Saturday, April 26, 2008

HotDocs 2008 #9: Are We Over?

Methinks the TTC strike is going to cost me my final day of movie-going tomorrow. The logistics of getting to and from the screenings is too much of a headache. That, combined with my growing fatigue is, at this point, making me think that today was probably my last day at HotDocs 2008...which kind of sucks because one of my few must-see films -- Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go -- is showing tomorrow afternoon. I might sleep on it.

If not, then I’m afraid the last two films I saw will have me leaving HotDocs 2008 on a meh note.

It was a boy-movie double bill: the short The Pull (3/8), and the feature-length Suddenly, Last Winter (5/8).

The Pull gets three slices because, in reality, it wasn’t a documentary at all. It was a narrative story about the contracted romantic relationship between the director and his (now ex-) boyfriend. They had agreed to be in a relationship for a finite period of time, with a predetermined “end date,” as a way of perhaps enriching the (limited) time they did have together. But my beef (aside from the meh-ness of the story and its execution) is that the film, essentially a dramatic short made up of reenactments, wasn’t a documentary.

Following that was Suddenly, Last Winter, a cute but curiously lop-sided look at co-directors Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi – a wonderfully funny and adorable Italian gay couple, together for eight years – who document the aftermath in Rome when the government proposes legislation that acknowledges same-sex couples. Narrated like a children’s educational special, the film tracks the increasingly vocal homophobic portion of the population as its protests (sometimes loudly and en masse) against the legislation increase. But, after a while, the proceedings felt very repetitive – almost the entire film is made up of interviews with, commentary from, and footage of people opposed to the bill. I started to wonder if Gustav and Luca were the only two gay men in the city. Where was the other half of the argument? What were other members of the gay community feeling? Were there pro-bill rallies? Anything? I didn’t think the religious right and their political counterparts really needed another platform to express their views without opposition, and kind of wished we’d heard from the other side.

Both Gustav and Luca were in attendance for the screening, and gave a pleasant enough Q&A. Oh, and I promised my movie-going pal today that I would print a correction to my beef with the Scotiabank Scene Card ads – seems, thanks to my limited attention span, the two ads are actually for two different Scene cards. One is for the Scene points card, and the other is for the Scene Visa card. I stand corrected.

But I remained annoyed.

1 comment:

Lou said...

I am impressed at the support that the makers of these documentaries give to their work and to the audience that comes to see them.