Toronto Film Events

This Week in Film: The Maltese Falcon, Paris is Burning, Hairspray, Amelie, 8 1/2, Beware of a Holy Whore, Free Canadian Films, Men in Black, Roma, Brazil

This week in film rounds up the most noteworthy independent screenings and cinema-related events happening in Toronto.

MONDAY JUNE 27TH / THE MALTESE FALCON / BLOOR CINEMA / 9:10PM
The Maltese Falcon has been lauded as the first great classical example of a film noir picture, predating some other well-accepted examples such as Double Indemnity and The Big Sleep by a scant few years. A tricky genre to tamp down, the film features all the tropes recognizable in the genre; a particular type of antihero protagonist, a general sense of unease and misadventure, a beautiful, smart and dangerous dame and almost always, murder. This story has all that and more as it also stars Humphrey Bogart in the role that changed his career (just before Casablanca) forever! In this film he plays the hardboiled Sam Spade, a west coast private investigator who stumbles into one crime scene after another when he takes on a missing person case from a slick and perhaps untrustworthy woman, a woman he may be falling madly in love with. Tickets are $9 and can be bought at the cinema.

TUESDAY JUNE 28TH / PARIS IS BURNING & HAIRSPRAY / YONGE & DUNDAS SQUARE / 7:30PM
Yonge and Dundas Square kicks off its free movies for the summer with the Dancing in the City series with a Pride Week double bill beginning with the documentary that told a world about drag balls and how to vogue, Paris is Burning. When you're done being schooled, the night continues with a screening of the ORIGINAL John Waters version of Hairspray! While one authentically represents an important generation that changed the dance floor like no other, the other takes amazing liberties to show a generation as it could or should have been. There are no tickets, but be sure to arrive early or you will be stuck gawking and standing instead of sitting in a highly uncomfortable folding chair. My suggestion? Bring your own.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 29TH / AMELIE / BLOOR CINEMA / 7PM
Take one last look at the Bloor Cinema (for a few months at least) this week with a screening of Jeunet's contemporary classic, the whimsical Amelie. The young aforementioned Amelie is an unhappy waitress who discovers the most interesting kind of human magic, the ability to grant happiness to others and her goodwill spreads like wildfire in this film as she touches those around her while still struggling to improve her own situation in life. While a sweet story all together, it's not nearly as saccharine as it seems when you realize the director is the fantastical visionary behind Delicatessan and Micmacs. Tickets are $9 and can be bought at the cinema.

THURSDAY JUNE 30TH / 8 1/2 & BEWARE OF A HOLY WHORE / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX / 6:30PM & 9:30PM
While the caption at TIFF.net reads "Frustrated directors waiting for things to happen in hotels" this double bill is just that and much more. The first double bill showcasing Fellini's ouevre in contrast to the work of other directors may perhaps be the most anticipated. First up is 8 1/2, Fellini's signature work, a partially autobiographical but completely robust story of a director with an artistic block on the set of his current film, as he runs through his emotional rolodex of all the prominent women in his life to find his story. In contrast to this work is Fassbinder's Beware of a Holy Whore, another film about the shooting of a film in which an egotistical film director's relationship with many of his cast and crew (of both genders) has the entire crew on edge, snarky and unproductive. Tickets can be purchased separately for $12 each or together as a double bill. NOTE: An earlier version of this post claimed that Atom Egoyan would lead a discussion of these two films, but that is not, in fact, the case. Apologies for the error.

FRIDAY JULY 1ST / FREE CANADA DAY FILMS / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX / ALL DAY
To celebrate our country's birthday, the TIFF Bell Lightbox has decided to present a few lauded Canadian staples for free (first come first served!) to fill the day. The day begins with a Mary Pickford documentary, The Muse of the Movies, continues with a collection of famous Canadian Shorts such as The Sweater, Log Driver's Waltz and The Cat Came Back, the true 70's Montreal experience found in C.R.A.Z.Y to the truly bizarre trip fest of Voulez-vous coucher avec God? But my suggestion above all? Head to the Lightbox later in the evening, skip fireworks if you must, to enjoy the horror film classic that is Black Christmas. If you ignore the remake from a few years ago, there is nothing quite like this true original slasher flick, featuring a group of squealing co-eds as they are slaughtered one by one at their sorority house. Tickets are free but be sure to get there early.

SATURDAY JULY 2ND / MEN IN BLACK / TORONTO UNDERGROUND CINEMA
Here come the Men in Black, galaxy defenders, Here come the Men in Black, they won't let you remember! Okay, so maybe you had to be of a certain age to really remember all the lyrics to that song, back when Will Smith had a spate of films where he was entrusted to sing and act and market all at the same time. Despite what you may think of the sequel and of the eventual third film in the now-deemed 'series,' there is something charming about watching the Fresh Prince freak out and blow up goopy aliens while a smug Tommy Lee Jones just enjoys the ride for most of the film. A popcorn movie done right, they certainly don't quite make em like they used to. Tickets are $8 and can be bought at the cinema, check website for screening times.

SUNDAY JULY 3RD / ROMA & BRAZIL / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX / 5PM & 8PM
While the previous Fellini double bill this week focused on the issues of narcissistic, over-sexed and egocentric male characters, Roma and Brazil are more about the collapse of a nation or a city as we know it. Roma showcases the inane fall of a society in a series of vignettes that are as stirring as they are mad. It's hard to discern whether Fellini is acting as a whimsical soothsayer contrasting the fall of historical Rome to contemporary Rome or whether he is just being fanciful and unbridled. On the other hand Brazil is about an already dystopic society and one man who as a result of an administration error, is flung into chaos, joins a rebel force and discovers an ambition inside him that propels him to make his dreams become reality, the exact kind of disturbance his world has been bracing against. Tickets can be purchased separately for $12 each or together as a double bill.

Still from the Maltese Falcon


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