Hot Docs 2018: ‘The Cleaners’ and ‘Turning Tables’

The Cleaners (DIR. Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck)

Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck’s The Cleaners is a documentary that claims to be one thing, but is really about another topic.

The claim is a study of the people in charge of online content moderation on social media websites.  However, the true story at work here has to do with the distortion of the concept of free speech in a capitalist, right-wing society: a distortion that inevitably leads to violence.  The doc shows a variety of moderators going through a variety of images and, as if a mantra, repeatedly stating what needs to be deleted and what needs to be ignored.  What is quickly established, however, is that there is no objectivity to this process: images questioning or mocking Trump, Duterte or Erdogan are removed for a variety of reasons, while images mocking Muslims or refugees are kept because free speech affords everyone an opinion.  This is where the question becomes: who cleans the cleaners?

While this concept is an interesting one, The Cleaners suffers from its lack of focus.  Topics of interest change so quickly and frequently, it is difficult to tell when one ends.  Furthermore, there is an unnecessary attempt to make the subject matter more sexy and exciting, when it seems like the mundanity of the whole process should have been embraced.

– Shahbaz Khayambashi 

Catch The Cleaners at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:

Wednesday, May 2 at 2:45 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre

Friday, May 4 at 9:00 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre


Turning Tables (DIR. Chrisann Hessing)

Turning Tables does exactly what a documentary about an artist should do – introduce the audience to a creative thinker/performer that strangers may not have discovered otherwise.

Through a vibrant lens, movie goers gather insight on Joshua DePerry (aka. Classic Roots).  DePerry fuses First Nations culture with modern techno beats, and the music is extremely catchy.  It’s a hit with his Thunder Bay reservation community in Long Lake 58 First Nation – especially with youngsters – and the tunes translate equally well when they’re being mixed in a mainstream studio.  However, DePerry is adamant to continue his music career overseas in Berlin, Germany, and experiment within a music scene that is incredibly receptive to the techno genre.  Though everyone in the documentary seems to be in agreeance that Classic Roots is talented, there’s still a varying element to listener reactions;  which director Chrisann Hessing and producer Tanya Hoshi seem to balance fairly well throughout their film.

The film doesn’t cut too deep into DePerry’s personal life, but it compensates by being a very entertaining, banging party.

– Addison Wylie 

Catch Turning Tables as part of the Below the Surface shorts program at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:

Monday, April 30 at 9:00 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre

Wednesday, May 2 at 3:00 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre

Saturday, May 5 at 6:00 p.m. @ Innis Town Hall


Click here for more festival details and to buy tickets.

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Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam

Addison Wylie@AddisonWylie

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