Hot Docs 2015: ‘Nuestro Monte Luna’ and ‘Welcome to Leith’

Nuestro Monte Luna (DIR. Pablo Alvarez-Mesa)

Nuestro Monte Luna_Frame4

By: Trevor Jeffery

Nuestro Monte Luna is a story of a bullfighting school, and the teenage boys who attend to train in a well-hated tradition.

Nuestro Monte Luna’s narrative starts strong.  It manages to immediately set up the scenario – you’re not just watching people in Choachi, but you are experiencing the little Colombian town through the camera.  However, as the movie trails on, interest wanes and clarity takes a back seat to establishing macro-shots that long and frequently overstay their welcome.  Despite this, it manages to find its place as a character piece, peering not only into the lives of bullfighters-in-training, but also into the lives of these bullfighters-in-training.

Regardless of your feelings toward bullfighting, it will certainly appeal if you feel strongly one way or another.  There is very little first-hand bullfighting footage (only one of the boys is shown in a fight, and for a surprisingly short while, considering the subject of the documentary), but it’s not glorified – you see the unsheathed reality of how gruesome it can be.  On the other side, these boys are keeping alive a centuries-long cultural tradition, and are celebrated as heroes for it.  Nuestro Monte Luna truly lets you decide what is right, if you even want to.

Catch Nuestro Monte Luna at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:

Wednesday, April 29 at 9:30 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox

Friday, May 1 at 1:30 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox

Saturday, May 2 at 7:15 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre


Welcome to Leith (DIR. Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker)

By: Addison Wylie

Welcome to Leith is profoundly scary.  This is a film that will chill audiences to the bone.

Filmmakers Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker give movie goers the broad strokes of Craig Cobb’s attempt to take over the quaint town of Leith, North Dakota.  The doc gives a crash course about the town’s history, reveals Cobb’s controversial history as one of America’s most dangerous white supremacists, and then allows events to unfold as Cobb persuades his following to purchase property in Leth and prepare for an uprising.

Everything in Welcome to Leith is separated into month increments which sets the film on a fast track.  However, this pacing works in the film’s favour.  It’s frightening to witness how quickly Cobb was able to put his plan in motion.  The audience is as bamboozled as population of Leith.

Welcome to Leith is a disheartening reminder that extreme bigoted and racist opinions still exist, but the message is not heavy-handed.  There are also strong themes of community and perseverance throughout as Leith grows a thicker skin.

Nichols and Walker are knowledgable to know a documentary has to look at a story from all angles.  Cobb gets to explain his life and influences as he feels beaten by Leith’s democracy – adding depth to intentions that still seethe of evil nonetheless.

Catch Welcome to Leith at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:

Saturday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox

Sunday, April 26 at 1:00 p.m. @ Hart House Theatre

Thursday, April 30 at 1:30 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox


Click here for more festival details and to buy tickets.

Related Articles:

Wylie Writes @ Hot Docs 2015

Reviews of Shoulder the Lion and The Wolfpack

Reviews of Committed and Hadwin’s Judgement

Reviews of Lowdown Tracks and Orion: The Man Who Would Be King

Reviews of The Amina Profile and Seth’s Dominion

Reviews of The Circus Dynasty and The Messenger

Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

Trevor Jeffery: @TrevorSJeffery

Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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