Author: Nadya Domingo

Review: The Overnighters

A flock of unemployed men move to Williston, North Dakota when word gets out that there are jobs available in the oil fields. With nowhere to live, the men find overnight refuge at a local church, headed by Pastor Jay Reinke. The situation quickly becomes controversial: many people question why the men, some who are now making six-figure salaries, are allowed to stay at the church. The Overnighters opens with Pastor Jay booming a reassuring “Holy, Holy, Holy,” waking up the sleeping men bundled in low cots. The documentary introduces a man who, from the moment the sun shines,...

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Media Impact: the imperative voice of Alanis Obomsawin

“My name is Kahentiiosta.” A soft voice states her name, upbringing, and birth place. A colourful photograph appears of Kahentiiosta and a young girl. Her soft-spoken voice is a double-edged sword: a calm, yet bold resistance against authority. Kahentiiosta is the subject of Alanis Obomsawin’s docu-memoir, My Name is Kahentiiosta. The 30-minute memoir is a compelling portrait of a young Kahnawake Mohawk. Set in July 1990, the film is a companion piece to Obomsawin’s most well-known documentary, Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance. Kahentiiosta was arrested after the 78-day armed conflict—known internationally as the Oka Crisis— between the Mohawk, the...

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TIFF 2014 Review: Foreign Body

Young Angelo (Riccardo Leonelli) finds himself caught between two love interests after his first love, Kasia (Agata Buzek), becomes a nun. After getting a job at a successful company in Poland, Angelo becomes entrapped by the workplace politics of two intriguing women. Hailed as a master of Polish film, Krzysztof Zanussi crafts a dangerous love story of poetic and fragile moments, which is often disrupted by chaos and righteousness. While the film tends to wane at various points, the overall story is captivating, mysterious and packed with intense emotional impact. From the beginning, there is a certain rhythm set...

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Film as art: a look at TIFF’s Future Projections and Wavelengths

In an industry that’s tightly fabricated and packaged, we still often regard major blockbuster films as “art.” Depending on your viewpoint, this may remain true. However, blockbuster films often relay elements of art, imitating profound techniques that are largely found in experimental film. Experimental, avant-garde film has somewhat of a stigma surrounding it — and maybe justifiably so. Experimental film may be difficult to connect with and to enjoy because it is, simply put, different than what we’re used to experiencing at the cinema. However, there seems to be a shift from disregarding the experimental, to embracing film as...

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TIFF 2014 Review: Margarita, with a Straw

Laila (Kalki Koechlin) is a talented writer and musician who leaves her home in India after accepting a scholarship to New York University. Laila, who has cerebral palsy, comes of age after she meets a young activist named Khanum (Sayani Gupta). Laila not only learns more about her sexuality, but confronts the growing pains of leaving home and balancing who she truly is versus what society expects her to be. Movies like Margarita, with a Straw are rare gems. The film addresses cerebral palsy, death, and sexuality, without superficiality. While many films may exploit these topics, this movie offers...

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TIFF 2014 Review: Trick or Treaty?

In 1905, the Government of Canada and First Nations in northern Ontario signed Treaty 9, commonly known as the James Bay Treaty, in which the First Nations signatories supposedly “gave up” their land. Trick or Treaty?, directed by legendary Canadian filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, addresses the controversial document which has been used to deprive First Nations communities of their rights. The documentary follows various historical movements, including Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike and the Idle No More protests. Obomsawin’s documentaries inform, inspire, and shock us. Trick or Treaty? is no different. A legendary documentarian, Obomsawin has a gift of telling...

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The TFS List: past TIFF movies you can stream at home

This past weekend, you may have seen some passionate folk camped overnight outside of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) box office. Each year, many go to extensive lengths to get tickets to the films they want to see. But sometimes, the perfectly personalized festival experience isn’t always achieved. With the power of on-demand streaming services, we’re now able to watch movies that we may have missed at the festival — or perhaps ones that we couldn’t wait to see again. For this month’s TFS List, we’ve put together a selection of past TIFF movies that we can now...

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