Tuesday, May 15, 2007

$2 and four hours well spent

(Canada Chronicles continued ...)

While walking with a friend on Sunday evening I noticed a building (which was closed) and wondered what was inside. Yesterday I went back to investigate and discovered it was the NFB (National Film Board of Canada).

When I asked the girl at the reception desk for information, she gave me a rundown of their offerings to the public. One of the things is a whole set of movies (in a range of genres) which are shown in a room with comfortable personal viewing stations. Pay $2 and you can watch your choice of movies all day long. When I heard that, I thought I would return the next day (today) and do a film-watching marathon ... but the woman offered me 15 free minutes to try it out ... and, after watching 2 short films, I thought "Why wait until tomorrow when I'm free now?"

So I paid $2 and stayed on for a few hours (they close at 7 p.m.), watching various experimental shorts, documentaries, animated shorts, etc. I will definitely be going back when I have time, as there are enough films to last for days (or possibly even weeks if you want to look at every single thing).

I saw quite a few good ones, but my three favourite were:

I'M SORRY (Director: MarkMcKinney)
(About 5 mins long) I found this one emotionally moving and thought provoking. "Is there anyone you owe an apology to?" Several people on the street were asked this question and subsequently described their 'incidents' and made their apologies to their loved ones on camera. It was simple and powerful. Apologies were made to an ex girlfriend, a grandmother, Jews/Blacks/the historically persecuted, parents, friends, etc. A great sense of release and closure seemed to come from each person through the camera/screen. The final one was a young girl who apologised to her mother for 'wrecking' their relationship, as they had once been the best of friends. When she was finished, the director (off camera) asked her:

"You think she'd accept the apology?"

Girl: Yes ...

Dir: You feel better saying it?

Girl: Yeah.

Dir: Good!

(I found that was good closure not only for the girl, but also for the other apologisers within the 5 min doc).


RYAN (13 mins 53 secs)
Dir: Chris Landreth
This was a very interestingly-done documentary on the animator Ryan Larkin. Rather than showing the real people talking, animated versions of them were used (the animation style eflecting the work of Larkin). This animation was mindblowing ... resulting in a quirkily beautiful yet tragic piece. Ryan Larkin was an Oscar nominee and one of the world's most celebrated animators. There came a time when he was living the results of gradual self-destruction and the worst nightmare of the artist ... losing the ability to create and provide for himself.


TWO SISTERS (1991, 10 min 26 sec)
Animated, experimental
This one was an intriguing story with simple, captivating animation. Two sisters, Viola Ge (accent on the 'e') and Marie are living in a dark house on an island. Viola writes novels in a dark room and her sister, Marie, fulfills her every need, whilst seemingly keeping her in an emotional prison. They are like recluses, living in a dark world of their own 'tenuous order'. One day a stranger (a man) swims over to the island, bursts into the house disrupting their 'tenuous order' and wants to see Viola Ge, as he has read every word of her books and is enthralled by her. Marie tries to dissuade him, but he eventually gets to Viola ... only to discover that she is disfigured ('a freak' according to the sister). To cut a short story short, he does not see her ugliness, she feels appreciated and autographs one of the novels for him: "To a stranger who sees me in sunlight ..." etc etc. In the end she tells him to leave, he swims off and she returns to her 'prison' with her sister.

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Anonymous Kelly said...

What an amazing find. And you just stumbled onto it? No way. You have angels.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Pearl said...

How wonderful. Even here NFB productions seem bearish to access. A lot of gems when you can get them.

9:49 AM  

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