Archive for September, 2007

Canscene — Canada’s multicultural scene

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Vol 7 No. 9 — September 2007

He brought the people to opera

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — For years, I’ve had commercial messages thrust upon me which, to satisfy their own own egos, the advertisers insist on performing themselves. Most of them are colossal bores from a jeweller who loves dressing up to a furniture importer who sprouts a patriarchal beard and rides elephants.

The exception proved the rule with Richard Bradshaw’s enthusiastic radio commercials promoting Canadian Opera Company productions. In a few words he brought grand opera into the 21st century but not only did he bring opera to the people — he brought the people to opera.

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The maestro in the auditorium bearing his name

COC announcements promoted come-as-you-wish dress codes and low-cost seating for young people. plus free concerts at the Four Seasons Centre’s Richard Bradshaw auditorium. More »

Not exactly a diverse cabinet

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

(Canscene) Stephen Harper’s recent ho-hum cabinet shuffle did little to excite public interest and drew the stinging criticism of Multicultualism critic Colleen Maurier Liberal MP for Brampton West.

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s latest Cabinet shuffle demonstrates his government’s complete disregard for Canadian diversity,” she said.

More »

Ethnic celebrations promote understanding

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — It’s become something of a habit these days to poo-poo ethnic celebrations such as concerts and street festivals as not portraying the reality of Multicultualism.

Yet while not the be-all and end-all of Canadian multiculturalism they still play an important part in bringing people together in a common enjoyment.

It is a matter of record that he recent South Asian Festival in Toronto’s Little India attracted visitors from diverse origins in addition to the celebrants from India, Pakistan , Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other south Asian countries. More »

Some Canadian films to see at TIFF

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

(Canscene) Those of us accredited to the Toronto International Film Festival living within striking distance of Toronto have the privilege of taking in a number of pre-festival screenings set up by TIFF organizers and private distributors. Here are reports on those I saw last month, all of which are Canadian and all of which I highly recommend.

One very big point: wherever possible, the film makers  have deliberately placed their productions  in identifiable Canadian settings.

Dorfman’s odyssey

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

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Ariel Dorfman returns to the presidential palace

(Canscene) — Peter Raymont, whose Shake Hands With the Devil shocked and stunned us at TIFF three years ago, documenting General Romeo Dallaire’s return to the scene of the Rwanda genocide, has recorded another journey which again reminds of how man’s inhumanity to man can leave scars on a person’s psyche.

Author /playwright Ariel Dorfman won international fame with his play and film Death and the Maiden, questioning the depth of retribution that should be exacted from a war criminal.

In Raymont’s new film A Promise to the Dead– the Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman, the question is pursued further. More »

More than a film about boxing

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — Although Poor Boy’s Game has a suspenseful, climactic prizefight, its real theme is the need for healing relationships between human beings under extremely divisive circumstances. Clement Virgo’s entry is his most powerful yet and places him firmly among Canada’s top directors.

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Danny Glover as George Carvery

Set in urban Halifax, the film’s back story is the vicious beating of a black youth during a fight with whites, resulting in brain damage that leaves Charles Carvery (K.C. Collins) almost a human vegetable. More »

Cronenberg Excels

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — With the contribution of Viggo Mortensen whom he starred in A History of Violence heading a splendid cast, David Cronenberg has outdone all his previous efforts with the brilliant Eastern Promises.

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Nikolai meets Anna
This is one of two festival films in which Canada’s most risk-taking big budget producer, Robert Lantos, has a hand, the other being Fugitive Pieces, yet to be reviewed. More »

11 characters in search of perfect sex

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — Mark my words, you’re not going to see The Joy of Sex 101 when you watch Young People Fucking — nor even porn lite.

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Young people share an aftermath

Instead, director Martin Gero takes us through five one-night encounters between four couples and a trio. Their stories don’t intertwine but each is told in terms of: prelude, foreplay, sex, interlude, orgasm and afterglow. Without any linking narrative each episode takes its all its layers, in turn through the relevant experience with some very funny results that flow naturally from the characters they portray. More »

S & M played for laughs

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — Vancouver is the setting for Walk All Over Me, a city to which Alberta (Leslie Sobieski) flees from an abusive relationship. She looks up the only person she knows: Celene (Tricia Helfer) , a former baby sitter who is making a cozy living as a dominatrix and accepts Alberta with some misgivings. More »

A deadly duo in N.S.

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — Rural Nova Scotia is the setting for Just Buried, the tale of nerdy Oliver, played by Jay Baruchel, who after his estranged father’s funeral learns he has inherited the old man’s moribund funeral business, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

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Jay and Roberta: planning for more “business”

The funeral parlour has two employees, Roberta, a beautiful young mortician (Rose Byrne) and Henry the handyman (Graham Greene).

Finding Roberta attractive, Oliver takes her out to dinner, imbibes too freely and runs over a local curmudgeon out for his night walk. And so begins a chain of events that lead through another accidental killing to deliberately plotted murders, enriching the business and saving its sale to an unctuous rival, Wayne Snarr.

Jay’s transition from nerd to willing criminal is skilfully handled in performance, direction and writing. As with all good black comedy, the ending must contain a twist of fate, and Just Buried is no exception.

Written and directed by Chaz Thorne, who also co-wrote Poor Boy’s Game this is an exceptional Canadian excursion.