Monday, May 11, 2009

Hot Docs - Canada

Special Jury Prize - Canadian Feature: Waterlife (D: Kevin McMahon; P: Michael McMahon, Kristina McLaughlin, Gerry Flahive). 

This was the only Hot Docs award winner I viewed and I have to say - I respectfully differ.  I didn't see all the Canadian entries but surely there were far more worthy films for this prize. No doubt in my mind that this was beautifully shot and well crafted (outstanding sound design).  But aren't we at a point that goes beyond raising awareness about the dismal state of the Great Lakes?  There is the question of audience and theatrical release.  Who is going to pay money to see this at their local Cineplex but people concerned about the health of the Great Lakes?  This is all a bit too "101"  lamprey eels are a problem, zebra mussels are a problem, petrochemical industry on the shores are a problem.  Unfortunately this really isn't news.  Lots of attention spent on Lake Michigan, St. Clair, Huron Erie.... but it seems Lake Ontario was skimmed over as if it were merely a mud puddle.  What about the issue of Pickering and its impact on the watershed? The only call to action happens just before the credits roll and it is a website address.  Gee, thanks. This opens in select theatres across the country in June.

Two Canadian films I saw and got far from more were 'Broke' and 'Laughology.'

Broke was intriguing.  It took a look at a cast of characters that come and go in a pawn shop.  The owner, his side-kick and the regular customers.  It didn't offer any pat answers or easy judgements, but it was a slice of life many of us don't see. Unfortunately this film will likely never have a theatrical release, but here is a YouTube clip.

Laughology was seriously hilarious.  This film will air on CTV sometime in September. What makes us laugh?  Why is laughter so good for us?  What role did it play in our evolution?  Why is some laughter more contagious than others?  In the end, why 'think' so much about what is funny?  I have a feeling the Director was expecting a lot more uncontrollable belly laughter from the audience... maybe they would have gotten more laughs if they would have held the shots of people laughing just a touch more longer.  It is infectious after all.

1 comment:

David Peters said...

I to thought Laughology was out of control hilarious. Really changed the way I see laughter and maybe even the way I laugh. Weird.
I concur though. Really a special film.

David Peters