Will Pascoe – Noam Chomsky on the World: The Chomsky Sessions (2008)

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One of the most respected intellectuals of the 20th century, Noam Chomsky has had a long and prolific career as a linguist, philosopher, and political activist. Undoubtedly, though, he is best known as the quintessential American dissident. Chomsky’s criticism of U.S. foreign policy began with the Vietnam War and continued over the span of the next 40 years. Continue reading

Anne Émond – Les êtres chers AKA Our Loved Ones (2015)

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Guy’s tragic death is a shock for the Leblanc family. For many years, the real cause of his death is kept hidden from some members of the family, including his son David. The latter in turn starts his own family with his wife Marie. He lovingly raises his children Laurence and Frédéric, but deep within him harbours a persistent melancholy. Continue reading

Isiah Medina – 88:88 (2015)

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The first feature by Canadian experimental filmmaker Isiah Medina is an explosive digital diary dealing with ideas about time, love, philosophy, poverty, and poetry, all erupting within a densely layered montage that is as formally rigorous as it is emotionally raw. The film’s title derives from the reset digital clock display that appears when power is restored to dwellings where it had been abruptly severed because of overdue electricity bills &mdash a meaningless signature that Medina here resuscitates as a double-edged symbol that indicates how those who live in poverty also live in a state of suspended time. Continue reading

Atom Egoyan – Next of Kin (1984)

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Marking Atom Egoyan’s first feature film, Next of Kin a visually assured, lucid, and thoughtful exposition on alienation, displacement, and the amorphous nature of home and family. Incorporating innovative narrative devices of circular structure and video imaging, Egoyan explores the dichotomous role of technology as both a convenient tool for communication and an impersonal barrier to true human connection (a modern-day existential angst that is similarly portrayed in Mike Nichols’ The Graduate, to which Egoyan pays homage in the film’s early sequence): Peter’s voice-over that is visually reinforced by the recurring shots of an airport baggage carousel, reflecting his sense of aimlessness and disorientation; the Foster’s videotaped counseling session that ironically serves, not to facilitate dialogue, but to further alienate the self-conscious Peter from his family; the tape recorder that becomes a literal surrogate to Peter’s articulated thoughts. Furthermore, in illustrating the residual trauma caused the Deryan’s ‘lost’ son Bedros, Egoyan introduces his recurring theme of the absent child – an unresolved emotional fracture that would propel the psychological (and emotional) trajectory of his seminal films, Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter. By exploring the dynamic – and often necessary – function of compassionate role-playing and deception in social and familial relationships, Egoyan creates a haunting and affectionate contemporary humanist fable on identity, impersonation, and connection. Continue reading

Guy Maddin – Keyhole (2011)

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Visionary Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin takes viewers on a surreal journey into the psyche of a desperate gangster backed into a dangerous corner in this surreal, psycho-sexual take on Homer’s Odyssey. Late one night, a group of gangsters shoot their way into the living room of a large house and wait anxiously for the arrival of their leader, Ulysses Pick (Jason Patric). Ulysses has a knack for getting out of tense situations, and with the cops all around his cohorts need him now more than ever. But when Ulysses arrives with a teenage girl and a bound young man in tow, some of his henchmen start to think it’s time for a new boss to take over. An already tense situation turns downright surreal as Ulysses begins venturing through the labyrinthine house in search of his wife Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini), who remains locked in her room somewhere on an upper floor. Meanwhile, Hyacinth’s father offers cryptic commentary on the unfolding events, and the harder Ulysses searches for his wife the more secrets he begins to uncover about his eccentric family. Continue reading

Roman Kroitor & Colin Low – Universe (1960)

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Synopsis:
A triumph of film art, creating on the screen a vast, awe-inspiring picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager through space, this film was among the sources used by Stanley Kubrick in his 2001: A Space Odyssey. Realistic animation takes you into far regions of space, beyond the reach of the strongest telescope, past Moon, Sun, and Milky Way into galaxies yet unfathomed. Continue reading