Bruce LaBruce – Super 8 1/2 (1993)

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LaBruce stars in this vaguely autobiographical look at a triple-X star-director caught in the downward spiral of his career. Remarks Googie, the art-house auteur who’s either exploiting LaBruce or launching his comeback, “He was actually attempting to break down the whole subject-camera relationship… It was as if he was an existentialist trapped in a porno star’s body.” Well, almost.

Just as LaBruce’s scrawny, hangover aesthetics challenge the conventions of gay porn’s Wonder Bread desire, his newly adroit camera unsettles narrative assumptions. A dense weave of self-reflexive interviews, cynical vignettes, and outrageous cameos by “Kids In The Hall” Scott Thompson and drag goddess Vaginal Creme Davis – along with moments stolen almost verbatim from films like Fellini’s 8 1/2 and Perry’s Play It As It Lays – Super 8 1/2 still manages enough rude sex to keep the whole unruly narrative in your face. Continue reading

Rhayne Vermette – Domus (2017)

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“The block of marble is the most beautiful of all statues” – Carlo Mollino
This is the story of the godlike architect, Carlo Mollino, animated within the desk space of failed architect, Rhayne Vermette. Made, with love on 16mm, 35 and Super 8, this classic tale of Pygmalion investigates intersections between cinema and architecture.
For E. Ackerman, A. Jarnow, and T. Ito. Continue reading

Louise Archambault – Familia (2005)

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Michele, a divorced aerobics instructor with a gambling addiction, loses her job and seeks refuge with a childhood friend, Janine, who lives in a seemingly comfortable middle-class suburban neighborhood. Michele’s rebellious teenage daughter, Marguerite, and Janine’s shy and reserved daughter, Gabrielle, become friends, leading to unforeseen tensions that force both generations to reassess their values. Familia explores the question of how value systems are passed on from mother to daughter and asks: Is it possible to avoid passing on to our children those traits that we despise in our parents? Continue reading

Xavier Dolan – Les amours imaginaires AKA Heartbeats (2010)

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Early accolades can be a curse to an artist’s career. Directors whose first features meet with critical hallelujahs are often harshly scrutinized for subsequent efforts. Few debuts have enjoyed the delirious reception afforded Xavier Dolan’s J’ai tué ma mère. Dolans second film, Les amours imaginaires, one of the most eagerly anticipated films to emerge from Quebec in some time, is an exhilarating exception to the sophomore jinx. It’s as good as its predecessor – maybe even better – and best of all it is radically different.

Les amours imaginaires centres on two fast friends: Marie (Monia Chokri), a supremely confident and sexually aggressive combination of Bette Davis, Carmen Maura and Anna Karina; and the cherubic, acerbic Francis (Dolan), who has managed to manoeuvre through multiple affairs without ever getting too attached. Like the aristocrats of Dangerous Liaisons transported to contemporary Montreal, Marie and Francis spend their time being fabulous, condescending and bitchy. Continue reading

Simon Lavoie – La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes AKA The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches (2017)

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The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches (orig French La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes) is a novel by Canadian novelist Gaétan Soucy.

La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes was one of the novels chosen for inclusion in the French version of Canada Reads, broadcast on Radio-Canada in 2004, where it was championed by actor, film director, screenwriter, and musician Micheline Lanctôt.

La petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes caused a sensation in Quebec and was immediately translated into more than ten languages. It was translated into English as The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches by Sheila Fischman. Continue reading

Anne Pick & William Spahic – Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking (2007)

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In July 1937 the Japanese Imperial Army, which already controlled a large section of northeastern China, launched an undeclared war against the Republic of China. Five months later, on December 13, its troops entered the capital city of Nanking and began raping and murdering its citizens in an orgy of violence that has few parallels in modern history.

Tens of thousands of Chinese prisoners-of-war were machine gunned en masse. An estimated 20,000 women were raped. Countless defenseless civilians; men, women and children were killed on the streets or in their homes. A British reporter who was on the scene compared the Japanese troops to Attila and the Huns. Writer George Will described the mass slaughter, which became known as “The Rape of Nanking” as “perhaps the most appalling single episode of barbarism in a century replete with horror.” Continue reading