In this often very funny enquiry into crankiness, Toronto filmmaker Alan Zweig interviews notable curmudgeons like Fran Lebowitz, Harvey Pekar and Bruce LaBruce. Zweig wants to know what their frickin’ problem is and, more importantly, whether it’s the same as his. As in Vinyl, his equally irascible doc on record collectors, the endearingly dour filmmaker spends much of I, Curmudgeon spilling his guts directly to his camera and torturing himself with big questions that he can never answer satisfactorily. Zweig then confronts his subjects with the same questions, thereby making them even grouchier. (How grouchy? Andy Rooney is moved to kick Zweig out of his office.) Though I, Curmudgeon’s meandering structure and incessant jump-cuts are irritants, they’re also appropriate to the movie’s abrasive, anti-social personality. Consider this a testament to the power of negative thinking. – Eye Weekly Read More »
At some point, everyone has asked the question, why is it so hard to find love? In this final installment of the autobiographical trilogy that includes Vinyl and I, Curmudgeon, Alan Zweig reflects with disarming candour on why, if he longs for a partner and children, he is still single at mid-life. Read More »
Alan Zweig investigates the wacky world of record collecting. An odd film made by a Toronto filmmaker who interviewed record collectors in their homes and in their favourite haunt – the record store. For those who enjoyed High Fidelity and thought that Nick Hornsby’s novel was a rip off of their life story, wait until you see this one! The director’s thesis is that record collectors are obsessive compulsive and are using this pursuit to make up for something that is inherently missing from their lives. Read More »
“I had a hard name in that place” says Michael, one of the eight ex-cons in Alan Zweig’s new film. His turn of phrase refers to more than just a bad reputation. He’s talking about a hardness of spirit. It may have served him well as a criminal or a prisoner. In the outside world however, that hardness can get in the way. But slipping off the bonds of that hardness is easier said than done.
In A HARD NAME, we meet eight middle-aged ex-convicts, chosen at random, who are trying to stay out of prison, perhaps for the first time in their lives. Most have spent 30 to 40 years in and out of jail. Prison is what they know; they’ve learned how to survive there. Out here, it’s a different story. As each of the characters in the film tries to adapt to life on the outside, they share their stories, reflect on their past, and explore the path that led them to prison in the first place. Read More »