HOT DOCS RE­VIEWS YOU CAN USE

FROM THE # METOO MOVE­MENT TO THE ABUSES IN THE WHITE HOUSE, REAL LIFE IS MORE FAS­CI­NAT­ING THAN FICTION TH­ESE DAYS. THAT’S RE­FLECTED IN THIS YEAR’S STRONG SLATE OF UR­GENT, TIMELY FILMS.

NOW Magazine - Hot Docs - - Cover Story - By NOR­MAN WIL­NER, SU­SAN G. COLE, KEVIN RITCHIE, GLENN SUMI and RADHEYAN SIMONPILLAI

Thurs­day, April 26 PUMP­KIN MOVIE

(So­phy Rom­vari, Canada). 10 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

I USED TO BE NOR­MAL: A BOY­BAND FAN­GIRL STORY

(Jes­sica Leski, Aus­tralia). 96 min­utes. Rat­ing: NN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

THE HEAT: A KITCHEN (R)EVO­LU­TION

(Maya Gal­lus, Canada). 75 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See cover story and re­view, page 2.

Fri­day, April 27 ñBISBEE ’ 17

(Robert Greene, U. S.). 118 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNNN

Robert Greene’s films linger in the cracks be­tween fiction and non-fiction. His pre­vi­ous doc­u­men­taries em­pha­size ac­tors per­form­ing in staged sce­nar­ios to draw out emo­tional truths, and his lat­est is even more am­bi­tious: an ab­sorb­ing meta- doc with the sweep of a clas­sic Amer­i­can western.

In 1917, a cop­per mine in the Ari­zona-Mex­ico bor­der town Bis­bee con­spired with dep­u­tized cit­i­zens to il­le­gally round up roughly 1,300 strik­ing work­ers – mostly im­mi­grants – and de­port them 1,600 miles away. The so­cial cleanse has been erased from his­tory books, so on its cen­ten­nial Greene and lo­cal res­i­dents de­cide to reen­act it. The col­lab­o­ra­tion brings to­gether an eclec­tic cast of cit­i­zens, each dis­tinct and with strong senses of their iden­ti­ties who come to see echoes of their own lives in the story they are to in­habit.

Work­ing with painterly DP Jarred Al­ter­man, the di­rec­tor makes the most of Bis­bee’s beau­ti­ful ter­rain, us­ing strik­ing fram­ing and slow pans to con­vey a haunt­ing sense of empti­ness. There are no archival im­ages, so the trauma and tragedy are con­veyed en­tirely through the lens of the re- en­ac­tors, peo­ple who con­tinue to be af­fected by is­sues of race, labour and im­mi­gra­tion. It’s all about lit­tle ges­tures and glances, and when past and present col­lide in the cli­mac­tic scenes, it’s thrilling to watch. KR Apr 27, 2: 45 pm, Hart House; Apr 30, 11: 30 am, Sco­tia­bank 7; May 4, 5 pm, Sco­tia­bank 3

VIC­TORY DAY

(Sergei Loznitsa, Ger­many). 94 min­utes. Rat­ing: NN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

UBIQ­UITY

(Bregtje van der Haak, Nether­lands, Bel­gium). 82 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

THE GAME CHANG­ERS

(Louis Psi­hoyos, Canada/U. S.). 88 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

MAJ DORIS

(Jon Blåhed, Swe­den/Nor­way). 73 min­utes. Rat­ing: NN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

DREAM­ING MU­RAKAMI

(Nitesh An­jaan, Den­mark). 58 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

QUEERCORE: HOW TO PUNK A REVO­LU­TION

(Yony Leyser, Ger­many). 80 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN This ef­fi­cient overview of queercore – a punk re­sponse to pa­tri­archy and gay con­formism in the 80s – charts how a small group of op­po­si­tional LGBT artists in Toronto even­tu­ally in­flu­enced as­pects of the U. S. rock ’n’ roll main­stream.

If you’ve seen Scott Tre­leaven’s Queercore ( A Punk- umen­tary) or Kevin Hegge’s She Said Boom: The Story Of Fifth Col­umn, not a lot will be new here. Bruce LaBruce, G. B.

Jones, Kath­leen Hanna and oth­ers sup­ply wit and con­text, but a to­ken John Wa­ters ap­pear­ance adds ab­so­lutely noth­ing.

It’s in­ter­est­ing to think about the en­durance of queercore’s pol­i­tics, but di­rec­tor Yony Leyser is less in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing how th­ese artists evolved than where they came from. As such, the most fas­ci­nat­ing fig­ure is Lynn Breed

love, singer for raunchy San Fran dyke band Tribe 8. The band’s per­for­mance footage is bonkers and she adds emo­tion, com­plex­ity and hon­esty that’s miss­ing from other in­ter­views. KR Apr 27, 9:15 pm, Hart House; Apr 28, 3: 45 pm, Sco­tia­bank 3; May 4, 9:15 pm, Hart House

ALT-RIGHT: AGE OF RAGE

(Adam Adam Bhala Bhala Lough’s Lough, U. Alt- S.) Right: 104 min­utes. Age Of Rat­ing: Rage NNN

feels like two movies in one. For the first hour or so, the doc­u­men­tary is a stan­dard (al­beit over- stuffed) back-and-forth be­tween white su­prem­a­cist and An­tifa mem­ber

Daryle La­mont Jenk­ins, Richard with Spencer sup­ple­men­tary Jared Tay­lor com­men­tary from Amer­i­can Re­nais­sance’s and the South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter’s Mark Po­tok.

Like a pot reach­ing a boil, th­ese in­ter­views lead up with dis­turb­ing mo­men­tum to the chaos of the Unite the Right rally in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, last Au­gust, which causes the film — as in­deed Amer­ica — to lose its com­po­sure. While the doc­u­men­tary can’t fig­ure out an el­e­gant con­clu­sion to this in­ten­sity, the im­ages from the rally — in­clud­ing the tragic death of counter- pro­tester Heather Heyer — are nev­er­the­less a vi­tal snapshot of vi­o­lent racism’s cycli­cal grip. Apr 27, 9: 30 pm, Hot Docs Cin­ema; Apr 28, 1:15 JaKe pm, How­ell Is­abel Bader; May 4, 3: 45 pm, Hot Docs Cin­ema

Satur­day, April 28 UNITED WE FAN

(Michael Sparaga, Canada). 97 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN

With­out play­ing into easy stereo­types or fringe char­ac­ter­i­za­tions, United We Fan ex­plores the way beloved tele­vi­sion se­ries can bring peo­ple to­gether – and even pro­voke them to ac­tion.

Michael Sparaga ( The Miss­ing In­gre­di­ent) draws a clear line from the pas­sion­ate view­er­ships that cre­ated let­ter-writ­ing cam­paigns to keep Star Trek, St. Else­where and Cag­ney & Lacey from can­cel­la­tion to the mod­ern age of on­line pe­ti­tions and save- our-show stunts for the likes of Chuck, Long­mire and Jeri­cho.

Talk­ing to cre­ators as well as fans, Sparaga as­sem­bles a cheery col­lage of anec­dotes about how pop­u­lar cul­ture brings peo­ple to­gether and in­spires them to fight for the things they love.

But he also ex­plores the way viewer iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cre­ates pas­sion­ate sup­port for a given show – and how an au­di­ence’s sense of own­er­ship might start to con­flict with the sto­ries that show’s cre­ators want to tell. NW April 28, 5:30 pm, Sco­tia­bank 4; April 30, 3 pm, May 3, 12:15 pm, Hart House

DOLOURS

(Mau­rice Sweeney, Ire­land). 82 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN In 2010, jour­nal­ist Ed Moloney sat down with for­mer IRA mem­ber Dolours Price for a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view – under the con­di­tion that it be locked away un­til af­ter Price’s death.

Price died in 2013, and now Mau­rice Sweeney’s hy­brid doc­u­men­tary il­lus­trates that con­ver­sa­tion with elab­o­rate re- en­act­ments to cre­ate a decadess­pan­ning study of what it meant – and what it cost – to be a Repub­li­can in North­ern Ire­land.

The bulk of the film is com­posed of those reen­act­ments, in which Price and her sis­ter and com­rade Mar­ian are played by Lorna Larkin and Gail

Brady, re­spec­tively. I’m usu­ally put off by re- cre­ations in doc­u­men­taries, but the stylis­tic choices Sweeney makes al­low us to un­der­stand that we’re see­ing an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Price’s mem­o­ries rather than a strict fac­tual ac­count­ing.

It’s an im­por­tant dis­tinc­tion, and one that works very well. I, Dolours brings Price’s story – which in­cluded seven years in an English prison for the 1973 bomb­ing of the Old Bai­ley – to vivid, bru­tal life. NW April 28, 6 pm, TIFF 3; April 29, 1 pm, Is­abel Bader; May 6, 8:15 pm, TIFF 4

I’M LEAV­ING NOW

(Lindsey Cordero, Ar­mando Croda, US, Mex­ico). 74 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGH­BOR?

(Mor­gan Neville, U. S.). 93 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN This must have been an in­spir­ing change of pace for Mor­gan Neville, whose last pic was about the toxic feud be­tween bit­ter po­lit­i­cal ri­vals Wil­liam F. Buck­ley and Gore Vidal.

Here, he takes on beloved chil­dren’s TV com­poser, writer and host Fred Rogers, trac­ing his ca­reer from Pres­by­te­rian min­is­ter to TV icon. Via Mr. Rogers’ Neigh­bor­hood, his show for pre-school chil­dren, he fear­lessly dealt with pro­found is­sues – as­sas­si­na­tion, war, racism among them – all along demon­strat­ing, never preach­ing, love.

Rogers wasn’t a saint – see his ini­tial re­sponse to a co-worker’s gay­ness – but Neville’s por­trait is nev­er­the­less of a gifted and ex­cep­tional hu­man be­ing. The doc is con­ven­tional, fea­tur­ing in­ter­views with Rogers’s fam­ily and col­lab­o­ra­tors, clips from the show and ad­di­tional an­i­ma­tion – which is be­com­ing de rigueur th­ese days – and Neville mis­tak­enly lumps Pee Wee Her­man into the mak­ers of trash and bash chil­dren’s fare that Rogers tried to counter.

It’s Rogers him­self who makes this movie re­mark­able. SGC Apr 28, 6: 30 pm (Big Ideas screen­ing), Apr 29, 1 pm, May 6, 12: 45 pm, all at Hot Docs Cin­ema

CHEF FLYNN

(Cameron Yates, U. S.). 83 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN As a kid in the San Fer­nando Val­ley, Flynn McGarry daz­zled his par­ents with com­plex menus; by the time he was 11, he’d turned their liv­ing room into a makeshift fine- din­ing restau­rant called Eureka, of­fer­ing a $160 tast­ing menu to se­lect din­ers.

Chef Flynn is a cel­e­bra­tion of its sub­ject rather than an in­quiry into his spe­cific skills; di­rec­tor Yates ( The Canal Street Madam) seems con­tent to fol­low the prodigy from one event to the next as he tours the world and plans his big New York open­ing, fil­ter­ing out any ma­jor con­flicts that might dis­tract us from scenes of Flynn ob­sess­ing over beet recipes or cre­at­ing the per­fect gar­nish.

The re­sult is a doc that prob­a­bly made the McGarry fam­ily very happy, while prov­ing frus­trat­ing to any­one who un­der­stands how doc­u­men­taries are made and how res­tau­rants work. NW April 28, 6: 45 pm, Is­abel Bader; April 29, 10: 45 am, TIFF 1; May 5, 1:15 pm, Is­abel Bader

YOURS IN SISTERHOOD

(Irene Lusztig, U. S.). 100 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

CALL HER GANDA

(PJ Raval, U. S.). 93 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN

PJ Raval’s doc about a trans woman in the Philip­pines who was mur­dered by a U. S. Ma­rine in 2014 is an un­flinch­ing and eye- open­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the emo­tional, phys­i­cal and po­lit­i­cal toll con­tin­ued Amer­i­can mil­i­tary pres­ence is hav­ing in that coun­try.

It’s clear that Jen­nifer Laude’s killer is a Ma­rine, but the coun­try’s Vis­it­ing Forces Agree­ment es­sen­tially grants im­mu­nity to Amer­i­can of­fi­cers, and the en­su­ing trial be­comes a flash point that blows up po­lit­i­cally. By fo­cus­ing on Laude’s mother, Julita, lawyer Vir­gie Suarez and Buz­zfeed reporter Mere

dith Talu­san, Raval makes clear and com­pelling con­nec­tions be­tween per­sonal sto­ries and sys­temic vi­o­lence.

In one of the most in­ter­est­ing scenes, a trans ac­tivist and friend of Laude’s ex­plains how trans cul­ture in the Philip­pines pre­dates Amer­i­can col- onial­ism, and an­other of Laude’s mother speak­ing to a scrum of reporters while clearly in the throes of grief is dev­as­tat­ing, re­call­ing the African-Amer­i­can mothers forced into the spot­light hours af­ter po­lice killings of their sons or daugh­ters. This is a film that doesn’t shy away from chal­leng­ing any­one’s at­ti­tudes about trans peo­ple and the on­go­ing ef­fects of colo­nial­ism. KR Apr 28, 9:15 pm, Is­abel Bader; Apr 29, 3: 45 pm, TIFF 1; May 6, 5: 45 pm, Sco­tia­bank 3

ñMCQUEEN

(Ian Bon­hôte, UK). 111 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN The life and ca­reer of mav­er­ick de­signer Lee Alex

an­der McQueen are re­counted in ap­pro­pri­ately lav­ish style in this bi­o­graph­i­cal doc, which traces his rise through the fash­ion in­dus­try through his un­timely death in 2010, aged 40.

Ian Bon­hôte and writer/co- di­rec­tor Peter Et­tedgui fol­low the stan­dard celebrity tem­plate, mov­ing chrono­log­i­cally through the key events of their sub­ject’s life and of­fer­ing con­text through in­ter­views with fam­ily and friends. But they also have plenty of archival footage of McQueen him­self, and of course his run­way shows were all filmed in high style, which al­lows the doc to catch mo­ments that seemed in­signif­i­cant at the time, but clearly weren’t.

Bon­hôte and Et­tedgui also spend enough time on the clothes McQueen cre­ated that we can un­der­stand how his state of mind in­flu­enced each col­lec­tion. It’s the sort of ob­ser­va­tion that feels re­duc­tive when you put it into words, but watch­ing his de­signs shift from vivid punk ex­pres­sions to dark med­i­ta­tions on phys­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion makes a hell of an im­pact. NW April 28, 9:15 pm, TIFF 1; April 29, 2: 30 pm, Hart House; May 6, 9 pm, TIFF 2

Sun­day, April 29 93QUEEN

(Paula Eiselt, U. S.). 85 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN What at first looks like a straight­for­ward story about plucky Ha­sidic women bat­tling to cre­ate an all-fe­male emer­gency force in Brook­lyn turns into some­thing much more com­plex.

There’s the pre­dictable op­po­si­tion from their com­mu­nity – which has its own skilled and strangely ma­cho all-male emer­gency team. But then there’s the women’s for­mi­da­ble leader Rachel

Freier, a com­mit­ted seeker of jus­tice, but with her own am­bi­tions, who con­fronts re­sis­tance from within the group of ac­tivists. And there’s more hu­mour here than you would ex­pect.

Check out a scene at the hair sa­lon, where women dis­cuss why they have to cover their heads. SGC Apr 29, 3 pm, Sco­tia­bank 3; May 1, 8: 45 pm TIFF 2; May 6, 8: 45 pm, Hart House

THE AC­COUN­TANT OF AUSCHWITZ

(Matthew Shoy­chet, Canada). 80 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNNN This ex­plo­ration of Oskar Grön­ing’s 2015 trial is short but mighty.

Grön­ing, the man who reg­is­tered the pos­ses­sions left by pris­on­ers on the train as they were pro­cessed in Auschwitz, was an un­usual de­fen­dant. He openly con­firmed the crimes com­mit­ted at his­tory’s most ef­fi­cient killing ma­chine, ac­tively chal­leng­ing Holo­caust de­niers (who nev­er­the­less protested the trial out­side the court­house). His lawyers ar­gued that, be­cause he never killed any­one, he was not re­spon­si­ble for war crimes.

Via in­ter­views with the lead pros­e­cu­tor at Nurem­berg, com­men­ta­tors such as Alan Der­showitz and sur­vivors, Matthew Shoy­chet packs into the doc a record of Grön­ing’s trial as well as a solid sur­vey of war- crimes tri­als and how their em­phases have shifted over time. Even is­sues dealt with briefly emerge as huge here, of­ten both emo­tion­ally pow­er­ful and in­tel­lec­tu­ally chal­leng­ing. For in­stance, a short se­quence in which one of the sur­vivors for­gives Grön­ing – caus­ing a ma­jor up­roar – is guar­an­teed to make you think. SGC Apr 29, 5: 45 pm, TIFF 2; Apr 30, 3: 45 pm, TIFF 1; May 4, 9 pm, Sco­tia­bank 13

MY WAR

( Julien Fréchette, Canada). 98 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN This grace­fully shot and prob­ing film pro­files four western vol­un­teers who sign up to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria with the Kur­dish army, in­clud­ing a melan­cholic ex-model from Van­cou­ver and a wild- eyed, well-armed Que­bec man.

Di­rec­tor Julien Fréchette fol­lows his sub­jects in clas­sic ob­ser­va­tional style: we see them rac­ing around in com­bat sce­nar­ios (in self-shot footage), but mostly they wait for some­thing to hap­pen and pre­dictably grow antsy when war doesn’t live up to pre­con­ceived ex­pec­ta­tions. For bet­ter or worse, the Kur­dish fight­ers are pre­oc­cu­pied so we don’t get much per­spec­tive from them. Ul­ti­mately, My War ben­e­fits from its sub­jects’ de­sire to per­form for the cam­era, blur­ring the line be­tween en­abling and ob­serv­ing. Fréchette per­sis­tently asks “Why?” but his strict fly- on-the-wall ap­proach al­lows him to evade his own ques­tion.

Still, the doc sub­ver­sively sug­gests the western need for war is, at least par­tially, ex­is­ten­tial. KR Apr 29, 6 pm, TIFF 3; May 1, 12: 30 pm, TIFF 2; May 3, 3: 30 pm, Sco­tia­bank 3

THE DEVIL WE KNOW

(Stephanie Soechtig, Jeremy Seifert, U. S.). 88 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN This doc about how a greedy cor­po­ra­tion know­ingly poi­soned the Ohio River – and 99 per­cent of all Amer­i­cans (!) – may not break any for­mal bound­aries, but the shock fac­tor makes it a must-see.

West Vir­ginia–based DuPont pro­duced the chem­i­cal C8 for myr­iad prod­ucts – in­clud­ing Te­flon and

Scotch­gard. De­spite health prob­lems for fac­tory work­ers and, later, peo­ple liv­ing down­stream from the fac­tory – even DuPont’s sci­en­tists and lawyers urged the com­pany to in­form the pub­lic – DuPont kept pump­ing out the poi­son. I’d tell you to dump your Te­flon, but af­ter a suc­cess­ful class-ac­tion suit against the corp, DuPont in­vented an­other untested toxin. And there are 88,000 other untested chem­i­cals out there. SGC Apr 29, 6: 15 pm, Hart House; May 1, 12: 30 pm, Sco­tia­bank 3; May 4, 12:15 pm, Hart House

COM­MAN­DER ARIAN: A STORY OF WOMEN, WAR AND FREE­DOM

( Alba So­torra, Ger­man/Spain/Syria). 77 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN

Alba So­torra’s look at the Kur­dish re­sis­tance in Syria fol­lows Arian Afrin, a com­man­der in the Women’s Pro­tec­tion Unit ( YPJ) in her fight against ISIS – which leads to her tak­ing five bul­lets in an am­bush in 2015.

That’s just the start­ing point of Com­man­der Arian, which weaves footage of Arian’s painful re­cov­ery through a two-year span of time, cli­max­ing in the spring of 2017 as her YPJ unit joins an op­er­a­tion to lib­er­ate the city of Kobane from an ISIS siege.

We see her as a re­source­ful soldier and an even bet­ter leader of women, mak­ing sure every­one under her com­mand knows they’re all fight­ing for so much more than lit­eral lib­er­a­tion. And this isn’t just a war story: So­torra catches some won­der­ful hu­man mo­ments be­tween Arian and her com­rades in arms, which helps to break up the tense bat­tle footage. NW April 29, 6: 30 pm, Sco­tia­bank 4; April 30, 10: 30 am, TIFF 2; May 6, 6:15 pm, Aga Khan Mu­seum

NE­TI­ZENS

(Cyn­thia Lowen, U. S.). 97 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN

Cyn­thia Lowen’s in­sight­ful and qui­etly fu­ri­ous doc spends time with mul­ti­ple women who have all been vic­tim­ized on­line, whether by vi­o­lent threats, re­venge porn or an all- con­sum­ing hack into their pri­vate lives.

Ne­ti­zens tracks the ex­tent of the dam­age that the cur­rent le­gal sys­tem eas­ily brushes aside and the women’s ef­forts to fight back. Their re­silience is the story but the film­mak­ing of­ten says more, such as when the cam­era lingers on ter­tiary de­tails that com­ple­ment or com­pli­cate ar­gu­ments, or when Lowen with­holds a sur­pris­ing de­tail not for its nar­ra­tive im­pact but to prop­erly con­tex­tu­al­ize its rel­e­vance (or lack thereof). RS Apr 29, 6:30 pm, Hot Docs Cin­ema (Big Ideas screen­ing); Apr 30, 10 am, Is­abel Bader; May 5, 10 am, Hot Docs Cin­ema

AFGHAN CY­CLES

(Sarah Men­zies, U. S.). 90 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

Mon­day, April 30

YEL­LOW IS FOR­BID­DEN (Pi­etra Bret­tkelly, New Zealand). 94 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

THE CLEAN­ERS

(Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck, Ger­many, Brazil). 88 min­utes. Rat­ing: NN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

AC­TIVE MEA­SURES

(Jack Bryan, U. S.). 112 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN As­sem­bling a wealth of in­for­ma­tion and pre­sent­ing it with re­lent­less, al­most shark-like mo­men­tum, Ac­tive Mea­sures sets out to prove two very sim­ple points be­yond any rea­son­able doubt: first, that Don­ald Trump’s as­cen­dance to the pres­i­dency was the re­sult of de­lib­er­ate Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the Amer­i­can elec­toral process – tac­tics Vladimir Putin had pre­vi­ously de­ployed in Ukraine, Ge­or­gia and Es­to­nia – and sec­ond, that Trump is neck- deep in ques­tion­able fi­nan­cial re­la­tion­ships with the Rus­sian oli­garchy and has been for decades.

Jack Bryan builds his case with archival footage and present- day in­ter­views with jour­nal­ists, in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials, diplo­mats and politi­cians like Hil­lary

Clin­ton and John Mc­Cain, both of whom weath­ered smears and worse from Trump and his en­ablers during the 2016 cam­paign.

Par­al­lel­ing the early ac­cu­sa­tions of Trump al­low­ing Rus­sian gang­sters to laun­der money through Man­hat­tan’s Trump Tower and the Taj Ma­hal casino with the un­sa­vory al­liances that en­abled Putin’s rise to power in the 90s, Ac­tive Mea­sures tracks the two men all the way to their cur­rent sta­tus as pup­pet and pup­pet mas­ter.

I had wor­ried that the speed of break­ing news

would make this film stale- dated be­fore it even pre­mieres, but Bryan’s cov­er­age is cur­rent enough to in­clude a look at Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica’s datamin­ing op­er­a­tions, and glimpses of Trump’s hap­less coun­sel Michael Co­hen. The only ques­tion Ac­tive Mea­sures doesn’t an­swer defini­tively is whether Trump is ac­tu­ally aware of Putin pulling his strings, or if he’s just an­other use­ful id­iot. Ei­ther way, we’re all screwed. NW April 30, 9 pm, Is­abel Bader; May 2, 3: 45 pm, TIFF 1; May 4, 6:15 pm, TIFF 1

306 HOL­LY­WOOD

(Elan Bog­a­rín, Jonathan Bog­a­rín, US). 94 min­utes. Rat­ing: N See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

ñTHE BILL MUR­RAY STO­RIES: LIFE LESSONS FROM A MYTH­I­CAL MAN

( Tommy Aval­lone, U. S.). 70 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN The in­ter­net is ram­pant with ex­am­ples of ac­tor Bill

Mur­ray show­ing up at some­one’s birth­day party or touch foot­ball game, wash­ing a stranger’s dishes or tak­ing on tem­po­rary bar­tender du­ties at a club.

Tommy Aval­lone’s sweet doc in­ves­ti­gates many of th­ese sto­ries, form­ing a the­ory – put forth by many a jour­nal­ist and au­thor be­fore – that th­ese in-the- mo­ment en­coun­ters are tied both to the ac­tor’s im­prov train­ing and life phi­los­o­phy.

While the struc­ture of the film grows slightly te­dious – Aval­lone re­peat­edly tries to reach Mur­ray for an in­ter­view on his 1-800 num­ber to cre­ate his own “Bill Mur­ray mo­ment” – the doc pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing look at celebrity, spon­tane­ity and how tech­nol­ogy of­ten pre­vents us from be­ing present.

Stay af­ter the clos­ing cred­its for one of the loveli­est tales of all. GS Apr 30, 9: 30 pm, Hot Docs Cin­ema; May 2, 10: 30 am, TIFF 1; May 5, 3: 30 pm, Hot Docs Cin­ema; May 6, 10 am, TIFF 1

Tues­day, May 1 ñSTRAND: UNDER THE DARK CLOTH

(John Walker, Canada). 81 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN Pho­tog­ra­phy gi­ant Paul Strand comes under in­tense scru­tiny in this en­try, part of Hot Docs’s John

Walker ret­ro­spec­tive. Via in­ter­views with many of Strand’s col­lab­o­ra­tors and two of his wives, Walker, who was men­tored by the artist, re­veals how Strand went from pho­tog­ra­pher to film­maker – he’s cred­ited with one of the first doc­u­men­taries ever made – and then back to his first love, pho­tog­ra­phy, all the time striv­ing for so­cial jus­tice.

Not sur­pris­ingly, since it’s about a vis­ual artist, this doc is beau­ti­ful to look at. A se­quence com­par­ing Strand’s early pho­tos with the paint­ings of mod­ernists is es­pe­cially ar­rest­ing and his film im­agery, es­pe­cially in scenes from the anti- Ku Klux Klan fea­ture Na­tive Land, is pow­er­ful.

But it’s not all deadly se­ri­ous – con­sider his por­traits of celebri­ties in 60s Paris. And what’s not to like about a movie that fea­tures Ge­or­gia O’Ke­effe? SGC May 1, 3:15 pm, TIFF 2

ñON HER SHOUL­DERS

(Alexandria Bom­bach, U. S.). 94 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN This har­row­ing doc­u­men­tary pro­files Na­dia Mu­rad

Basee Taha, a Yazidi woman from north­ern Iraq who wit­nessed the mur­der of her fam­ily mem­bers by ISIS and en­dured months of bru­tal cap­tiv­ity be­fore es­cap­ing. Now an ac­tivist and a United Na­tions good­will am­bas­sador, she tours the world telling her story – which in­evitably forces to re­live the dark­est time of her life, over and over again.

On Her Shoul­ders is painfully aware of the toll Mu­rad’s work takes upon her, and di­rec­tor Bom­bach makes sure we are, too. With­out ever ex­ploit­ing her sub­ject’s past or pain, she’s made an em­pa­thetic, un­com­fort­able study of a woman push­ing her­self through her worst mem­o­ries in or­der to make sure no one else ever has a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence. NW May 1, 6:15 pm, Is­abel Bader; May 2, 10 am, TIFF 3; May 5, 4 pm, TIFF 2

WITKIN & WITKIN

(Tr­isha Ziff, Mex­ico). 93 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

ANOTE’S ARK

(Matthieu Rytz, Canada). 77 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

ñBLOWIN’ UP

(Stephanie Wang-Breal, U. S.). 97 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN In 2004, a gob-smack­ingly pro­gres­sive pro­gram is ini­ti­ated in Queens, in which New York’s jus­tice sys­tem gives women ar­rested for pros­ti­tu­tion-re­lated crimes the op­tion of for­go­ing a trial in favour of coun­selling ses­sions. If they at­tend the ses­sions, their charges are dropped.

Stephanie Wang- Breal’s per­sis­tent cam­eras cap­ture con­ver­sa­tions – and the close re­la­tion­ships – among the pro­gram’s par­tic­i­pants, in­clud­ing spe­cial court judge Toko Serita, coun­sel­lor Eliza

Hook and women, many of them il­le­gal im­mi­grants from China, caught up in sex work life.

At­tempts to zero in on the per­sonal lives of Serita and Hook al­most de­rail the pic, but Blowin’ Up (the term for leav­ing the sex trade) winds up be­ing a pow­er­ful ode to a sanc­tu­ary city – even if Trump’s Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices have started in­vad­ing to sweep up the un­doc­u­mented. SGC May 1, 6: 45 pm, Hart House; May 3, 12:30 pm, TIFF 1; May 5, 9 pm, Re­vue

GOLDEN DAWN GIRLS

(Hå­vard Bustnes, Nor­way, Den­mark, Fin­land). 92 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

ñTHE BLUE WALL

(Richard Row­ley, U. S.). 76 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN On the night of Oc­to­ber 20, 2014, Laquan McDon­ald was shot and killed by a Chicago po­lice of­fi­cer on the street near a Burger King. The of­fi­cial story was that he’d pulled a knife and lunged at the of­fi­cers who wanted to ques­tion him about car break-ins in the area; of­fi­cer Ja­son Van Dyke had no choice but to de­fend him­self.

It took over a year for the truth to come out:

McDon­ald was fac­ing away from Van Dyke and the other of­fi­cers when Van Dyke opened fire, shoot­ing the 17-year- old a to­tal of 16 times.

The Blue Wall re­counts the in­ci­dent and the sub­se­quent cover- up through se­cu­rity footage, news broad­casts and present- day in­ter­views, mov­ing chrono­log­i­cally from the shoot­ing to the of­fi­cial spin to the bad faith and out­right lies that even­tu­ally crum­bled as more and more ev­i­dence came to light. ( The film makes a good case that mayor Rahm Eman

uel and his staff tried to bury a cru­cial dash- cam video be­cause its re­lease would have threat­ened his 2015 re- elec­tion chances.)

It’s a story that’s no less ex­as­per­at­ing for its fa­mil­iar­ity, but Row­ley – di­rec­tor of the Os­car-nom­i­nated Dirty Wars – makes us feel the pain and rage of McDon­ald’s fam­ily and com­mu­nity, fram­ing it against the cyn­i­cal ra­tio­nal­iza­tions an in­sti­tu­tion de­ploys to main­tain its author­ity and avoid tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for its mis­takes. NW May 1, 9 pm, Is­abel Bader; May 2, 12: 30 pm, Hart House; May 3, 9 pm, Sco­tia­bank 3.

ñTHE OSLO DI­ARIES

(Mor Lushy, Daniel Si­van, Canada/Is­rael). 98 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNNN In 1993 the Pales­tini­ans and the Is­raelis made a peace agree­ment in the midst of un­bear­able ten­sions be­tween the two peo­ples. This pic traces the process of ne­go­tia­tors ar­gu­ing, ag­o­niz­ing and fi­nally craft­ing a deal.

Ex­trem­ists on both sides couldn’t bear it. At the mam­moth rally cel­e­brat­ing the pact, Yitzhak Rabin was as­sas­si­nated by ex­trem­ist right-wing Zion­ists and de­mor­al­ized Is­raeli lead­ers with­drew from the agree­ment.

Three es­sen­tial points emerge. Talk­ing leads to en­e­mies dis­cov­er­ing one an­other’s hu­man­ity. No­bel Peace Prize win­ner Rabin was an ex­cep­tional leader who stood up to Is­rael’s set­tlers and con­demned Is­raeli vi­o­lence against Pales­tini­ans. Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, the leader of the op­po­si­tion party Likud – who egged on his sup­port­ers who were scream­ing “Death to Rabin” – has blood on his hands.

He’s now Is­rael’s prime min­is­ter. How close they came to peace, how far away that goal seems now. SGC May 1, 9 pm, TIFF 1; May 2, 12: 30 pm, Is­abel Bader

ñOUR NEW PRES­I­DENT

(Maxim Poz­dorovkin, U. S.). 77 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN Our New Pres­i­dent looks at the as­cent of Don­ald Trump from the per­spec­tive of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, cre­at­ing a puck­ish col­lage of broad­cast me­dia and civil­ian videos that ap­pears to re­act to each stage of the 2016 elec­tion.

Di­rec­tor Maxim Poz­dorovkin mashes up silly home­made YouTube videos with ed­i­to­ri­ally skewed cov­er­age from na­tional broad­caster RT – which frets about the state of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s health and Barack Obama’s pos­ture even more of­ten than FOX News did – to cre­ate a por­trait of a na­tion de­ter­mined to keep its cit­i­zens gos­sip­ing about for­eign pol­i­tics so they won’t ques­tion what’s hap­pen­ing in their own gov­ern­ment.

The fram­ing de­vice in which Poz­dorovkin sug­gests Trump’s elec­tion is the re­sult of some kind of an­cient curse is a lit­tle much, but I can sort of see how he made the leap. It’s as rea­son­able an ex­pla­na­tion as any­thing else. NW May 1, 9 pm, Sco­tia­bank 4; May 3, 10 am, TIFF 1; May 5, 12: 45 pm, TIFF 1

ñBATHTUBS OVER BROAD­WAY

(Dava Whisenant, U. S.). 87 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNNN If you’ve never whis­tled songs about light bulbs or bath­room fix­tures, that could change af­ter watch­ing this ridicu­lously en­ter­tain­ing doc­u­men­tary about “in­dus­trial mu­si­cals,” a sub- genre that flour­ished from the 1950s to 80s, when big cor­po­ra­tions would com­mis­sion Broad­way-style mu­si­cals to be per­formed for their em­ploy­ees at na­tional con­ven­tions. The Late Show With David Let­ter­man writer Steve

Young dis­cov­ered th­ese shows from their not-for­pub­lic-sale sou­venir al­bums and soon be­came ob­sessed, track­ing down their more fa­mous stars and cre­ators (who in­clude Chita Rivera, Martin Short and chore­og­ra­pher Su­san Stro­man) and also their lesser- known tal­ents to find out more about the scene.

Be­sides pro­vid­ing catchy au­dio and video sam­ples from the shows and mind-bog­gling stats (the bud­get of one was six times that of the same year’s My Fair Lady), the doc presents a fas­ci­nat­ing pic­ture of op­ti­mism and cor­po­rate loy­alty in mid-20th- cen­tury Amer­ica.

It’s also heart­warm­ing to see the jaded, ironic Young fol­low his ob­ses­sion as his own long-run­ning TV show comes to an end and he goes on to his next ven­ture. GS May 1, 9: 30 pm, Hart House; May 3, 9 pm, TIFF 1; May 5, 3: 45 pm, Is­abel Bader

Wed­nes­day, May 2 ñMATANGI/ MAYA/M.I. A.

(Steve Loveridge, U. S.). 97 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN M. I. A. doesn’t show up un­til nearly the half­way mark in Steve Loveridge’s break­neck and fas­ci­nat­ing doc.

In­stead the film spends a great deal of time with home footage shot by Mathangi “Maya” Arul

pra­gasam, be­fore she be­comes a Grammy-nom­i­nated record­ing artist and ou­trage- gen­er­a­tor.

Like a minia­ture com­ing- of-age story, early se­quences see Maya in both Lon­don and Sri Lanka, sort­ing out an iden­tity be­tween Sri Lankan refugee and Bri­tish cit­i­zen, child of an ab­sent free­dom fighter or ter­ror­ist (depend­ing on your pol­i­tics), doc­u­men­tar­ian or mu­si­cian.

It’s all con­text that in­forms what comes later with M.I. A.’s com­bustible mix of mu­sic and ac­tivism, where the search for iden­tity con­tin­ues be­tween pop star and provo­ca­teur. RS May 2, 6: 30 pm, Hot Docs Cin­ema (Big Ideas screen­ing); May 3, 4 pm, Coli­seum Scar­bor­ough; May 5, 9 pm, and May 6, 9:30 pm, Hot Docs Cin­ema

MORE HU­MAN THAN HU­MAN

(Tommy Pal­lotta, Femke Wolt­ing, Nether­lands, U. S., Bel­gium). 79 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN

See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies. ñCONSTRUCTING AL­BERT

(Laura Col­lado, Jim Loomis, Spain/Es­to­nia). 82 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN I felt tired just watch­ing Con­struct­ing Al­bert — which can only be a tes­ta­ment to the ac­cu­racy of Laura

Col­lado and Jim Loomis’s por­trait of chef Al­bert Adrià as he con­tin­u­ally in­vents and rein­vents his restau­rant em­pire over a four-year span.

Long known as the sec­ond ba­nana to his brother Fer­ran at ground­break­ing Span­ish eatery El Bulli, Al­bert is des­per­ate to make his own name. That fu­els a thirst for culi­nary per­fec­tion and orig­i­nal­ity that not even two Miche­lin stars (which he scores early in the film for a pair of res­tau­rants, one of which he promptly dis­man­tles) can ap­pease.

Whether he’s fuss­ing over an im­pos­si­ble-look­ing new dish, pep-talk­ing his staff, ac­cept­ing a lofty prize or lament­ing some sub­stan­dard de­tail in one of his dizzy­ing, tough-to-keep-straight ar­ray of new projects (which the film­mak­ers ad­mit­tedly could have de­lin­eated more clearly in edit­ing), the look of laser­fo­cused con­cen­tra­tion never leaves the chef’s face.

Adrià al­ways seems to be reach­ing for some no­tion of ex­cel­lence just be­yond the bor­ders of def­i­ni­tion. The di­rec­tors po­si­tion the open­ing of Enigma, Adrià’s crown jewel restau­rant, at the film’s fi­nale — which, given the chef’s bound­less drive and am­bi­tion, feels more like a “to be con­tin­ued” than a neat bow on his story. Natalia MaN­zoCCo May 2, 7 pm, TIFF 1; May 4, 1:30 pm, TIFF 3; May 5, 11 am, TIFF 2

ñOBSCURO BARROCO

(Evan­gelia Kran­i­oti, France/Greece). 60 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN France-based, Greek-born artist Evan­gelia Kran­i­oti’s sec­ond fea­ture- length film is a dreamy acid trip through Rio de Janeiro’s queer nightlife. Trans­gen­der ac­tivist and un­der­ground icon Lu­ana Mu­niz is the film’s guide, recit­ing po­etic lines from late au­thor Clarice Lis­pec­tor’s ex­per­i­men­tal mono­logue Água Viva.

Like that book, Ob­scuro Bar­rocco avoids tra­di­tional nar­ra­tive, drift­ing through clubs, street protests and car­ni­val cel­e­bra­tions to cap­ture the in­ter­play of lights, fire­works, re­flec­tions, colour, gy­rat­ing bod­ies and the par­tic­u­lar tex­tures of makeup, glit­ter and ag­ing body parts. It’s a dream-like film es­sen­tially fus­ing par­ty­ing with pol­i­tics, and Rio’s daz­zling geog­ra­phy and ar­chi­tec­ture with hu­man forms to sug­gest things oth­er­worldly and tran­scen­dent.

Pure vis­ceral en­ter­tain­ment. KR May 2, 9 pm, Hart House; May 3, noon, Sco­tia­bank 13; May 6, 1:15 pm, Sco­tia­bank 13

ñPICK OF THE LIT­TER

(Dana Nach­man, Don Hardy, U. S.). 79 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN There are few things more de­light­ful than Labrador retriever pup­pies, and Pick Of The Lit­ter knows it, fol­low­ing five dogs over their first two years of life as they’re placed with foster fam­i­lies by Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Pro­ducer/di­rec­tors Dana Nach­man (Batkid Be­gins) and Don Hardy lean into the adora­bil­ity of it all – and re­ally, how could they not? – but they’ve also con­structed a thought­ful film about the ex­act­ing se­lec­tion process for guide dogs, and the bonds that form be­tween the pups and the peo­ple who’ve agreed to raise them for a lim­ited span of time. (Not every­one fully un­der­stands the emo­tional in­vest­ment, which leads to some painful mo­ments when the time comes for a given pup to move for­ward in his or her train­ing.)

The dogs are to­tally win­ning, and the com­plex­ity of their train­ing is fas­ci­nat­ing. The pack­ag­ing is maybe a lit­tle on the cutesy side, but as an in­fomer­cial for Guide Dogs for the Blind, it’s un­de­ni­ably ef­fec­tive. NW May 2, 9 pm, Sco­tia­bank 4; May 4, 1 pm, Is­abel Bader; May 6, 3:15 pm, TIFF 1

SLUT OR NUT: DIARY OF A RAPE TRIAL

(Kelly Showker, Canada). 70 min. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view and story, page 8.

PLAY­ING HARD

( Jean-Si­mon Chartier, Canada/U. S.). 90 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

BACH­MAN

(John Barnard, Canada). 80 min­utes. Rat­ing: NN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

ñBARBARA RU­BIN AND THE EX­PLOD­ING NY UN­DER­GROUND

(Chuck Smith, U. S.). 78 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN Bar­bara Ru­bin And The Ex­plod­ing NY Un­der­ground makes a pretty good ar­gu­ment that the sin­gle most im­por­tant per­son in Amer­i­can cul­ture in the early 60s was a young woman who showed up in Man­hat­tan, got a job with ex­per­i­men­tal film­maker Jonas

Mekas and wound up in­flu­enc­ing not just her men­tor but also Andy Warhol, Bob Dy­lan, Allen Gins­berg, Lou Reed and count­less oth­ers.

Ru­bin was 17 years old when she met Mekas; just a few years later, she aban­doned it all for a life as far re­moved from the Fac­tory scene as one can imag­ine. But while she was ac­tive in New York, she changed the course of the cul­ture – bring­ing Warhol to the first Vel­vet Un­der­ground show, in­tro­duc­ing Dy­lan to Jewish mys­ti­cism and mak­ing a sex­u­ally graphic short film, Christ­mas On Earth, that served as a fem­i­nist coun­ter­point to Jack Smith’s far bet­ter known Flam­ing Crea­tures.

It’s a hell of a ride, and di­rec­tor Chuck Smith lays out Ru­bin’s tra­jec­tory and her art in vivid de­tail, con­tex­tu­al­iz­ing a wealth of archival footage with present­day tes­ti­mo­ni­als from her fam­ily and friends (in­clud­ing film critic Amy Taubin) and Ru­bin’s own let­ters, read by Claire Jami­son.

The re­sult is a por­trait of an artist de­ter­mined to make the most of every last artis­tic im­pulse – even if that meant pitch­ing Walt Dis­ney on a porno­graphic se­quel to Christ­mas On Earth that she be­lieved would ex­pand the minds of any­one who saw it. She just needed a lit­tle help with the an­i­ma­tion. NW May 2, 9: 45 pm, Hot Docs Cin­ema; May 4, 6: 30 pm, Sco­tia­bank 13; May 5, 9:15 pm, Hart House

Thurs­day, May 3 ñSIBLINGS

(Au­drey Gor­don, France). 63 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN Au­drey Gor­don’s small, lyri­cal, fly- on-the-wall doc drops in on a sum­mer camp where sib­lings sep­a­rated by foster homes re­unite an­nu­ally.

The chil­dren, from ado­les­cents to verg­ing on adult, soak up ev­ery­thing they missed in the year to­gether, whether it’s a birth­day cake, im­promptu dance- off or aim­less but com­fort­ing wan­der­ing. The film doesn’t hang on their un­for­tu­nate cir­cum­stances, nor does it try to im­pose any mean­ing be­yond a clever struc­ture that’s aware of how fleet­ing time can be.

But within that time, Gor­don col­lects mo­ments be­tween th­ese kids and sees some­thing beau­ti­ful in the unique con­nec­tions they make. RS May 3, 6 pm, Sco­tia­bank 7; May 4, 3:15 pm, Sco­tia­bank 7; May 5, 12: 30 pm, Fox The­atre

Satur­day, May 5 THE TROL­LEY

(Stephen Low, Canada). 45 min­utes. Rat­ing: NN See re­view at now­toronto.com/movies.

Must-see Bis­bee ’17 is an ab­sorb­ing meta-doc with the sweep of a clas­sic Amer­i­can Western.

Chef Flynn cel­e­brates the pre­co­cious food wizard Flynn McGarry.

I, Dolours brings for­mer IRA mem­ber’s story to vivid life.

93QUEEN is more com­plex than it at first seems.

Fred Rogers (right), the sub­ject of Won’t You Be My Neigh­bor?, is re­mark­able.

Afghan Cy­cles shows the dis­crim­i­na­tion faced by Afghan women who dare ride a bi­cy­cle.

Ac­tive Mea­sures proves Trump is neck­deep in ques­tion­able fi­nan­cial re­la­tion­ships with the Rus­sian oli­garchy.

Ne­ti­zens looks at women who have been vic­tim­ized on­line.

On Her Shoul­ders is a har­row­ing pro­file about ac­tivist Na­dia Mu­rad Basee Taha (cen­tre).

The Oslo Di­aries shows how close we came to peace in the Mid­dle East.

Our New Pres­i­dent should get the com­man­der-in-chief an­gry tex­ting.

Sib­lings is a small, lyri­cal, beau­ti­ful doc.

Ob­scuro Barroco is pure en­ter­tain­ment.

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