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

A rather painful discovery

Last Saturday a friend and I went to see the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario).  We also signed sittingup for, and attended, an all-day symposium on the artist, his work, his influence (then and now) and his legacy.

Other than an hour of walking around studying his art early in the morning, we essentially sat in one place from 10:00 a.m. to almost 5:00 p.m.

Well, most people sat.  I fidgeted.

Not because I was bored, although the afternoon panel of speakers didn’t exactly enthral me (or anyone else, for that matter from what I observed).  Except for Thelma Golden, Director and  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

Day 218. Missing Musician

Yesterday I made a passing reference to a film I’d seen over the weekend.  It was Saturday afternoon, we went.  And the movie was absolutely amazing.  Extraordinary, I’d go so far as to say.  “Searching For Sugar rodgriguezMan” is a Swedish-British documentary about an American folk musician, Sixto Rodriguez.

Have you ever heard of him?  I hadn’t until a friend of mine mentioned, at least a couple of months ago, she wanted to see the movie.  She is one of the most avid fans of music I know.  All genres.  So of course she knows who he is.  And of course, she’s been a fan of his for quite a while.  We do talk about music a fair bit, so it’s interesting we never talked about him, until now.

Before I go on, just let me say, now I’ve heard him sing and, in particular, listened to his lyrics (in most of his Continue reading

Day 181. Extraordinary Reunion

In 1965 a white, Jewish, twenty-one year old living in Toronto was sitting, in his family home, watching the news on television.  What he saw so moved him, so civilrightsdisgusted him, he was compelled to go to Greenwood, Mississippi.  To help.  To do something.  To get involved.  To join the fight for equal rights. To be part of the Civil Rights Movement.

To help black residents register to vote.

The twenty-one year old Canadian was Paul Saltzman; and, while on his way into a Greenwood courthouse, he was stopped, and chased, by three white youths.  Even though he ran for his life, they caught up with him.  One slugged him, knocking him to the ground.  In hindsight he was very lucky.  They might just as easily have shot Continue reading