We originally planned to show AI WEIWEI, the documentary about the famous dissident Chinese artist, October 11, but a shipping mishap forced us to postpone. AI WEIWEI (pronounced Aye-Way-Way) will close out the Fall season of the Cape Breton Island Film Series this Thursday.
From the Boston Globe:
Remember Tank Man? The unknown Chinese protester who stalled a line of armored vehicles during the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square? What he was to those tanks, the artist-provocateur Ai Weiwei is to the entire Chinese government: a solitary figure who simply will not back down.
Alison Klayman’s documentary, AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY, is one of the most engagingly powerful movies of the year almost completely on the strength of Ai’s rumpled charisma and the confusion it creates in the bureaucratic mindset of the Chinese Communist Party. A big, burly bear of a man, with a caustic sense of humor behind deadpan eyes, he’s a culture jammer who began as an artist with political tendencies but has become an activist who happens to make art. The film captures the events of 2010 and early 2011, when Ai’s stubborn insistence on being heard — on the right of every Chinese man and woman to be heard — was gathering force and making him an icon both in China and internationally.
The artist had already stirred the pot before the 2008 Summer Olympics, when he designed the famous “Bird’s Nest” stadium in Beijing only to disparage the upcoming event itself as PRC propaganda. The May 2008 Sichuan earthquake radicalized him further, and when “Never Sorry” opens, Ai is completing his project to compile a list of more than 5,000 children who died in poorly constructed government schools. He posts the list on his blog; the government shuts it down. He turns to Twitter, wielding the app like an aphoristic rapier. When he travels to Chengdu to testify at the trial of a fellow activist the police break into his hotel room at night and beat him.
Here’s what makes Ai Weiwei different from other gadflies, though: He films everything. The video of the Chengdu attack is astonishing not for what we see — most of it takes place in the dark — but what we hear: the police at the door repeatedly demanding entrance and Ai just as repeatedly demanding to know why, for whom, by what right. A gathering at an outdoor restaurant later in the film is totalitarianism as farce, Ai’s videographer videotaping the cop who’s videotaping Ai. Every encounter with authority is charged with institutional menace on one side and on the other by a coolly comic certainty that’s awe-inspiring. The tools of state intimidation just don’t work with this man.
AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY plays one show only, 7 p.m., Thursday, DECEMBER 6, at the Empire Theatres Studio 10, 325 Prince St., Sydney. Tickets: $11; Students $7. All prices include HST.
A nurse, a paramedic, a gymnast, and her coach offer a service for hire: guerilla grief counseling. They stand in, by appointment, for dead people, hired by relatives, friends, or colleagues of the deceased seeking comfort in their loss.
The company is called Alps. Its leader, the paramedic, calls himself Mont Blanc. Although company members mostly adhere to the discipline demanded by their leader, the nurse is known to freelance.
The young Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos rocketed to fame three years ago when his third film, DOGTOOTH, won a top prize and Cannes and an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. Anyone who saw DOGTOOTH, writes Liam Lacey in the Globe and Mail, “will find ALPS familiar, in the sense that it’s completely strange.”
Whatever missteps he makes, Lanthimos, a difficult but undeniable talent, manages to pass quite near one of the essential conundrums of being human: How do we confront the lack in this world? – Village Voice
ALPS plays one show only, 7 p.m, Thursday, November 29, at the Empire Theatre, 325 Prince Street, Sydney. Tickets $11. Students: $7. All prices include HST.
Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel “Cosmopolis” has furnished David Cronenberg with a superbly written text set mostly in a stretch limo. The director has transformed it into an eccentric and beautiful-looking movie——a languid, deadpan, conceptualist joke. He matches DeLillo’s clipped dialoge with a style of filmmaking that is classically measured and calm, without an extra shot or cut.
The hero is one of those young capitalist predators who have been haunting American fiction (“The Bonfire of the Vanities,” “American Psycho”). Eric Michael Packer (Robert Pattinson) is a twenty-eight-year-old asset manager whose life is at once completely protected and utterly vulnerable.
He steps into his limo in the morning in a Gucci suit and dark glasses, and announces his intention to cross Manhattan for a haircut. But his progress through the city is impeded by the traffic-snarling appearance of the President.
In “Crash,” speed and recklessness behind the wheel kept the movie going, but this time life in a car has literally slowed to a crawl. Various people visit Eric, including two twerpy geniuses who stare at handheld devices and give investment counsel; an old lover (Juliette Binoche); a doctor who carries out a medical exam; and a pretty blonde (Sarah Gadon) who turns out to be Packer’s wife of 22 days.
Cosmopolis is the work of a master filmmaker determined to have us think about the ideas packed into the trunk of this limo bound for the furthest corners of the psyche. — Toronto Star
COSMOPOLIS plays one show only, 7 p.m., Thursday, November 22, at the Empire Theatre Studio 10, Sydney. Tickets $11; students $7. Prices include HST.