Hot Docs 2017: ‘Close Ties’ and ‘The Road Forward’

Close Ties (DIR. Zofia Kowalewska)

The audience, from afar, watches a stubborn married couple in Zofia Kowalewska’s short-form doc Close Ties. They bicker about money and time spent in the bathroom just as often as they look at each other and give “that look” that they’ll always be there for each other.

“That look” hasn’t come easy though for Barbara, a loyal wife who is still bitter about Zdzislaw’s wrongheaded decision to chance their love. However, when Zdzislaw gets the idea to suddenly break their modesty and openly celebrate their 45th anniversary, one starts to wonder if he has a plan to show Barbara how committed he is to her.

Close Ties is a sweet, recommended piece of work, although its subtleties may have a hard time stacking up to the sheer golden quirkiness of Barbara and Zdzislaw.

– Addison Wylie

Catch Close Ties (screening along with Hotel Sunrise) at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:

Saturday, April 29 at 3:45 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre

Sunday, April 30 at 9:00 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox


The Road Forward (DIR. Marie Clements)

The Road Forward is a documentary about music in the Canadian indigenous community, and how we are still facing the same cultural problems today we were witnessing over 70 years ago.

With a mixture of storytelling and music video-style, well-known indigenous artists (such as Michelle St John) tell their stories and those of past generations. This also means movie goers receive insight of the musical background of Canadian communities, and the reasons these artists decided to pursue music and the arts.

While The Road Forward’s main focus is to pass along the message of being proud of your heritage, I found the documentary quite confusing. Director Marie Clements bounces back and forth from different storylines that are not at all related to each other or the overall story. Anyone who did not read up on a detailed summary of the film beforehand would most likely not understand everything going on, or even what the subjects are acknowledging.

Despite the story being difficult to follow, the featured music – performed by musicians of indigenous background – is absolutely beautiful. The musical talent is enough for this doc to earn a mild recommendation.

– Nick Ferwerda 

Catch The Road Forward at Toronto’s Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival on:

Sunday, April 30 at 9:30 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox

Monday, May 1 at 12:45 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre

Saturday, May 6 at 8:45 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre


Click here for more festival details and to buy tickets.

Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:

Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

Nick Ferwerda: @NickFerwerda

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