Denis Villeneuve – Un 32 août sur terre AKA August 32nd on Earth (1998)

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When Simone nods off at the wheel, her car goes out of control. She escapes serious physical injury, but her life changes direction nevertheless. She cancels a planned trip to Italy, quits her modeling job, and calls her friend Philippe with the suggestion that they have a baby together. To gain time, he agrees but only under the condition that they do it in the desert. The two leave Montreal for Utah where something unexpected awaits Philippe. Continue reading

Barbara Sternberg – Like a Dream That Vanishes (1999)

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“Like a Dream That Vanishes” continues Sternberg’s work in film both thematically and formally: the ephemerality of life echoed in the temporal nature of film, as the stuff of life echoed on the energy, life-force in rhythmic light pulses. (Your life is like a candle burning.) Imageless emulsion is inter-cut with brief shots of natural elements and mise-en-scene of the stages of human life: a little boy runs and falls; teens hang out together at night smoking; sun shines through tree branches; men pace, waiting; flashes of lightning; an elderly man speaks philosophically about miracles. Continue reading

Barbara Sternberg – Transitions (1982)

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“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)

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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