Hot Docs Reviews: Project Nim

Project Nim (D: James Marsh; UK, 2011) Project Nim, from director James Marsh (the person responsible for the superb Man on Wire) is a breathtaking documentary experience that is as heartbreaking and horrifying as it is insightful. It tells the story of a chimpanzee named Nim who is taken from his mother as a baby

Hot Docs Review: Timothy Findley: Anatomy of a Writer

Timothy Findley: Anatomy of a Writer (D: Terrence Macartney-Filgate; Canada, 1995) Screened as part of Hot Docs’ retrospective of the career of Canadian director, Terrence Macartney-Filgate, Timothy Findley: Anatomy of a Writer is a charming and lively portrait of one of Canada’s most unique novelists. The 1995 film consists primarily of a series of interviews

Hot Docs Review: Memoirs of a Plague

Memoirs of a Plague (D: Robert Nugent; Australia, 2011) I saw this film on Wednesday. It’s now Friday and I’m still trying to wrap my head around Memoirs of a Plague, the latest from Australian director, Robert Nugent. I can tell you I liked it – that much I know for certain – beyond that,

Hot Docs Review: Hot Coffee

Hot Coffee (D: Susan Saladoff; USA, 2011) Exposé documentaries sometimes give me the willies. For every thoughtful and tastefully provocative Gasland or Why We Fight there are at least ten self-indulgent and condescending Farenheit 9/11s waiting to bombard you with excessive preaching. Sometimes, when handling potentially dangerous material, some filmmakers can’t help but get a

Hot Docs Review: In Heaven, Underground

In Heaven, Underground (D: Britta Wauer; Germany 2011) I am fairly certain that Britta Wauer’s In Heaven, Underground may just be the most uplifting movie ever made about a cemetery. Lively (har har), charming, and gorgeously shot, this film details the history of Weißensee, the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe. Built in the 1850s in

Hot Docs Review: At the Edge of Russia

At the Edge of Russia (Michal Marczak; Poland, 2011) I realized when watching this film that one can only watch so much footage of six dudes not doing anything. Similarly, however, I am sure that being among six dudes not doing anything, is worse than watching six dudes not doing anything . At the Edge

Hot Docs Review: Magic Trip

Magic Trip (D: Alex Gibney & Alison Ellwood; USA, 2010) To be honest, I don’t really have too much to say about this one. It was OK. Yeah. Pretty much just OK. Magic Trip is the story of the now mythical bus tour across America undertaken by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters that was

Hot Docs Review: Dragonslayer

Dragonslayer (Tristan Patterson; USA, 2011) Dragonslayer is one of the most honest and beautiful documentaries I’ve seen in a very long time. It is a film of such intimacy, affection and charm that one cannot help but be drawn into the crushing wave of humanity at its most . . . well, human. Yesterday, in