far, A & O film critic Sylvain Richard has seen the
following documentaries. Here are his ratings and comments,
always out of 4, reserving 2.5 or more for a noteworthy
film, 3.5 for an exceptional film, 4 for a classic.
Sylvain Richard's best ever films = (The
Legacy, The Diving Bell & the Butterfly, 13 Tzameti,
Sauf le Respect que je vous Dois, Live & Become, 36
Quai des Orfevres, Corsica, From Heaven, Hell in Tangier,
Camaron, Who Are You, King of the World).
-- THE SOUND OF INSECTS --
RECORDS OF A MUMMY,
A hunter stumbles upon the mummified remains of a man in
his 40s clutching a journal. What follows is a reading from
the journal that chronicles the man as he fasts himself
to death. A reinterpretation of a novella of the same name
and based on a true event. A riveting sensory experience,
a barrage of experimental soundtrack, image and texture
as we hear the man slipping from the land of the living
towards the River Styx that will take him to the other side
-- a journey that is at once eerie and disturbing heightened
by associative and abstract imagery with allusions to Dante,
the Ferryman, Jesus Christ and Buddha.
Thirteen banana workers from Nicaragua sue the company Dole
for knowingly exposing them to a banned pesticide. With
the focus primarily on the actions of the plaintiffs' lawyers,
the expose (inadvertently) morphed into a showcase for the
legal team instead of concern for the workers.
Well researched and skillful blending of fictional drama
and documentary regarding explorer John Franklin and his
disappearance in the Arctic with the 128 men under him and
the scandalous findings -- submitted by Scotlander John
Rae -- of cannibalism. Director gave a Master Class in the
afternoon prior to this screening.
-- BAS! AU-DELA DU RED
A look at a group of young girls who were rescued from the
brothels in Bombay: their coping mechanisms and attempts
to recover from painful memories.
-- LA CHINE EST ENCORE
Director revisits Ghassira, a village high in the
mountains of Aures where an incident in 1954 sparked the war for
Algerian independence, to see what has been learned. Film's lack of
focus resulted in loss of engagement.
-- CAST LEAD (PLOMBS
A glimpse into the devastation resulting from the Israeli
government's military bombardment in the Gaza strip (called
'Operation Cast Lead') in December 2008 to January 2009.
Carol Mangour' 2007 short film "A Summer Not To Forget"
had far greater impact.
A five year look at three emerging musicians -- Turbulence,
Ice Anastasia and Kemoy -- from Jamaica's underground music
scene. A celebration of the island, its rich musical heritage
and the magic of talent mixed with luck.
-- AMERICAN RADICAL: THE
TRIALS OF NORMAN FINKELSTEIN,
Ridgen, Nicholas Rossier
A look at the controversial author -- son of holocaust survivors
and outspoken critic of Israel's policies concerning the
Palestinians. Provocative and engaging.
An intimate portrayal of three generations -- grandmother,
her son and his daughter -- Sephardi Jews who immigrated
to Montreal from Morocco via Tel Aviv. Granddaughter is
actress Sharon Ibgui, who, raised in Montreal, is approaching
30 and faceing identity issues: is she Moroccan, Jewish
or Quebecois. Nice mix of serious and humour.
Feature length film portraying a special relationship between
a peasant farmer and his ox with whom has shared his life
for 40 years and the effects on his wife who is continuously
and bitterly complaining, while his children and neighbours
are urging him to sell and stop working.
-- STALAGS: HOLOCAUST AND
Feature length film attempting to shed light on a genre of
pulp literature that was popular in Israel in the 60s: about
female SS officers who sado-masochistically abused their
prisoners. Too wordy and not enough imagery; though informative
it came across as more of a lecture.
-- A PLACE CALLED LOS
Feature length, emotionally affecting look at the village
called Los Pereyra and how each year a group of well to
do girls -- godmothers -- travel the 1,450 km north of Buenos
Aires to see and help? the children.
Feature length look at Alberta's tar sands
development projects (the world's largest) and the effects on economy,
environment and health.
-- THE IDIOT
Feature length essay on the vicious cycle of how major chemical
companies manufacture carcinogens; they also hold the patents
on anti-cancer meds and finally, GMOs.
2.5 -- SHAKESPEARE AND VICTOR HUGO'S INTIMACIES,
First feature documentary recollecting her grandmother's
relationship with a troubled young tenant - Jorge Riosse
- who died suddenly in 1993. Personal intimacy laid refreshingly
bare. Familiarity with the background helps in understanding
and appreciating the film.