Path Alias: 

Whitey: United States of America vs James J Bulger

(2014, 107 mins, DCP)
Classification: 19+


Oscar-nominated director Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost; Some Kind of Monster) strips away the myths surrounding Boston ex-mobster and FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger, getting past his mystique as the Robin Hood of South Boston. As Boston’s most notorious gangster, Bulger allegedly worked hand in hand with FBI agents, ratting out his rivals in exchange for protection. When his alliances fall apart he becomes a fugitive on the FBI’s most wanted list until he is caught in 2011.

With this past summer’s explosive trial as backdrop, filmmaker Joe Berlinger uses his unprecedented access to FBI agents, Massachusetts state police, victims, lawyers, gangsters, journalists and federal prosecutors to uncover shocking new allegations about Whitey’s criminal empire. In this powerful film Berlinger calls our notions of truth and justice into question. Hot Docs is honoured to welcome back two-time Emmy-winning filmmaker Berlinger, best known for his films Brother’s Keeper, Under African Skies, the Paradise Lost trilogy and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. (Heather Haynes)

"Like five seasons of The Wire distilled into one epic episode." — Globe and Mail

"A chilling, immediate true-crime story." — NOW magazine

FIFA World Cup Soccer Quarter Finals (FREE)

(130 mins)
Classification: All Ages



July 4, 9:00am: France vs Germany

July 4, 1:00pm: Brazil vs Colombia

July 5, 9:00am: Argentina vs Belgium

July 5, 1:00pm: Netherlands vs Costa Rica 

Me and You

(Io e te)
(2012, 103 mins, DCP)
In Italian with English subtitles
CAST Jacopo Olmo Antinori, Tea Flaco, Sonia Bergamasco
Classification: 19+
Screening in partnership with the Italian Film Festival


A master of the international epic, famed for the scale, ambition and sensuality of movies like The Last Emperor, 1900, The Sheltering Sky and The Conformistand a filmmaker whose Last Tango in Paris threw down the gauntlet for the representation of sex on screenBernardo Bertolucci returns to his native Italy, and to small, intimate but refreshingly innocent chamber piece in the heartfelt, self-effacing Me and You.

Lorenzo is a quirky 14-year-old loner. He plans to fulfill his teenage dream of happiness by hiding out in his apartment building’s abandoned cellar. To escape his overwrought parents, Lorenzo will tell them that he is going away on a ski trip with school friends. For an entire week, he will finally be able to avoid all conflicts and pressures to be a "normal" teenager.

He plans to live in perfect isolation with his horror and fantasy books. But an unexpected visit from his worldly older half-sister Olivia changes everything. Their emotional time together will inspire Lorenzo to come to terms with the challenge of casting aside his disguise of troubled youth and prepare to soon be thrown into the chaotic game of adult life.

"Bertolucci’s witty, potent little film showed Cannes that he is still a force to be reckoned with."Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

"A masterclass in small-scale filmmaking."Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

(2013, 98 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
CAST Jesus Sanchez-Velez, Andrea Suarez Paz, Azul Rodriguez, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Marsha Stephanie Blake
Classification: 19+


Jul 30 08:20 pm
Jul 31 06:30 pm
Aug 01 08:30 pm

Ricky, an autistic 13-year-old, embarks on an underground odyssey that would give Orpheus pause: 11 days patiently lost on New York’s subway system, idly drifting through its labyrinthine tunnels and encountering the figures of urban mythology who ride these subterranean rails. Above ground, a frantic search is launched by his guilt-ridden mother (whose scolding may have driven Ricky away from their humble seaside home in Far Rockaway, Queens). With Hurricane Sandy lurking menacingly on the horizon, she has precious little time to locate her son.

Sam Fleischner’s suspenseful and fascinating drama has been celebrated by The New York Times’ Stephen Holden for delivering "as intense and indelible an immersion in the real New York as I have seen in a long time ... [The film is] completely, exhilaratingly alive." Furthermore, it represents an incredible example of artistic resourcefulness as Fleischner not only managed the practically impossible task of shooting guerrilla-style on the New York subway (releases were signed between stops), but also rolled with the devastation wrought by a natural disaster, masterfully incorporating it into his already fraught narrative.

"Wonderfully witty and understated ... A small miracle of a film."Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Fascinating and beautiful ... an impressionistic record of the subway experience circa exactly right now."Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

"An exceptional film ... richly textured and fully engaging."Amy Taubin, Art Forum

Stop Making Sense: 30th Anniversary Screening

(1984, 88 mins, DCP)
FEATURING Talking Heads


Universally acclaimed as one of the best concert films ever made, Stop Making Sense documents the groundbreaking Talking Heads at their peak and was directed by Jonathan Demme.

"One of the most exciting concert films ever."David Ansen, Newsweek

"The overwelming impression throughout Stop Making Sense is of enormous energy, of life being lived at a joyous high."Roger Ebert

"A dose of happiness from beginning to end. Stop Making Sense is close to perfection."Pauline Kael, New Yorker Magazine

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia

(2013, 83 mins, DCP)
CAST Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens, Tim Robbins, Robert Scheer
Classification: 19+


Jul 28 06:30 pm
Jul 30 06:30 pm
Jul 31 08:30 pm

Eternally opinionated, brilliantly funny and terminally political, Gore Vidal—novelist, essayist, polemicist, politician, pundit, screenwriter—was the true protean man. Born in 1925 into privilege, Vidal—openly homosexual from at least 1948, when his novel The City and the Pillar was published—fashioned a unique professional life that lasted more than 50 years. Using fascinating and apt archival footage from Vidal’s legendary on-air career and illuminating and entertaining interviews—including an exclusive with Vidal as he neared the end of his life, as well as one with the late Christopher Hitchens—Nicholas Wrathall’s intimate and occasionally rollicking portrait of an American icon also examines Vidal’s global impact on the worlds of arts, politics and everything in between.

"Immensely enjoyable… invigorating."Ernest Hardy, Village Voice

"Nicholas Wrathall’s treasure-trove documentary does a terrific job of summing up the late political writer’s life and work."Time Out New York

Lawrence & Holloman

(2013, 88 mins, DCP)
CAST Ben Cotton, Daniel Arnold, Katharine Isabelle, Amy Matysio
Classification: 19+
Filmmakers in attendance on opening night.
Supported by First Weekend Club.


Some guys have all the luck. Lawrence (Ben Cotton) is a salesman with few morals, no brains and a perpetual smile. As we first meet him he’s standing in an elevator, crowing with joy about his success on a department store sales floor. Behind him is Holloman (Daniel Arnold), a man considerably less than content with his life. He’s just chickened out of a suicide attempt—likely not for the first time—and, in the man before him, he sees everything he hates and envies. The two form a relationship that grows ever more twisted. Holloman has nothing to lose and Lawrence is a man who can lose everything and still face the world with an ear-to-ear grin.

If this sounds grim, don’t worry: it’s a comedy, albeit a very dark one. For all the outlandishness—and things do get pretty crazy—what we see rings scarily true to contemporary reality. Matthew Kowalchuk’s film—adapted from Morris Panych’s play—works on many levels: as wacky sketch comedy, as absurdist fable and, most pungently, as a satire on the modern rat race. Lawrence is the perfect citizen for a First World capitalist country: he’s hardworking, stupid, and oblivious to misfortune—including his own, when it comes. Ignorance is, indeed, bliss.

“Dark, twisted, and really very funny ... a multi-dimensional screamer. One of the events top flicks.”—The Province

Sagrada - The Mystery of Creation

(2012, 89 mins, DCP)
In German, Spanish, English with English subtitles


The “Sagrada Família” in Barcelona is a unique and fascinating building project by a brilliant, formerly controversial genius, Antoni Gaudí, with an army of workers, a history with many highs and lows and a myriad of questions raised. The biography of the edifice, which has been under construction since 1882 and is about half completed today, is the starting point for Stefan Haupt’s film.

Normally we see a cathedral or a church in its finished form, a witness of days long gone by. By contrast, the construction of the Sagrada Família is anything but complete. The edifice is still growing and evolving today as it has done for the past 125 years. Who was the man who designed this cathedral? What was his driving force? Who were his successors? Who are the people, i.e. the workers, craftsmen, artists and architects, who continue working on the Sagrada Família and who want to complete it? What is their driving force?

With the help of these people who are building the “cathedral” today, perhaps the last of its kind, this film investigates the motives that incite us humans to design and build such edifices.

The film is about their knowledge and experience, about the symbolism and the underlying cultural roots, and also about the creative act from intention to realization. Participants from a wide variety of backgrounds give insight into their work, describing their knowledge and experience. For example Etsuro Sotoo, the Japanese sculptor, a former Buddhist who converted to Catholicism, who has been working in the Sagrada Família for more than 30 years; Josep Subirachs, the highly controversial designer of the Passion façade, who calls himself an agnostic; Jordi Bonet, the chief architect, who is fighting on every possible front to get the Sagrada Família completed, as well as artisans and workers from various fields, such as Jaume Torreguitart, who describes the anonymous pride of all those workers who know that their name will never appear in the books about the Sagrada Família.

Inner and outer images interweave. In the hustle and bustle of this metropolis, the film approaches this mysterious cathedral persona, investigating the structural developments of the Sagrada Família and taking the time for breaks in order to look, hear, perceive, contemplate and reflect. Anna Huber, a reputed dancer from Switzerland, appears here and there during this discovery trip. Jordi Savall, the world-famous Catalan musician, conducts Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” which has occasionally been called “the cathedral of music”, reflecting on the ways of interpreting a work of art, be it based on a score or on an architectural plan.

Inspired by Gaudí’s vision, the film ultimately explores the fundamentally human search for the meaning of our existence, our origin and our goal, as well as the question of our human creativity and what we want to use it for.

Director’s Statement

Biographies, in whatever form, fascinate me. They confront me with my own story. Where does a particular person come from, where is he or she now, where is he or she going? Could their life have taken a different course? Do we create our own biography or does it take its own, pre-set course? These are questions about life and its meaning.

Just like human beings, buildings and artistic creations have their biography and their genesis: they have an origin, “parents”, a moment of creation and birth and then a life until they are accomplishedor destroyedwith a possible continuation in a modified form. These biographies are fascinating and moving too.

The focus of this film is the biography of the Sagada Família, the biography of a religious building which seems almost anachronistic in our times. A biography unfinished as yet, but which has already filled volumes.

I would like to tell this biography “from the core and from within”, taking as a starting point its roots, the everyday life of workers, sculptors and architects, as well as exploring topical issues and problems of the present. Slowly the outer history will build around it, encompassing the first sketches and historical building stages, today’s development stage, as well as the vision of the completed Sagrada Família.

"This film is more than a documentary, it tells the story using beautiful and quiet images of the transformation of ideas, talks of human endeavour for perfection and in so doing, illustrates that the essential meaning of this edifice lies in its creation process and not only in its completion.

This creative process is illustrated in varying perspectives from inside the incomplete church as well as the complex structure of the exterior parts of the church.

The film gives cause for self-reflection on how the past and present are related, portraying people and destinies involved in the construction of the church and ultimately proves that something incomplete also has its own significance."Jury citation, Erasmus Euro Media Awards

"Both exhaustive and astounding in its detective-like exploration of the history of the impossibly ornate Catalonian house of worship."Jackson Scarlett, 7x7SF

Special Advance Screening: 20,000 Days on Earth

(2014, 95 mins, DCP)


An inventive, lyrical ode to creativity, 20,000 Days On Earth features musician and cultural icon Nick Cave. Fusing drama and reality by weaving the journey of a fictional day in Cave’s life, the film is an intimate portrayal of the artistic process. 20,000 Days on Earth made its World Premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it was awarded both “Best Directing” and “Best Editing” Awards in the World Cinema Documentary category. It is the debut directorial feature film by visual artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard and is set to an original score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

“Incredible. Puts most music films to shame. So inventive and inspiring.”Dave Calhoun, Time Out

“Probably best music doc I’ve ever seen… so much more than music. Beautifully made”Wendy Mitchell, Screen International


(2013, 113 mins, DCP)
In Dutch
CAST Jan Bijvoet, Hadewych Minis, Jeroen Perceval
Classification: 19+


A dark suburban fable exploring the nature of evil in unexpected places, Borgman follows an enigmatic vagrant who enters the lives of an upper-class family and quickly unravels their carefully curated lifestyle.

Charming and mysterious, Camiel Borgman seems almost otherworldly, and it isn’t long before he has the wife, children and nanny under his spell in a calculated bid to take over their home life. However, his domestic assimilation takes a malevolent turn as his ultimate plan comes to bear, igniting a series of increasingly maddening and menacing events.

"Think Lynch meets Haneke in an absurdist flick that maintains its state of dread without fully tipping its hand. There’s humour, too, as twisted as a graveyard chuckle."—Toronto Star

"Caustic, surreal, creepy, and blackly funny ..."—Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

"In an era where there are very few truly surprising films, Borgman is one of the rare movies that manages to find something entirely new to say, with original, oddly drawn characters."—The Wrap