90 mins., Canada, 2013, dir. Corey Ogilvie
Dates and Venues 3 May @ 7pm Vancouver Playhouse (Opening Night Film) ; 7 May @ 12.30pm Collingwood Cinema; 11 May @ 9.15pm Cinematheque
The spirit of protest is profiled intelligently and artistically by Ogilvie. He goes back to Jesus Christ who drove the money changers from the temple, and he compares the Pharisees to the American politicians who are in cahoots with the money changers, the Wall Street occupants who, in turn, have a hold on politicians through millions of dollars in campaign donations. The reference to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King in the epilogue of the documentary reflects the protest begun by Christ who condemned the rich and had compassion for the poor. I like the metaphor of the Monarch butterfly, as the film ends, as it flies north from Mexico to Canada -- a beautiful concept of the endearing spirit of protest embedded in our souls.
Rose Colored Glasses
93 mins., Canada, 2012, dir. Sonia Suvagau
Date and Venue 8 May @ 8.45pm Vogue Theatre
I enjoyed this documentary. It's full of optimism, and the title reflects the motto of 75-year old Nicholas Treadwell, an eccentric art dealer, who started off in the late 60s selling paintings to housewives in London from the back of his van. I chatted with Suvagau during Doxa's media launch and she told me that this is her first full-length documentary, and her bio is quite impressive: BFA Graduate of Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts; her grad film “Salvation” won Best Short in the Death By Night Screening at Moving Image in Toronto; Best International Student Film at the Illinois International Film Festival in Chicago; Best Student Film and Best Actor award at the L.A. Global Film Festival, among many other awards. No wonder this film in my opinion is outstanding. A lot of work was put into it.
What caught my attention in this film were the many personae Treadwell plays. He knows how to entertain, as he dresses up and plays different characters, singing and dancing, narrating stories from his mother's (inset) point of view, to dressing up as Pink Hitler in the streets of Aigen, a rural town in Austria where he now lives in his gallery he calls "The Pink Prison", or what he refers to as the independent state of "United Pinkdom".
Interviews with artists he gets his material from are interspersed in this film, including Martyn Jacques who bittlerly criticies him, many times with insults, but then, apologizes personally to him when Treadwell shows up in his hotel room. At the end, his philosophy of living through rose- colored glasses is reiterated, and true enough, why be a grump when you can live pink and positive? .
. . .
BackBone: Vancouver Experimental Cinema from 1967-1981
60 mins., Canada, 2012, dir. Richard Martin
Dates and Venue 4 May @ 8.30pm & 12 May @ 4.45pm Cinematheque
This is what I'd consider an educational documentary where Martin traces the beginnings of Experimental Film in Vancouver during those turbulent years of the Vietnam war and the hippie movement, all the way to the punk and yippie years when audiences started losing interest in experimentation. Interviews with experimental filmmakers -- Patricia Gruben, David Rimmer, Sturla Gunnarson, Chris Gallagher, Al Razutis, Gary Lee Nova, Colin Browne, Kirk Tougas, Peg Campbell, Alex MacKenzie, and Peter Lipskis--and clips from their films are well presented in this excellent documentary. I chatted with Martin who was present during the launch and exchanged ideas with him. I told him that I was into this movement when I was doing my doctorate in Ohio, and how I was pleased to have failed a film course there with an experimental short I presented, "Fellini 13 &1/2" because experimentation wasn't yet accepted in the mid-West. This is an interesting documentary especially for budding filmmakers here in Vancouver as this West Coast city was ahead of its time with experimental films.
Good Ol' Freda
86 mins., USA, 2013, dir. Ryan White
Dates and Venue 12 May @ 7.00pm Rio Theatre (Closing Night Film) & 12 May @ 8.30pm Vogue Theatre
For those who were teenagers like myself growing up with the Beatles during their 10 year stint before they split up, this documentary gives us a different perspective. Freda Kelly was a fan, and ended up being the secretary of the Beatles and President of the Beatles Fan Club until the band split up. The documentary provides us with Freda who is probably in her 60s being interviewed about her relationship with the Beatles, and gives us archival footage in phtos and film of the Beatles from their start at the Cavern in Liverpool to their rise as international stars. In some scenes of the documentary, we see Freda going up to her attic and going through her Beatles memorabilia. This is a film for those who are still Beatles fans after more than 50 years, and also for the generations of our children and grandchildren who can get an insider perspective on one of the most beloved bands in the history of music. In fact, Freda's reason for coming out is so her children and grandchildren would see what an important role she played during those years of beatlemania.
© 2013 Ed Farolan