Ben Hur Film Toronto

This Week in Rep Cinema: Rebel Without a Cause, Found Footage Festival, The Boy Mir, Rear Window

This Week in Rep Cinema features second run and classic film selections from cinemas such as The Fox, The Revue, The Royal, Toronto Underground Cinema, the Projection Booth, TIFF Bell Lightbox and more.

Canadian classic Goin' Down the Road receives its sequel in Down the Road Again at the Royal Cinema this week. The film catches up with one half of the duo who's going to bury the ashes of his old friend. Moneyball and Drive continue dominance over the rep cinemas and The Guard sneaks back up at the Revue! The Lars von Trier retrospective, Waiting for the End of the World opens this week at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (check back for a feature mid-week) before Melancholialands and the Icy Fire: The Hitchcock Blonde continues screening great films this week.

While not the first, Rebel is one of the most important American drama films of the post-war period, encapsulating the confusion, misdirection and angst felt by suburban teens towards their peers, their parents and themselves. James Dean is Jim, a new kid in town with not much to say. Arrested for public drunkenness early in his residency, it appears that he's going nowhere fast. Despite being a quiet talker, he somehow befriends Plato and Judy, the 'girlfriend' of one of the school bullies. The three of them form a bizarre sort of family unit together to make up for the dysfunctional family situations they each have. Dean died in a car crash a month before the film was released, leaving his best work to date, a great start to a young career and a performance that has since been preserved by the United States Library of Congress's National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online or at the cinema.


The Found Footage Festival can trace its origins back to a collection of discarded VHS tapes collected by two friends since the early '90. These videos were mined from garage sales, basements, warehouses and dumpsters. In 2004, the duo took the time to dig through over 1000 hours of footage for the funniest 90 minutes of entertainment they could muster and a new festival was born. They have two rules; the videos must be on physical format (no youtube) and it must be unintentionally hilarious. The festival was a wild success and they've been traveling across North America ever since. This week they'll be putting up their dukes against Found Magazine, another compendium of found items that comes out as a monthly magazine and in book format, in a battle royale of the best/worst found footage of all time. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance online or in person at the cinema, cash-only, 30 minutes before the screening.

If random VHS selections aren't your cup of tea, consider the Classic Film Series at Cineplex and take advantage of a little Ben-Hur. The film that is known as much for Heston's portrayal of the titular hero which involves a famous urban legend about Heston wearing a wrist watch in a scene and for being the most successful film of 1959, winning 11 Oscars, unheard of at the time and only matched since by Titanic and LOTR: Return of the King. Much of what we know about sword and sandal epics of the late fifties comes from this film as well as Spartacus and The 10 Commandments, all stories about strong men struggling with their freedom and spiritualism (some a bit more than others) but none resonated quite as strongly as Judah Ben-Hur. A rich Jewish merchant is betrayed by his former friend, a commanding officer of the Roman garrison, and is stripped of his titles and sold as a slave. The film follows his struggles to be a free man once more and the complications that he suffers along the way. Tickets are $5 and can be bought online or at the cinema.


A documentary 10 years in the making, The Boy Mir follows a young boy in Afghanistan through the occupation of peace-keeping forces, and watches as he grows from a charming and clever boy of eight to a skeptical and hardened adult at 18. In a country where the future is so uncertain, where life expectancy is roughly 44 years of age, Mir faces difficulties we can't even fathom, in one of the hardest places to grow up in the world. When director Phil Grabsky first filmed Mir, he was subsisting on water and bread with no possessions of any kind, and the team made sure to visit him at least every year to document his development. Mir struggles to maintain his schooling while working for his parents, having enough to eat, deciding his future so he can care for his family and, as most teenagers want, finding ways to have fun. After a successful run of the festival circuit, The Boy Mir plays at the Projection Booth daily until Tuesday November 15th. Tickets are $6 and can be purchased at the cinema.

With the opening of the Grace Kelly exhibit last weekend, this special screening of Rear Window promises to be the high point of the Icy Fire: The Hitchcock Blonde programme, tying in the two big events at the Lightbox this fall with gusto. TIFF CEO and Director Piers Handling will be presenting Rear Window and detailing how the film became one of Hitchcock's masterworks and how it established Grace Kelly as the quintessential 'Hitchcock Blonde' a role and a film that would be tied to her person for the rest of her career. For the newbies, Rear Window is a film about the trouble we can get into with too much time on our hands. A photojournalist with a broken leg is ministered to in his apartment by his patient and gorgeous girlfriend. Being housebound drives him a bit batty so he relieves his boredom by spying on his neighbours and speculating as to their comings and goings. It's all fun and games until he suspects one of them of murder. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online or at the cinema.


For Toronto movie showtimes, view our Movie Listings section.

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