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#HotDocs14: Ninth Batch of Reviews

May 2, 2014

By John Corrado

Hot Docs Poster

We have reached the final weekend of Hot Docs, and with that comes my ninth batch of capsule reviews.

Yesterday I shared my thoughts on the newly minted winner of the award for Best Canadian Feature Out of Mind, Out of Sight, along with I’ve Seen the Unicorn, Rich Hill and The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest.  Below are my thoughts on three films that I saw and enjoyed today, including the small gem Songs for Alexis.

Please come back tomorrow and the next day for my final two sets of capsule reviews, and you can continue following on Twitter for immediate thoughts on what I’m seeing.  As always, you can get more information on Hot Docs and purchase tickets for the weekend right here.  Enjoy!

Focus on Infinity: Why are we here and where did we come from?  Why is there something instead of nothing?  These are the profound questions behind director Joerg Burger’s Focus on Infinity, a European art house documentary that doesn’t try to provide answers, but instead allows different astronomers and physicists, including the emeritus director of the Vatican Observatory, to ponder these ideas from perspectives of both science and faith.  These big questions are matched with beautiful cinematography of various landscapes and research facilities, and Focus on Infinity is an often contemplative cinematic experience that is sure to provoke thoughtful debate from both sides.

Wednesday, April 30th – 7:00 PM @ Hart House Theatre
Thursday, May 1st – 10:30 AM @ Isabel Bader Theatre
Friday, May 2nd – 1:00 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Sunday, May 4th – 7:00 PM @ Hart House Theatre

The Boy From Geita: Adam is a young boy living in Tanzania, but because of his albinism, he is shunned by society and targeted by witch doctors who have tried to harvest his body parts.  His only hope lies in Canadian activist Peter Ash, who also happens to have albinism, who brings him to Vancouver for reconstructive surgery.  Canadian director Vic Sarin follows his subjects with compassion, showing their extreme hardships in sometimes excruciatingly brutal detail, but also ending The Boy From Geita on a more inspirational note.  Raising important awareness of the disturbing abuse that these people receive just for having the genetic condition, this is a heartbreaking and also humanizing film, that allows for a touching ray of hope.

Friday, April 25th – 8:00 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Sunday, April 27th 1:00 PM @ Scotiabank Theatre
Friday, May 2nd – 4:00 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Songs for Alexis: Ryan Cassata is a young transgender musician, performing at different LGBT events and writing songs for his bisexual girlfriend Alexis, who he fell in love with at summer camp.  Although Ryan lives with the love and support of his mother and two brothers, her parents don’t approve of their relationship, which puts added stress on their teenaged lives.  With a style that recalls Canadian singer Joel Plaskett, Ryan Cassata is an incredibly talented young musician, and his music provides a poignant soundtrack to this small gem.  Directed by Elvira Lind, Songs for Alexis is a beautifully intimate portrait of real life, that works as both a touching love story and a great music film.

Wednesday, April 30th – 9:45 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 4
Thursday, May 1st – 8:30 PM @ Scotiabank Theatre
Friday, May 2nd – 7:00 PM @ Scotiabank Theatre

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