Articles by Shahbaz Khayambashi

Festival Coverage

TIFF 2018: ‘What is Democracy?’

At a time where democracy is in danger of losing its way, it is necessary to ask a few questions regarding the next steps towards putting democracy back on the right path, and whether democracy is even a system worth saving.  Astra Taylor’s NFB-produced What is Democracy? attempts that feat but, unfortunately, comes up short.

Reviews

King Cohen

There is a police parade walking down the street.  Dozens of men in uniform are walking in formation, surrounded by revelers.  Suddenly, Andy Kaufman pulls out a gun and shoots someone down.  He is subdued and shot.  With his last breath, he says “God told me to.”  I have only seen one Larry Cohen film, and yet it managed to contain one scene which placed itself directly into my brain.  Cohen has spent decades writing…

Reviews

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

If you have ever read Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet or have seen the 1995 documentary based on the book, you would know quite well that Hollywood was full of closeted queer individuals working as actors, directors, producers and everything else;  trying their hardest to live their truest lives, while also keeping the truth hidden.  Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood tells another side of that story.

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ TIFF ’18

TIFF returns for another year, pushed along by their Tuesday announcement of gala and special presentation films.  This first slate has the same level of films that frequently find their way into the earliest announcement: films that will eventually be nominated for Oscars, or be ignored for Oscars, or find their way into hot take articles about how they should have been nominated for Oscars.

Reviews

Catwalk: Tales from the Catshow Circuit

Last year’s Kedi, one of the best films of the year, showed us just how much potential there is in cat documentaries.  This year, CBC Docs attempted to follow that nascent tradition in Canada with Catwalk: Tales from the Catshow Circuit, a study of people and their pets who participate in such performances.  And, yes, there’s a healthy dose of cute cat action.

Reviews

The Death of Stalin

Across the past couple decades, Armando Iannucci has repeatedly shown himself to be one of the most important voices working in comedy.  Whether we are discussing his hand in the creation of Alan Partridge or his blatantly political work in The Thick of It and Veep, Iannucci has shown that he has his hand on the comedic pulse of whatever age he may be in.  Now, he’s decided to take on a new experiment: a…

Reviews

Learning to See: The World of Insects

One thing that tends to endear viewers to a film is something that has been described as a “personal” style of filmmaking.  When the director finds something that they have a deep personal connection with and they present it to us in an authentic, unpretentious way, that is usually something to be commended.  Unfortunately, it is also possible to become too personal, giving up certain aesthetic qualities in favour of familiarity.  When that happens, the…