Barbara Sternberg – Transitions (1982)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

“Transitions” is a film of inner life and speaks of time, reality, power. It depicts the disquieting sensations of being between – between falling asleep and being awake, between here and there, between being and non-being. These metaphysical themes are evoked by the central image of a woman in white over which layers of images and sound (voices) are superimposed. Continue reading

Katherine Gilday – The Famine Within (1990)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Katherine Gilday’s impressive documentary debut The Famine Within focuses on the debilitating and unattainable ideal of a woman, and its devastating effects on the health and morale of women, particularly, young North American women.

The film suggests that consumerism (fuelled by the gazillion-dollar diet, fitness and fashion industries) and mass media are largely responsible for creating and spreading this image. In one example, the film documents a model search. Of the 40,000 women (mostly teenagers) who felt qualified to respond in the first place, only four met the agency’s physical requirements. Even these four girls aren’t “ready” until they are polished, primped, posed and airbrushed for popular consumption. In today’s body-centered, youth-oriented culture, this image becomes a dangerous catalyst for the ever-increasing number of young North American women developing harmful eating disorders. In their obsessive pursuit of the perfect body, many women become anorexic, bulimic or, ironically, diet their way to obesity. Continue reading

David Cronenberg – eXistenZ (1999)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Allegra Geller, the leading game designer in the world, is testing her new virtual reality game, eXistenZ with a focus group. As they begin, she is attacked by a fanatic assassin employing a bizarre organic gun. She flees with a young marketing trainee, Ted Pikul, who is suddenly assigned as her bodyguard. Unfortunately, her pod, an organic gaming device that contains the only copy of the eXistenZ game program, is damaged. To inspect it, she talks Ted into accepting a gameport in his own body so he can play the game with her. The events leading up to this, and the resulting game lead the pair on a strange adventure where reality and their actions are impossible to determine from either their own or the game’s perspective. Continue reading

David Cronenberg – Dead Ringers (1988) (HD)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

In Dead Ringers, David Cronenberg tells the chilling story of identical twin gynecologists—suave Elliot and sensitive Beverly, bipolar sides of one personality—who share the same practice, the same apartment, the same women. When a new patient, glamorous actress Claire Niveau, challenges their eerie bond, they descend into a whirlpool of sexual confusion, drugs, and madness. Jeremy Irons’ s tour-de-force performance—as both twins—raises disturbing questions about the nature of personal identity. Continue reading

Allan King – Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company (2005)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Finally, King expands his exploration of the aging process with Memory for Max, Claire, Ida, and Company, an intimate personal diary for eight patients suffering from dementia and memory loss at the Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System. Whereas Dying at Grace documented patients succumbing to the inevitable, Memory focuses on the terrifying doubts, palpable relationships, and relentless patterns of the individual patient and their fragile grip on reality. The titular trio makes up a close-knit group linked by emotional necessity, and Memory delves deep into the haunting alienation each feels when one unexpectedly dies, and the others have to relive the tragic news over and over again. The process is difficult to watch, but in a final coup de grace, King upends stereotypes about the sick and aged by never abandoning them no matter how difficult the situation, his camera a tracker of the small, delicate emotions cinema usually can’t recreate. Continue reading

Allan King – Come on Children (1973)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
For Come on Children, from 1972, King returns to the lives of troubled Toronto youths, but this time he creates the environment of study himself. After doing extensive interviews with local teenagers, King sent 10 of his subjects on a country retreat to a farmhouse where they could live collectively without the interference of adults, hierarchies, or rules. Each of the teens, ranging in age from 13 to 18, gets a musical introduction from one of the more charismatic subjects, a pimply ex-drug addict named John. His Dylan-esque folk narration gives Come on Children a reflexive identity, the best example his last lyric, “I’m not sure what the film’s about, but I hope the movie makes you feel that you wished you were here.” These kids understand the camera’s perspective, but that doesn’t stop them from unveiling a disturbing mixture of naiveté and hardnosed cynicism at the adult life waiting around the corner. Once again, King uses a collective set piece—a visit from everyone’s parents to the farmhouse—to show the dynamic drama breathing through the core of every conversation. If Come on Children is less successful at engaging the viewer’s sympathies, it’s because the Vietnam-era teens don’t see much to look forward to, an ideology King never sugarcoats. Continue reading