This Week in Film: June 6th 2008

This week in film, Mongol , the Academy Award nominated film about the rise of a young Mongolian who would grow to become the feared Genghis Khan, finally reaches wide release this week. The German/Kazahkstanian/Russian/Mongolian film was well received at TIFF this past year and so far has been continuing to receive promising reviews. To find out why you should see a film that revises old stereotypes of the Mongolian war-lord and more, read after the break.

Sergei Bodrov cuts no corners in this epic film that follows the young Temudjin (later to be known as Genghis Khan) through painful ordeals as a child that would inspire and incite him to fight in an attempt to unite and conquer the Mongolian people. The film is able to seamlessly integrate stunning cinematography, rich and intense fighting scenes and extremely strong performances by Tadanobu Asano as Temudjin and newcomer, Mongolian actor Khulan Chuluun as the Khan's decisive and cunning wife Borte. Not once for a moment did this film feel its running time and indeed if this film becomes part of a trilogy, you can expect to see me at the next one. Mongol opens this weekend at the Varsity.

Monday night at the Bloor Cinema delivers Working Class Rock Star, a documentary following several bands as they try to make a living and break into the music business without falling below the poverty line. Just think, this is quite a poignant film to be screened only days before NXNE. In an interesting twist to the post-screening party, Working Class Rock Star will also be hosting a show after the film at the Annex Wreck Room, only a few steps from the Bloor, featuring performances by a few bands that were interviewed for the film.

More about music, the Royal is certainly smitten with a certain lady named Maria this Tuesday as they throw a Sound of Music singalong, just a week before the CBC debuts How Do You Solve a Problem Called Maria? Dress up as a von Trapp, a nun, a goatherd or any other favourite character and you just might win a prize. The hills come alive at 6:30 on Tuesday June 10th at the Royal Cinema.

The Cuban Film Festival begins this weekend, featuring a variety of recent and classic films from the tiny but mighty country. One I recommend highly would be Memories of Underdevelopment, about a man who decides to stay in Cuba through the revolution and is a significant window into what Cuba looked like at the time. For more information about the festival and their cause (Free the Five) check out their website.

Last but not least, Kung Fu Panda. Norm Wilner compared it to a Shaw Brothers film with all the goodness of a Pixar flick and I can't think of a better way to entice people to see the film or to end this weeks post.

Image: Temudjin from Mongol

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