The craft of brilliant costume designers and make-up artists can transform the most recognizable actors into strangers. Such is the case for Manifesto, a one-woman-show featuring two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett portraying 13 different roles. Of course, the production is also lucky to have one of the greatest living actors at the forefront. However, what Manifesto also displays is that sometimes the best artists overshoot their target.
The ReelAbilities Film Festival returns to Toronto on Wednesday, May 10 after a successful debut. The festival, centring around noble stories of disability cultures, will screen feature films and shorts around the city until Thursday, May 18.
Do Donkeys Act? (DIR. David Redmon, Ashley Sabin) Do Donkeys Act? takes an animal that is not usually afforded much dignity – the donkey – and gives movie goers an opportunity to let the animals speak for themselves (without speaking). The film takes its audience to visit various donkey sanctuaries around the world, where donkeys that have been subjected to abuse or neglect are cared for, healed, and allowed to relax and retire.
The late Andrzej Wajda tells a story of artistic integrity in Afterimage, a biopic about Polish avant-garde painter Wladyslaw Strzeminski.
The animation featured in Keiichi Hara’s anime Miss Hokusai is terrific. A single cell has the ability to represent the humility and emotion of its characters, along with the imagination the film can achieve. What’s peculiar and disappointing is how these images don’t make a cohesive film when edited together.
Victor Kanefsky’s Art Bastard asks broad questions about the relationship between art and politics. Its subject, American artist Robert Cenedella, serves a micro-answer to some of these broad questions. Although Kanefsky is successful in arguing for Cenedella’s work as critical satirical representations of U.S. political culture, the film lacks energy.
No Man Is an Island (DIR. Tim De Keersmaecker) By: Addison Wylie I imagine Tim De Keersmaecker’s outline for No Man Is an Island looked good on paper: make a first-hand view at how African refugees perceive life while living in the unknown territory of Lampedusa. Unfortunately, the documentary is another victim of poor fly-on-the-wall filmmaking.
A Dog’s Life (DIR. Hélène Choquette) By: Shahbaz Khayambashi Research has shown time and time again that pets are beneficial to homeless individuals, as they provide love, support and companionship to a marginalized, frequently ignored population. A Dog’s Life is a study of the benefits and hardships that come along with being homeless with a dog, discovered through interviews with several people in this particular situation. What follows are anecdotes about a variety of topics…
I have liked pop art for as long as I can remember, but I really fell in love with the movement after seeing a large retrospective of pop art from around the world at the Tate Modern last year. There are so many ways to use this movement for revolutionary purposes, through the reappropriation of established cultural artifacts and ideologies. But, as certain artists have proven, it is also exceedingly simple to not use it…
Aleksandr Sokurov’s Francofonia is a spiritual successor to his innovative 2002 film Russian Ark, more so thematically than aesthetically. Russian Ark was a narrativized tour of The Hermitage that doubly served as a re-enactment of parts of Russian history. The most important fact about Russian Ark, however, is that it was shot entirely in one take – a formal element missing from Sokurov’s new film.