The works of people like Norman McLaren (Pas de Deux, Ballet Adagio, Narcissus) and Wim Wenders (Pina) have shown that ballet can be useful subject matter for beautiful cinema. Unfortunately, for some strange reason, this pleasurable quality somehow cannot find its way into documentaries. The most recent example of this failure to showcase ballet in the genre is A Ballerina’s Tale, Nelson George’s portrait of noted ballerina Misty Copeland – the first African-American woman to be…
I remember watching Hany Abu-Assad’s terrorism drama Paradise Now, and feeling genuinely moved by it. I was on edge and even heartbroken at times. Even though I can’t recall the 2005 Oscar contender beat-for-beat, I can still recognize those emotions years later as if I saw the movie last week.
Though Svengali is a fun film with a few genuinely emotionally affective moments, it is difficult to predict whether or not it will be appreciated by North American viewers who – unless they have a pre-existing investment in British Rock ’n’ Roll – will probably feel like they’ve seen this kind of film before.
Stig Björkman has the right ingredients to chronicle a psychological side of acclaimed actress Ingrid Bergman in his award-winning documentary, Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words. But then, almost as if another director hijacked the project, the film chooses a generically trodden formula.
Allow me to preface this by disclosing my biases: I have a strong love for Canadian cinema and coming-of-age stories, and I truly believe that Canada perfected the coming-of-age story. That being said, Philippe Lesage’s Les Démons is a fitting addition to this obscure canon.
Miguel Gomes’ Arabian Nights trilogy is an interesting project if only because its tone is inconsistent without harming the films. In fact, that inconsistency is what makes this project often work.
What we have here is a patchy documentary that works to great effect in spurts.