Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Hot Docs 2011 Preview: A Simple Rhythm, Imagining Emanuel and The Future is Now!

Professor Steven H Strogatz demonstrates the synchronization of metronomes in Tess Girard's A Simple Rhythm.

A Simple Rhythm
Dir: Tess Girard

Rarely does a film capture me within the first few moments, but A Simple Rhythm did just that *and* it brought tears to my eyes in the first few minutes. Yep, a film that's about universal rhythm will do that to me. I absolutely loved it. I loved that it drew on experts from many different communities from scientific to artistic to explore rhythm and the patterns it creates, maintains, sustains and relays. I loved how it found and celebrated the beauty in something that could feel so dry, but instead we see it in many different beautiful lights, interpretations and presentations. A beautiful exploration on a fascinating topic and easily my favourite of the festival so far. An exceptional film that I highly recommend.

An image from Tess Girard's "A Simple Rhythm"; a film that combines the dialogue of philosophical and academic conversation on rhythm and synchronization with metaphoric images of the every day.

A Simple Rhythm screenings at Hot Docs:
  • Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 7pm at The Royal Cinema
  • Sat, May 7, 2011 at 6:30pm at Cumberland 3
  • Sun, May 8, 2011 at 3:45pm at The ROM Theatre

Image from Imagining Emanuel

Imagining Emanuel
Dir: Thomas A Østbye

Imagining Emanuel is an absolutely fascination exploration of identity, history and truth, especially from the point of view of how we actually actually view these things and when we consider them to be 'real'. What is it that make the truth, the truth? When do we definitively know who someone is? Does that change depending on who we are: someone on the street versus a government representative versus a law enforcement officer? Does it change who we are, to question these truths? I loved how this film was put together and it was brilliant it it's exploration of these interesting questions from a theoretical point of view as well as adding a human and personal perspective. Unique in many ways, and well worth checking out.

Imagining Emanuel screenings at Hot Docs:
  • Wed, May 4, 2011 at 9:15pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox 4
  • Fri, May 6, 2011 at 1:30pm at Cumberland 2

Image from The Future is Now!

The Future is Now!
Dirs: Gary Burns & Jim Brown (Radiant City)

An exploration of the importance of art and connection with society is seen through the journey of a skeptic with an at arms distance guide who funnels him from interesting thinker to art creator, philosophers and beyond. I love the idea of the film, but I was taking a bit aback as I could tell right away that it's not quite a straight up documentary (it was a strong familiarity with Canadian actors that gave it away), but in all fairness it also feels intentional. The Future Is Now! has a very direct and clear tone to get it's message across, but it also feels like it might be preaching to the converted. I hope not just the converted, because the message is great as well as the journey structure that hopefully can and will open people up to considering new ideas, reflecting on their own opinions and foster new ways of thinking. I think anything that can achieve these goals and has an optimistic attitude to boot, is a welcome endeavour and an great source of inspiration.

The Future is Now! screenings at Hot Docs:
  • Thu, May 5, 2011 at 9pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
  • Sat, May 7, 2011 at 1pm at Cumberland 3
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival runs from April 28 - May 8, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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