FNC 2017: New Media

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for Cinetalk.net

The FNC is known not only for its vast selection of films, but also its eye on new technologies. The events dot the city in several venues where the public can watch live experimental music performances, put on some VR goggles, or visit Severine Fontaine’s Lamparium. This planetarium-like immersive experience incorporates 3D animated lamps and light sources projected on a 360-degree dome-shaped screen, as well as physical lamps which turn on and off throughout the 45-minute presentation. While spectators recline on oversized beanbags mats, the show is at first relaxing and somewhat hypnotizing. Its pace picks up to Continue reading

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CCIFF 2017: Short Films and VR

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for Cinetalk.net

What’s Your Art?’s director Maxim Bessmertny and writer Iam Lam were at the Montreal screening of their docu-fiction about an elderly cardboard vendor and a bodybuilder. Many types of people call Macau home, including 5’2”, 64-year old Lin Yao, and Allen the Brazilian cardio expert and trainer.

Macau may seem to sparkle, but there’s a “whole cake under that cherry.” The majority of the country’s revenue and recognition comes from casinos. There is not much to highlight or support the Arts industry, but Bessmertny and Lam were seeking authenticity in a city of gambling. They have created an amusing comparative study between two people who – at first – appear to have nothing in common.

Through off-camera sexual gags, politely delivered foul language, and a lively interviewer, we learn that Allen and Lin Yao share one thing in particular. Cardio. The streets of Macau and its tourist attractions are seen merely as backdrops as Lin Yao pushes 200-pound carts of cardboard to Continue reading

CCIFF 2017 : Perfect (Canada, 2016)

 

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Coach Meng is tough. But the judges are tougher, and incorrigibly subjective. Synchronized swimming will always be mocked, but if the public knew what went on behind the scenes, they’d think very differently.

“It’s what the top athletes do, plus no oxygen.”

In Perfect, Jérémie Battaglia follows the trials and tribulations of the Canadian Synchro team. Coach Meng’s athletes don’t look like clones. Some are tall; some are short. Different body types and skin tones dive into an Olympic pool without matchy-matchy warpaint to make their facial expressions as alike as possible. Diversity won’t stand in Meng’s way to push her girls to the top. The uphill battle is not only due to the physical and mental stress upon any hopeful Olympian. Additionally it is because in Synchro history we are accustomed to uniformity, even if Continue reading

Expo 67 Live (Lanoie-Brien, 2017)

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for Cinetalk.net

Karine Lanoie-Brien has created a colossal work. The hours she and her team spent sifting through archives will finally bear fruit on September 18th.  As part of the Montreal375 celebrations, Expo 67 Live will take place at Place des Arts, using portions of the available architecture as well as giant screens to welcome audiences into the universe of Expo 67. The world’s fair happened on Montreal’s Ile Ste-Helene and Ile Notre Dame, and has remained in the hearts and memories of millions of people worldwide.

Though Lanoie-Brien is too young to have attended the “show of the century”, she was able to envision what it must have been like. Her project with the NFB is symbolic because of the latter’s involvement at Expo 67. The film In the Labyrinth, by pioneers Roman Kroitor, Colin Low, and Hugh O’Connor  (directors praised by Stanley Kubrick and George Lucas)  used a cruciform of 5 screens and was the precursor to IMAX. To commemorate both Expo 67 and In the Labyrinth’s 50th anniversary, Lanoie-Brien wanted to create Continue reading

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

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for Cinetalk.net

Recipient of the Best Music Documentary Award (2017 Boulder International Film Festival) and the Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling (Sundance 2017), Catherine Bainbridge’s Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World plays host to a long list of modern music icons. Quincy Jones, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, Slash, Tony Bennett, Steven Tyler and a slew of other big names share their impressions about artists the general public may still not know are of American Indian descent. The song that inspired Bainbridge’s film’s title directly influenced many artists, especially in the rock realm. Link Wray’s 1958 hit Rumble was a groundbreaking success. It was one of the first tunes to use the “power chord”. It employed fuzz, distortion and feedback, and was the only instrumental banned in the US. People feared it would incite teenage gang violence. Rumble became the so-called theme song of juvenile delinquency.

What was it that touched the deepest urges of up and coming musicians? What made a young Iggy Pop declare, “Fuck it. I’m gonna be a musician”? To rumble means to fight, to disrupt, but those are only the obvious meanings. Another interpretation is to be active, to ROAR. Rumble is the sound of freedom. Native American music was seen as a threat. As such, people were jailed for performing it. Racism then was Continue reading