Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nu, another film festival? oy vey...


This city is packed with film festivals.  There's not only the famous Toronto International Film Festival, but there's also a horror film one (After Dark), a documentary one (Hot Docs), a gay and lesbian one (Inside Out), a French one (Cinéfranco) and, quite naturally, with Toronto having almost half of all jews in Canada, a Jewish Film Festival.  And me, always into things I haven't tried, especially when they come as a surprise (like finding about the festival thanks to a single poster on a bus stop on my way to work one morning).

The offer was truely staggering.  Old films, new films, films in Arabic, films in Hebrew, films in Yiddish, films from France, from Argentina, from Mexico, about love, fantasy, war, in the morning, afternoon and evening, all week long.   A choice had to be made.   And the four I chose were:

"A Matter of Size" (סיפור גדול)

This was the opening movie.  And it was quite an experience.  To start with, we had a performance by Toronto's sumo club.  Yes, a sumo club, right here in Toronto.   And with a female sumo wrestler.  A red-haired, Israeli, young female sumo wrestler.   How cool is that?   The film:  it was really nice, actually.   I didn't know what to expect, and I enjoyed the film thoroughly, a nice, light, well-made story about self-acceptance (on many levels) in a small Israeli town.  For what is life and all that surrounds it when you can't accept yourself?  Good.

"Eyes Wide Open" (עיניימ פקוחות) 

A love story between two Orthodox men.   One of them who's married and has children.  A strange window into far more aspects of their lives than you can guess at first.   Non-judgmental.   Sensible.  Loving.  And where homosexuality per se is not the problem, but the specific relationship taking place.   Eye-opening, and a valuable reminder not to judge people across the board based on stereotypes.

"Lebanon" (לבנון)

Wars are horrible affairs, does it need saying?   And beyond the horrors that innocent people caught in them go through, the people who find themselves following orders and committing destruction can't escape being victims themselves, as they become dehumanised, desensitised, or monsters in their own eyes.   Disturbing.

"Ajami" (עג'מי)  

And for the closing night, a tale of Palestinian arabs, Israeli arabs, and Israeli jews.   Well told, about identity, everyday strife, expectations, violence which, by nature, breeds violence...   A film that leaves you speech-less, thinking, and definitely fit to close a festival.

I'm really looking forward to next year's festival.  And if you can get hold of any of these movies, do.   

Sunday, May 02, 2010

awesome street jazz by Rambunctious @ Little Italy

look them up. will post a link to the video I shot soon.





Done!  Here's the link to the playlist with 5 short videos of this fun performance:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=F5D6EAFE567A95E3

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday afternoon @ Little Italy

famous Café Diplomatico...



a flower market...


...and a perfect and outstanding lemon sherbet at Dolce Gelato



Saturday, May 01, 2010

Toronto's Freedom Festival

Toronto gets ready to have downtown turn into "weedtown" for a day as locals celebrate at the Freedom Festival.
















- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone