Credit for Murder (DIR. Vladi Antonevicz)
By: Shahbaz Khayambashi
A video appears on YouTube which depicts the ritualistic slaughter of two men by masked individuals: one man is beheaded and the other is shot. The video appears to come from Russia. The Russian authorities say it is fake, until one man is identified after his father comes forward. This is the beginning of an unusual and captivating story about Russian neo-Nazis, recounted by a Jewish filmmaker in Credit for Murder.
Vladi Antonevicz’s film begins with a series of reaction videos; various viewers watching the original video, showing their comprehension from denial to trauma. This sequence sets the stage for an intriguing investigation about an event that escalates higher than anyone could have imagined, as well as an introduction to the doc’s film noir style which is further reflected through Credit for Murder’s cinematography and narration. As one of the subjects quips, “unsolved murders are unsolved for a reason”. That reason may – or may not – have something to do with sabotage, double agents, deep running moles, and even the KGB.
There is another question that is raised in Antonevicz’s documentary time and again: the original video was deemed a staged simulation by the authorities. This came after one Nazi’s staged videos were thought to be real. In order to avoid making that mistake again, all of the ensuing real videos were deemed fake. If all of these videos were made to terrorize, how does one differentiate the motives?
Ultimately, Credit for Murder brings up more questions than answers, but they are curiosities that will keep the viewer thinking for days to come.
Catch Credit for Murder at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:
Friday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m. @ Isabel Bader Theatre
Saturday, April 30 at 12:30 p.m. @ Hart House Theatre
Saturday, May 7 at 8:45 p.m. @ Revue Cinema
Tickled (DIR. David Farrier, Dylan Reeve)
By: Addison Wylie
Tickled is a touchy piece of work – mind the terrible pun. It’s a film that is so nerve-racking and dangerous, the audience feels like they could be arrested for watching it.
It’s also a difficult movie to describe without giving too much away. I can tell you the doc chronicles New Zealand journalist David Farrier from his initial discovery of competitive tickling to a taut dismantling investigation that has his production and well-being walking on eggshells. When Farrier’s inquisitive integrity is received by Jane O’Brien Media (the film’s subjected company that produces ambiguous tickling content and bankrolls the emerging “sport”), harassing hate-speech as well as threats are rattled off from the other end like a rabid animal. This aggressive defense is just the icing on the cake.
Since it’s better for Tickled to be experienced by an anxious and uncertain audience, let’s redirect focus to how the film has been conceived. Farrier and friend Dylan Reeve turn in a polished film which follows a mindful narrative and utilizes a surprising amount of creative cinematography. The visual quality always maintains its proficient presentation, even when the filmmakers briefly utilize a “coffee cup” hidden camera.
Tickled seems as if it’s always headed towards a distressing fate, but the filmmakers soldier on. It’s a privilege to watch Farrier and Reeve think on their feet in terms of the film’s structure while simultaneously thinking about their safety. It’ll be one of the most talked about films of the year.
Catch Tickled at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:
Saturday, April 30 at 9:45 p.m. @ Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Monday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox
Click here for more festival details and to buy tickets.
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Shahbaz Khayambashi: @ShaKhayam
Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie