Hot Docs 2018: ‘The Artist & the Pervert’ and ‘United We Fan’

The Artist & The Pervert (DIR. Beatrice Behn, René Gebhardt)

Beatrice Behn and René Gebhardt’s The Artist & The Pervert tells the story of composer Georg Friedrich Haas and author/activist Mollena Williams’ dominant/submissive relationship, as well as the public’s response to it.

The film takes a lot of care to not be an average, run-of-the-mill doc with its various performance sequences, multi-media presentation, and the occasional bit of transgression.  But, unfortunately, there is not much of a story here.  A couple partaking in sexual activities that others disapprove of is just not much interest in 2018.  There are certainly some questions of feminism and black power that should be asked – and are asked – in this doc but, at its core, The Artist & The Pervert is as hollow as a documentary can get.

If you are interested in documentaries about performance or BDSM, you might find something in this.  Otherwise, perhaps watch something else.

– Shahbaz Khayambashi

Catch The Artist & the Pervert at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:

Friday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m. @ Hart House Theatre


United We Fan (DIR. Michael Sparaga)

Filmmaker Michael Sparaga takes a break from foodie flicks and divulges in fandom with his latest documentary United We Fan.

United We Fan is an entertaining escape through nostalgia as Sparaga collects interviews with fan activists who fought hard to show support when their favourite television shows were suffering from poor mainstream reception.  These interviews, while occasionally quirky, are fun and awe-inspiring;  especially when producers and stars of the cult hits are brought in to comment on the campaigns.

These stories are sliced up to flesh out the film’s runtime, but they’re also competing with a meatier story – the conception of Viewers for Quality Television.  An innocent yet passionate letter-writing campaign to save Cagney & Lacey snowballed into not only a success for the show, but for an organization to be built around programs that needed a boost of relevance from a core fanbase.

Other than providing contrast between the past and present, the span between different campaigns is too large for this doc to cover.  Sparaga is an efficient filmmaker and he’s put in lots of effort towards these personal stories, but it’s clear that he’s made two movies with United We Fan – a lighthearted, inspirational film for the social media generation, and a serious doc about showbiz.

– Addison Wylie

Catch United We Fan at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:

Thursday, May 3 at 12:15 p.m. @ Hart House Theatre


Click here for more festival details and to buy tickets.

Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam

Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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