toronto movie listings

This Week in Film: Holy Motors, Twilight Breaking Dawn 2, The Searchers, Warren Sonbert, Hitchcock, Reel Awareness, Darryl's Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival

This Week in Film rounds up noteworthy new releases in theatres, rep cinema and avant-garde screenings, festivals, and other special cinema-related events happening in Toronto.


Holy Motors (TIFF Bell Lightbox)

The wait for the year's best film to play in Toronto is finally over. Much has been made of Holy Motors' no holds barred Surrealist lunacy, but this is a film that is 'weird' with such singularity, and is so exhilaratingly cinematic that, really, it doesn't even matter what it means. But it clearly does mean many things, not least of which pertains to cinema and humanity's surrender to a non-analog world, as well as the extent to which we rely on an audience ('the beholder') for survival.

In spite of its melancholic core, director Leos Carax infuses every frame with pure joy: there are two ecstatic musical interludes, images that turn a fiery infrared before falling apart via datamosh, an actor, Denis Lavant, masterfully portraying no less than eleven characters, and so much more that needs to be experienced firsthand. Among the reactions to the film at the Cannes film festival last May, where it narrowly missed out on a Palme d'Or, one viewer drunkenly exclaimed "I want to ride it again right now!" Some days, one viewing just isn't enough.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (Varsity, Scotiabank)

I'll just echo what I said a year ago: "I'm sure not much really has to be said about this one; everyone who is going to see it already made that decision about [four] and a half years ago, so it was only a matter of getting to the release date with eyes and ears intact. For those who made it, the wait is over. And to get it out of the way (I sincerely hope this doesn't count for 'spoilers' these days)...Taylor Lautner removes his shirt as soon as possible in the first few minutes, lest anyone lose hold on the plot while anticipating the money shot. Show up late at your own risk."

Also opening this week:

  • Bobcaygeon (Bloor Hot Docs Cinema)
  • Citadel (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)
  • I Am Not a Rock Star (Bloor Hot Docs Cinema)
  • A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman (Cineplex Yonge & Dundas)


The Searchers [Digital] (Tuesday, November 20 at 6:30PM; TIFF Bell Lightbox)

When you have a chance to see a John Ford film on the big screen, you take it. And this isn't just any Ford film; it's the Ford film that just finished in seventh place on the 2012 Sight & Sound poll of the greatest films ever made. Like many of the films in this season's Hollywood Classics spotlight on recent restorations, it's screening from a digital print rather than 35mm, but you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference given how pristine the elements were in for this restored transfer. Maybe not my favourite western, but certainly the most iconic.

More rep cinema screenings this month:


Early Monthly Segments: Warren Sonbert Retrospective (November 15-17; AGO Jackman Hall)
"Beginning Thursday night, Toronto audiences will be gifted with a complete retrospective of the work of Warren Sonbert at Jackman Hall in the AGO. The seven-programme series arrives thanks to a successful crowd-sourcing effort organized by Early Monthly Segments (Toronto's most consistent and reliable purveyors of avant-garde cinema), and represents their most ambitious undertaking yet." Read our full preview of this exciting and rare retrospective here.

CINNSU SNEAK PREVIEW Double Bill: Hitchcock (2012) and Psycho (1960) (Monday, November 19 at 7PM; Innis Town Hall)

U of T's Cinema Studies Student Union have organized a very special treat for us Hitchcockaholics. To celebrate and promote the upcoming release of Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock, they're holding this free sneak preview that will be prefaced by The Master's psycho-horror classic, Psycho. The pairing isn't random either, as Gervasi's film details the making of Psycho in 1959, calling itself "a love story between influential filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville." Ticket availability is very limited, so if you'd like a ticket you'll need to swing by CINSSU's office (Room 107 at Innis Town Hall) anytime between 12PM and 4PM from now until November 19th.


Reel Awareness Film Festival (November 15-18; Carlton Cinema)
Amnesty International's Toronto Film Team has been producing the Reel Awareness Film Festival since 2006, making this their seventh festival. The Amnesty team is an enthusiastic group of activists and film lovers who work together to raise public awareness about human rights issues around the globe, and their mission is to inform, educate and engage audiences about these issues through film. Take a look at this year's line-up here; admission is Pay-What-You-Can at the door, with a suggested donation of $5.

Darryl's Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival (November 16-17; Projection Booth East)
I'm sitting here trying to come to grips with the idea that this festival has been around since 2000 and I am only just now learning about it. Darryl's Hard Liquor and Porn Film Festival began on Halloween in 2000 as a party in filmmaker Darryl Gold's bachelor apartment where he invited his friends to dress up and bring clips from their favorite porn movies. Now, twelve years later, DHLaPFF annually throws a party and screens 25-35 short films (very few are 'hardcore,' siding more with creative parodies, mockumentaries, music videos, animations, and live action shorts about sex or anything else naughty).

Since 2006 there's been a '69 Hour Film Challenge' where participating teams are given a list of 10 items and then have 69 hours to produce a finished film using at least of 3 items from the list. The best films are screened at the festival. Tickets range from $10 to $25 and can be purchased here; audience members are encouraged to dress up in porn star outfits.

Film still from Holy Motors

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