Hot Docs Review: The Auctioneer [2013, Hans Olson]


A puzzling look at rural life in Alberta, The Auctioneer follows the unique life of Dale Menzak. A man with multiple hats (literally and figuratively), Dale earns his keep by working as a farmer, undertaker and auctioneer. It is the last job where we spend most of his time, as we follow Dale as he prepares for several auctions of farm equipment from the offspring of farmers who have gone to seek a new life under a more urban landscape. Following a verite documentary style, we see Dale go on his daily life, having various conversations with friends and clients. To be honest, not a whole lot goes on in this film. Hans Olson was pretty content to let the actions speak of itself, never bothering to ask why the subjects were doing what they did. While that might have works for a lot of documentaries, the problem with this one is that there’s just a whole lot going on. Between long (albeit gorgeous) shots of the Albertan sky and landscape, the film just doesn’t string together enough interesting scenes to hold your attention, as a result, the film feels a lot longer then 57 minutes and at the end, you are just left wondering what you just really saw.

The Auctioneer screens
Thu, May 2 7:30 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 4
Sat, May 4 3:30 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs

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Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.