hot docs

Hot Docs Review: American Factory (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, 2019)

Posted on by Paul in Hot Docs | Leave a comment

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A failing automobile factory is on the verge of going under, only to be saved by an Asian investor, after which culture clashes, of course, ensue. If this sounds like the plot of the 1987 Ron Howard directed film Gung Ho, you’re not wrong, but it’s also the story of American Factory. Except in this case, there’s no plucky, wisecracking lead character played by Michael Keaton coming in to ultimately save the day. No, real life is more complicated than that.

American Factory tells the story of a Dayton, Ohio based GM plant that is converted into a factory for Chinese owned company Fuyao Glass, thus saving many jobs. Of course the story doesn’t end there. Aside from the obvious cultural clashes, the real issues begin once it becomes clear that the differences run a little deeper, with problems specifically arising once the workers decide that they need to unionize, something to which management is completely opposed.

Featuring in depth, honest interviews with those from both sides of this conflict, the film presents a fascinating look at the issue. A clash between labour and management is not a new story by any means, but as told by directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert in American Factory, it’s a very compelling one.

Screenings:
Sat, May 4, 6:00 PM @ Isabel Bader Theatre
Sun, May 5, 4:15 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Hot Docs Preview: Gaza (Garry Keane, Andrew McConnell, 2018)

Posted on by Paul in Hot Docs | Leave a comment

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Gaza has long been the site of much conflict and unrest, but while it’s one thing to see reports in the news of what’s happening there, it’s hard for many to imagine what it would be like to actually live through it all. In Gaza, directors Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell focus on the people of Gaza and their daily lives from their own perspectives.

While the film certainly doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality of daily life in Gaza, it’s not the sole focus either. That reality is unavoidable and always hanging like a spectre over everything, but the directors choose instead to focus for much of the film on the lives of its various residents, ranging from young children to aspiring musicians to a taxi driver and many more. Despite the hardships they may face, the vast majority of those profiled in the film try to focus on the positive aspects of their lives rather than dwell on the negative.

Though the filmmakers don’t really spend much time on the political aspects of life in Gaza, that likely wasn’t one of their main goals while making the film anyways. Rather, the focus on the human element shows us a unique look at a side of life in the region that is not often seen.

Screenings:
Tue, Apr 30, 6:00 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Wed, May 1, 3:45 PM @ Isabel Bader Theatre
Fri, May 3, 3:45 PM @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema

Hot Docs Review: Push (Fredrik Gertten, 2019)

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs | Leave a comment

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An insightful film about the global housing crisis in urban centers, Push follows UN Rapporteur Lailani Farza across the globe as she investigates the continued demise of affordable city housing. For some reason I thought this film was going to be just about Toronto, but I was glad to see the scope of this film expanded.

Through conversations with experts, politicians and just plain regular people, we come to learn that the issue is far more complex than we realize and that this crisis will be far more difficult to untangle.

An eye opener of a film. Check it out.

Screenings:
Wed, May 1, 1:00 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Sat, May 4, 9:15 PM @ Hart House Theatre

Hot Docs Preview: The Pickup Game [Matthew O’ Connor, Barnaby O’ Connor, 2019]

Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs | Leave a comment

pickupgame

A documentary that will surely infuriate, The Pickup Game is a film that exposes the pickup artist industry. The film digs into the origin, the mythology and what the industry is like today. I’m surprised that the film actually included a lot of testimonials and footage provided by the pickup artist themselves. My roommate watched the screener with me and recognized the pickup tactics a few days later when someone approached her and tried them on her, so it’s also informative in a weird way.

Normally this type of film would only explore the one obvious angle, but the directors also took it in several unexpected directions that helped to add additional dimensions to the world of pick up artists. Definitely recommended.

Screenings:
Tue, Apr 30 | 8:45 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox
Wed, May 1 | 10:15 AM TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Sat, May 4 | 3:15 PM Isabel Bader Theatre

Additional information here

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