactly sure.

Maybe because I’ve seen several films on dance and dancers over the years, so now I have pre-conceived notions. And a couple of years ago at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) I saw “Pina”, an absolutely magnificent Wim Wenders documentary about Pina Bausch, a famous German performer of modern dance, choreographer, dance teacher and ballet director.

Shot on 3D it has, for me, forever changed my expectations for this genre of film.

So maybe it just wasn’t ever going to be possible for me to love “Ballerina”. Maybe I was just unable to appreciate it, on its

Continue reading

Day 262. Movie Madness

Seems like it was just yesterday I was writing about how busy the month of April was going to be for me.  And here we are.  April’s just about over.  Amazing.  It has projectorbeen a fully-packed month, both work wise and socially.

And “no”, I’m not complaining.  It’s been terrific.  I was sure, as I looked ahead, I’d be exhausted.  But I’m not.  I’ve had blogs and ads to write for clients, an event to plan, videos to shoot and, of course, my own writing to work on.  There’ve been brunches, lunches, dinners, coffees and drinks.  And a couple of nights out at the theatre.

Hot Docs (Canadian international documentary festival) starts tonight and lasts until May 5.  A friend and I are seeing ten (culled from a choice of 205).  So the month will end on as busy a note as it began.

Anyone who knows me well, will be surprised I’m seeing so few films.  I always bought the fifty-movie pass for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), which meant I was seeing five or six movies every day for ten days.  Most people I told thought I was nuts.  They never believed I’d remember what I’d seen. Continue reading

Day 243. The End

I’ve loved movies since I was a little girl.  I came by it honestly.  My mother loved them, too.  I grew up hearing her stories of how, every weekend, she paid a nickel tofilm see a movie and a show, when she was young.   A vaudeville act, a singer, a tap dancer, whatever.

Movies were her passion her entire life.  In fact we were planning to go to a movie the afternoon she fell, and broke her hip.  An event she never recovered from, unfortunately.  So it shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear I could go to the movies every single day.

Which is why I can’t let the week go by without mentioning Roger Ebert.

In my opinion, he is as synonymous with the film industry as the 45-foot high Hollywood sign situated on Mount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains, in Los Angeles.  In my opinion, he is as synonymous with the film industry as the actors, themselves.

A phenomenon I bore witness to, every year at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival).  There he’d be, with his wife, holding hands as they walked from one theatre to the next.  And wouldn’t you know, amid the hundreds and hundreds of critics, reporters and journalists who were also there, he’s the one who always stood out.  He had as Continue reading