Hot Docs

Hot Docs Review: Corrupted (Juan Cifuentes Mera, 2022)

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Not quite a documentary is the strictest sense, Corrupted is based on the real life experiences of a number of psychiatric patients with the effects of electroshock therapy and the resulting memory loss.

The unnamed protagonist of this short film is an amalgam of several of these patients whose sad story unfolds through voiceovers as she comes to terms with the fact that there are things in her life she’ll never remember. She sometimes wakes up not knowing where she is or what time it is. She often feels lonely and detached from her life, and she struggles to recall events from her childhood. Pictures with the faces blacked out and images onscreen becoming semi-pixellated make for effective visual metaphors, illustrating what this must feel like for her.

Memory is a precious thing. In some cases it can also be a tenuous and all too fragile thing. Corrupted is a brief yet poignant portrait of what can happen when one’s memories become just that – corrupted.

Hot Docs Review: Meeting Point (Roberto Baeza, 2022)

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The past never really goes away.

Our pasts shape who we are and can often have an impact on our present day. In the case of Alfredo García and Paulina Costa, the pasts that they must confront in Meeting Point are those of their fathers, both of whom were taken prisoner by Pinochet’s forces in the 1970s. Costa’s father Lucho eventually returned, but Garcia’s father Alfredo Sr, who disappeared when García was only 18 days old, never did.

Now, 45 years later, Garcia and Costa take it upon themselves to investigate and deal with what happened back then through the making of a film which will recreate their fathers’ stories using actors. Through the making of this film within a film, we see Garcia and Costa as they try and reconstruct pieces of their shared family history in the hopes of building a bridge between the past and the present.

While the duo are delving into their fathers’ revolutionary past, we see Chile again enveloped in waves of protest against social inequity under the rule of then-president Sebastián Piñera, thus making the connection between past and present even more explicit. As Costa notes at one point, “Eventually everything happens again. This is happening just as we look back, trying to understand the past, and suddenly, this is in your face.”

Meeting Point is a rather effective and affecting documentary, with director Roberto Baeza drawing the audience in as we follow García and Costa on their journey through the past.

Hot Docs Review: Dio:Dreamers Never Die (Demian Fenton and Don Argott, 2021)

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Ronnie James Dio was one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time. Small in stature, but a larger than life figure with a huge voice to match, Dio was a consummate performer who was loved and respected by fans and contemporaries alike. Dio:Dreamers Never Die tells the story of his life and career through archival footage and plenty of interviews from the likes of Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Sebastian Bach, Danny Lilker, Lita Ford, Vinny Appice and Dio’s widow Wendy.

Starting with his early days playing in pre-Beatles rock bands like The Redcaps and The Prophets and following through to his big breakthrough with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven and Hell, the film makes a case for Ronnie’s place in history while also emphasizing what a kind and positive man he was.

Dio:Dreamers Never Die is a must see for fans and a solid introduction to a metal legend for newcomers.

Hot Docs Review: Band (Alfrun Ornolfsdottir, 2022)

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Hot Docs | Leave a comment


Everyone has their own definiton of success. In the realm of performing musicians, some might strive to be mega-pop stars selling out stadiums while others will be satisfied with playing DIY basement punk shows for the rest of their lives, but odds are that all of them want some measure of recognition for their efforts. This notion of what it means to succeed, or to “make it”, is at the core of Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir’s Band.

Örnólfsdóttir is not only the director of this film, but as a member of The Post Performance Blues Band (or PPBB for short), she’s also one of its major protagonists. With all three members having been at this for awhile, they begin to wonder whether it’s worth it to continue playing to minimal crowds while also balancing their family lives as well as their other artistic pursuits. So they give themselves an ultimatum – if they’re not a success within one year, then the PPBB will call it quits. And if they fail, then so be it.

Along the way, the band meets up with a cast of colourful characters who offer up advice or assistance in one form or another, including their collaborator Petur, whose role in the PPBB as a sort of Schrodinger’s Cat of bandmates (is he or isn’t he in the band?) is one of the sources of tension within the film.

In a brief intro before the screening, Örnólfsdóttir advised the audience to just “have fun” while watching and while there are some moments of drama and tension along the way, Band is ultimately a lot of fun. The members of PPBB (and Petur) are all quite likeable and the live footage of the band in action were something to behold.

And those who stuck around last night were treated to an extra bonus as the band took to the stage post-screening for a short performance that demonstrated up close and personal what they’re all about. Part performance art, part modern dance, part electro/punk/pop/whatever, the Post Performance Blues Band put on an entertaining mini-set that definitely captured the crowd’s attention. I’d count that as a success.