Author: Adam Sidsworth

Cinema Revisited: NFB and the Indigenous voice

In October 2013, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, in cooperation with the Ontario Media Development Cooperation and Telefilm Canada, commissioned a report entitled Indigenous Feature Film Production in Canada: A National and International Perspective. ImagineNATIVE “foster[s] and promote[s] the Aboriginal film and media sector,” culminating in its annual festival, based at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox. In its 65-page report, imagineNATIVE concluded, “the Aboriginal screen-based sector is dynamic and vibrant,” despite the fact that Aboriginal people are “underrepresented in almost all areas” and that there is “a significant gap in Aboriginal feature film production.” The report analysed Aboriginal contributions...

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Review: Labyrinth of Lies

By all accounts, Labyrinth of Lies should be an interesting watch. It’s a German movie that deals with a touchy subject matter for Germans: the Holocaust. It focuses not only on the Holocaust but also Auschwitz, the infamous concentration camp that witnessed the worst of Nazi mass murder. North American audiences, who often equate European and subtitled movies as art-film fare, may dismiss this movie as a challenge to watch. But make no mistake: in style and execution, it tackles a difficult subject with the flare of a watered-down Hollywood movie. The movie is a fictionalized account of the...

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Review: Coming Home

Director Zhang Yimou is best known to Western audiences for Hero and Raise the Red Dragon. His newest movie, Coming Home, doesn’t have the bright colours of his previous works, but it betrays his cinematographic detail and composition. Dandan (Zhang Huiwen) is a teenage girl during China’s Cultural Revolution of the 1970s. An aspiring ballet dancer, she has had no relationship with her father, Lu (Chen Daoming), a political prisoner since she was three. After Dandan discovers him standing in the apartment she shares with her mother, Wanyu (Gong Li), she reports her parents’ planned meeting to the police, who...

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CineAction: a look at the criticism of Robin Wood

York University has a different history compared to its older downtown sister, the University of Toronto (UofT). UofT dates back to the 19th century, its downtown campus integrating organically with the surrounding community, Gothic buildings on tree-lined boulevards side-by-side with Edwardian houses and public schools. York University, however, was purposely planned and created to serve Toronto’s booming population. When its main campus opened in the mid-’60s, it was vastly removed from Toronto’s core, a geographically large field with its few Brutalist buildings situated far apart. To the east were oil refineries. To the west it was geographically isolated from...

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Theatrical evolution: a history of TIFF ‘s relationship to Yonge and Bloor

Toronto is changing. Nowhere is it clearer than in the downtown core. Large parts of the city’s centre are being torn down and rebuilt, notably Regent Park. Industrial lands are being transformed into condos, such as CitySpace, Liberty Village and the Distillery, and thanks to the recent PanAm Games, our waterfront is finally getting attention. Perhaps the biggest change is the Yonge Street strip, particularly between Dundas and Bloor. Nestled between what was once hippie Yorkville to the north and Toronto’s seedy underbelly to the south, this part of Yonge contained old, decrepit buildings, seedy massage parlours, and dive...

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The TFS List: TIFF 2015 films you shouldn’t overlook

I’m a huge fan of TIFF — not just the actual fest, but throughout the rest of the year. I love TIFF Bell Lightbox (the cinematic gem that screens movies seldom seen elsewhere); the Film Reference Library, where you can explore Toronto’s rich cinema history; and TIFF in Your Park, where parents can catch a free movie while their children play on the swings. Yet, every September, I’m overwhelmed by, and apprehensive of, the craziness of the Toronto International Film Festival; it’s a movie-industry monster. Huge sections of downtown are blocked off so that people can stargaze. It’s where...

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Remaking the classics: famous films that were remakes

Of all the trends in moviemaking, the remake is the most despised. Many see it as proof that Hollywood has emptied the cupboard of ideas, while others dislike the Americanization of foreign movies, seeing it as proof that American audiences will watch only English-language films. Remaking movies has such negative connotations that Hollywood has rechristened it “retooling,” Hollywood’s marketing slang for today’s generation. Today’s superhero movies are retooled with bigger special effects. From that perspective, 1959’s Ben-Hur is a retooling of the 1925 original, as it adds sound and colour. It may come as a surprise that many classic Hollywood movies...

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