Thursday, 24 April 2008

Hot Docs 08 Day 7 - Wednesday April 23/08


Day 7 was a fantastic day at Hot Docs, all three films were stories of men and all of the films were excellent. From the creative storytelling style of the historical journey in Passage, to the singular vision of a wirewalker in Man on Wire, to a personal journey to understand the appeal of steroids in Bigger, Faster, Stronger * they all had unique perspectives and were extremely well done.

(John Walker, director - Passage)

Dir: John Walker

This film shows parallel journeys of the historical quest to find the Northwest passage through the Arctic and the current quest to find out the truth of this history, specifically through the lives of Dr. John Rae and Sir John Franklin. It plays with different ways of storytelling from showing the rehearsal process of a stage play to the traveling and learning how to live on the land in the North. It is a wondrous film with beautiful cinematography, but the heart of it feels present in the people working towards seeking the truth. One of true joys of the film is the presence of Tagak Curley, an Inuit stateman whom brings the oral tradition as well as the perspective of how this incident affected the Inuit people.

(James Marsh, director - Man on Wire)

Man on Wire
Dir: James Marsh

This is one of the hottest tickets of the festival as it comes off the tails of Sundance and after Hot Docs is headed straight to Tribeca. It is a tour de force film based on the singular vision Philippe Petit to wirewalk between the two buildings of the World Trade Centre 1,350 feet above ground. The film has a delightful look and feel to it with a huge array of archival footage, interviews with Philippe and his team as well as reinactments. The footage is fascinating and the interviews are so heartfelt and vivid, it is amazing to see everyone on this quest and the relationships and bonds that formed. I would not be surprized if this film wins for audience pick, the crowd was captivated by every single moment. An excellent selection.

(Christopher Bell, director - Bigger, Stronger, Faster *)

Bigger, Stronger, Faster *
Dir: Christopher Bell

* the side effects of being American

This is a documentary that not only explores the use of steroids but also the personal journey of Christopher Bell and a portrait of his family. Growing up during the age Hulkamania and action stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, the goal for him and his brothers was clear: get big and be successful. But in reality, and is it even possible? If it is possible, can it be done legally? Are steroids the only answer to get pumped? This is a fascinating film at looking at the reasons behind use of steroids and also covers health concerns, legal issues and links to current sports. The film is filled with not only personal archival footage but great clips of action films and wrestling moments. A stellar film.

Hot Docs runs from April 17-27/08 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Suzie Ridler said...

Oh I just love documentaries, these all sound so good Shannon and very thought provoking. You're really getting good stuff here aren't you?

You know what?! I just found out that the Atlantic Film Festival is happening this week and is almost over. Dang! With family visiting I still couldn't have gone but jeepers, the timing sucks. Maybe if I'm here next year!

Anonymous said...

Man on a Wire sounds fascinating. I hope it either stays on the festival circuit until later in the year or finally gets a wider release. Would love to see it!

eddie lydecker said...

With regards to "Man On Wire", i genuinely believe what Philippe Petit did on that day to be THE most astonishing thing that any human being has ever done in the last 5000 years of recorded world history ! ! !.

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