International Diaspora Film Festival 2013

27 Oct

Press Release
15 October 2013

International Diaspora Film Festival Announces its 2013 Line up.

The 13th annual International Diaspora Film festival with a special focus on films from Latin America and legendary Brazilian Director Glauber Rocha, launches November 1-5 at the Carlton Cinema and Innis Town Hall, with an exciting lineup of international films, discussion panels and, following the Canadian premiere of CICLO by Mexican director Andrea Martínez, a much anticipated musical concert featuring dynamic Canadian singer songwriter Amanda Martínez and her band, singing songs from her highly acclaimed new album MAÑANA .
The International Diaspora Film Festival (IDFF) provides Toronto audiences with an opportunity to experience the cultural mosaic of the present world through the medium of cinema. “Diaspora” refers to the dispersion and migration of a people from their homeland and the communities they form in new lands.
The IDFF explores themes of migration, immigration, and cultural diversity by showcasing works of both established and emerging filmmakers. The festival pays special attention to independent Canadian filmmakers from ethnic minorities.
This year’s highlights include opening night on Friday November 1 at 9 pm at the Innis Town Hall with the Toronto premiere of award winning Una Noche (One Night) by Director Lucy Mulloy (Winner, Best New Director, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Tribeca FF 2012; 2nd Best Feature Film, Berlin FF). Set in contemporary Havana and brimming with the nervous energy of Havana’s restless youth and evocative cinematography of the sun-bleached capital, Una Noche follows several unforgettable characters on one sweltering day, full of hope and fraught with tensions, that burns to a shocking climax. The film has also received a great deal of attention when the main actors defected to the US after they were invited to attend the Tribeca FF.

Not to be missed is the Canadian premiere of Cuban director Jorge Perugorría’s Amor Cronico which follows the flamboyant Grammy nominated Cuban-born and New York-based singer CuCu Diamantes on her tour around Cuba. The film interweaves footage of live musical performances with a fictional love story narrative. The result is an energetic display of CuCu Diamantes’ glamorous performance style with a fresh Latin soundtrack and a comical twist. Saturday November 2 at 7 pm and Monday November 4 at 9 pm, Carlton Cinema.

The festival also offers a rare opportunity to screen two recently restored films by celebrated Brazilian film director Glauber Rocha, a key figure in the Brazilian Cinema Nuevo movement who influenced filmmakers internationally with his innovative style and his socially and politically conscious films which challenged the status quo. The screening of the highly acclaimed and ground breaking film Antonio Des Mortes on Tuesday November 5, at 7 pm, at the Innis Town Hall will be followed by a panel discussion on the cinema of Glauber Rocha and his contribution to World Cinema, moderated by Ryerson Professor Brian Damude and includes Rocha scholar Dr Hudson Moura and Afonso Jose Sean Cardosa, the Consul for Brazil in Toronto. Entranced Earth (Terra em transe) screens Sunday November 3 at 1 pm, Carleton Cinema.

They Were Promised the Sea is the story of a people whose identity as Arab Jews challenges the very notion of enemy. Directed by Canadian Kathy Wazzana and informed by her own family history, the film investigates the exodus that virtually emptied Morocco of its Jewish population, many believing they were no longer safe in their Arab homeland. Intimate interviews, poetry, recordings of Judeo-Andalusian music performed in Arabic, Hebrew, Ladino, thread the subjects’ storylines and reveal a little-known history of a land and a people that resisted the separation of Arab and Jew. Stunningly shot in former Jewish Berber villages, They Were Promised the Sea is a lyrical meditation on loss and longing, on hope and the possibilities of coexistence. Followed by a Panel Discussion Sunday November 3, 2013, at 3 pm, Innis Town Hall.

Also on Sunday, November 3, 2013, at 6:30 pm, Innis Town Hall is the premiere screening of CICLO, directed by Andrea Martínez about her father and her uncle’s life-changing journey by bicycle from Mexico to Toronto. Following the screening Amanda Martínez (Andrea’s cousin) the ever popular Canadian singer and songwriter, and her band will perform songs from her recently released album MAÑANA which celebrates hope, possibility and persistence.

Other films from Canada, Mexico, Morocco, Iran, France, the Netherlands and South Africa, round out an exciting lineup that provide a unique window on the world, telling universal stories through the eyes of extraordinary storytellers.

For more details please call:
416 571 2150


TIFF The Cowards Who Looked To The Sky The Time Being

13 Sep

Image I have been lucky enough to see these 2 great films at the Tiff. The directors were present for Q & A at the end of the films and were genourous in there insights

ImageThe Cowards Who Looked To The Sky is a wonderful combination of both struggle and hope in modern day Japan. Sex is central to this film and is a great prism to see the characters and their development through.  It deals with issues of bullying, a uneducated underclass full of frustration, despair and yet a sense of hope that even if life may not get better it can still be lived. The acting is restrained and the characters are imbued with if not hope at least a gritty determination to carve themselves some space.  The director revisits scenes to add different characters perspectives. It is wonderfully shot and edited.  The soundtrack ( as in most Japanese films I see) was understated. I look forward to seeing this film again when commercially released in Canada

This is the programmers notes on the TIFF site;

“Based on the award-winning novel of the same name, director Yuki Tanada’s The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky is a boldly erotic yet movingly tender portrait of a group of damaged people — mothers, sons and lovers — whose intersecting stories yield both sorrow and a fragile, yet enduring, hope for a brighter future.

Anzu (Tomoko Tabata) is a depressed housewife whose days are spent undergoing fertility treatments and enduring her mother-in-law’s nagging and her husband’s indifference. Channelling her dissatisfactions into rabid anime fandom, she attends a convention costumed as her favourite character. There, she meets a handsome high-school boy named Takumi (Kento Nagayama), whom she seduces (while still in her character’s outfit). The two begin an affair, and the secret trysts with her young lover become Anzu’s only escape from her grim reality. After a classmate confesses that she is in love with him, Takumi resolves to not see Anzu anymore — but he soon realizes that the attraction he feels for Anzu might very well be true love. He and Anzu resume their affair, but when one of their secret encounters is filmed and uploaded to the internet, the consequences for both could be disastrous.

Meanwhile, Fukuda (Masataka Kubota), Takumi’s classmate and best friend, lives with his senile grandmother in a housing project, after his mother abandoned the two of them for a new boyfriend. Struggling to provide for himself and his granny by delivering newspapers and working at a convenience store after school, Fukuda finds himself in an even more desperate situation when a loan shark appears and demands that he settle his mother’s considerable debts.

With assured control, Tanada weaves together the stories of these vulnerable, variously wounded characters, who face a world that seems bent on destroying them. In an inverted mirror-image of Anzu’s infertility, Takumi’s mother Sumiko (Mieko Harada) has devoted her life to midwifery, but is haunted by a lingering question: What is the meaning of the sometimes tragically short lives she helps bring into the world? If the film’s resolution leaves this question unanswered, it nonetheless makes it less daunting than hopeful. No one will leave this film unmoved.”


The Time Being was a visual immersion. This is a lovely film to look at not just see.  The colours are at times toned down and increase in  dimension as the film progresses. I will never look at water and liquids quite the same way.  Having just seen the film it is still percolating in my consciousness.  The acting is great and restrained. The cimematography is subtle and painterly.  The director builds  through conscious , restrained  thoughtful use of his  all his tools.

Here are the programmers notes for The Time Being;

“When a struggling young painter, supporting a family, finds that none of his recent canvases are selling, he is extended a lifeline in the form of an anonymous benefactor. So begins Nenad Cicin-Sain’s hypnotic and beautifully shot first feature, which goes on to explore an increasingly mysterious relationship between two men, one fighting to keep his head above water while the other takes stock of his life as he grapples with his own mortality. Featuring graceful performances by Frank Langella and Wes Bentley, this film is a visual treat, capturing the elusive stillness of painting as well as the shifting uncertainties of marriage, parenthood, and friendship.

Daniel (Bentley) is not only trying to make a living: he is also sparring with a wife who sees his self-absorption as a major stumbling block in their marriage. When one of Daniel’s pieces is bought and there is talk of an extra “commission,” he delivers his painting to an isolated mansion out in the mountains of Northern California and comes face to face with a man as self-obsessed as he is. Warner (Langella) is cold and distant; their relationship will be strictly professional. Knowing that Daniel uses photography for his paintings, Warner gives him very specific instructions: to film a sunset, or children playing, all at specific times and places. Daniel will be paid for his work. Warner is reclusive, and for a reason. As Daniel ventures out to fulfill Warner’s wishes, he begins to unravel the identity of his benefactor while confronting an identity crisis of his own.

As we soon come to discover, the past casts a shadow over this story. Or, to use Faulkner’s famous turn of phrase: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” And as Daniel executes his commissions, he confronts this very truth. But he also learns that the present is where his destiny lies.

Cicin-Sain’s mesmerizing direction allows him to circle around these two obsessive and repressed men as they wrestle with their demons, moving us through the haunted chambers of their minds as they put paint to canvas and give expression to their deepest feelings.”

These movies took me away and grounded in the wonderment of the mundane.  I hope to see them again.  Thank you TIFF

Headhunters (2011) Hodejegerne

20 May

I didn’t quite know  what to expect from this story based on what I had  checked into . I thought a crime thriller al la the  original Thomas Crown Affair. What I got was  stunning sets that make me want to move to Oslo;  the stylish set dec that contrasted wonderfully with the scenery and countryside of Norway.  I vaguely recognized the main actor  as being Askel Hennie who was great as Max Mannus in  Max Mannus Man of War .  The movie was exquisitely violent in an almost casual way that had me squirming in my seat and mumbling uhoh.  The twists and subplots added other facets but mostly this film is about fear. But lots of humour especially directed at Norway law enforcement.  I am not a movie reviewer; simply an enthusiast.  I guess I enjoy foreign films because of my desire to travel and learn about other cultures.  to see a list of links to reviews of this film  click here courtesy of IMDB  Here is a link to the official NA site at Magnolia


Jiro Who Dreams Of Sushi

22 Apr

This is  a link to a review of the documentary on Jiro Who Dreams Of Sushi by NPR



Jiro Dreams Of Sushi [1080p Trailer]

22 Apr