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Shahbaz Khayambashi

Festival Coverage

Wylie Writes @ TIFF ’17 – Canadian Slate

Despite all the less-than-stellar changes made to TIFF this year, the festival continues to excel in giving a voice to Canadian filmmakers and video artists.  Representatives of TIFF, once again, gathered in the Fairmont Royal York hotel to announce Canadian films which will play at the festival this year and then – presumably – disappear into Canadian cinemas, where a few of them will compete with the latest Oscar bait and Hollywood slop.

Reviews

The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith

The documentary form of filmmaking has been around since the very beginning of the moving image.  In well over a century, it has been transformed in a variety of ways, leading to some of the most innovative cinema.  This is exactly why it is always so frustrating when someone takes an interesting individual or event and makes a documentary that takes nothing from this history, instead opting to utilize the same old cookie-cutter style of…

Reviews

Dawson City: Frozen Time

Film, as a physical material medium, is an unusual object: film reels can often survive in strange settings, remaining undiscovered for decades, and yet these same reels can suddenly go up in a blaze, often taking their surroundings with them.  This is an underplayed theme in Dawson City: Frozen Time, the newest work of filmmaker Bill Morrison.  Film is at once destructive and salvageable, destroyed and saved.

Reviews

It Comes at Night

There is a tradition in American horror cinema of making a short film with a lot of effects and minimal plot to be eventually used as a calling card.  It seems like this practice has found its way into the feature length semi-mainstream.  At least, that’s the only explanation for the existence of Trey Edward Shults’ It Comes at Night, a film which shows the director’s abilities as a horror filmmaker – including his great gift for…

Reviews

Urban Hymn

A racially-diverse group of children cause havoc until a teacher comes along and sets them straight.  No, this isn’t about Stand and Deliver or Dangerous Minds.  This is about Urban Hymn, yet another film which takes the familiar plotline and runs nowhere with it.

Festival Coverage

Hot Docs 2017: ’78/52′ and ‘Motel’

78/52 (DIR. Alexandre Philippe) It’s a testament to Alfred Hitchcock’s talent as a filmmaker that he directed the shower scene from Psycho and he is still known for things other than that;  any other director would have simply become known by that singular sequence.  Even though, that particular scene may well be the single most studied, analyzed and deconstructed scene in the history of cinema and, as a part of this tradition, there is Alexandre…

Reviews

Raw

There is a horror renaissance going on right now that everyone should be excited about.  The genre has struggled to keep up with the horrors of the real world and has returned to top form;  with many of the best films of the last few years coming from the auteurs of screams.  One of these films, a film which made this critic’s top ten list last year, is Julia Ducournau’s Raw, which is finally getting…