Signs posted around a low-income housing block in Toronto announcing “new developments” promises desirable changes, but it’s the community who are woefully anticipating the shift. This upcoming demolition, in pending stages of growth, means permanent relocation for these residents. Kids and teenagers are encouraged to direct their focus on other, less stressful interests, such as poetry and music.
Charles Officer’s documentary Unarmed Verses captures an early sincere attraction to the arts as these youngsters find ways to express their emotions through a new creative outlet. It’s a film that could also be summarized as a real-life coming-of-age story about becoming an individual and finding your voice.
Beyond those inspirations though, Unarmed Verses is a standard doc. The style stays within the conventions of the genre – making the understated film appear unambitious – and it spins circles as intimate moments become increasingly repetitive over the runtime. However, after its Best Canadian Feature win at this year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival along with other acclaim on the festival circuit, Unarmed Verses has proven to be an audience favourite. It wouldn’t hurt to check out the documentary for yourself!
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie