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The Best of Hot Docs


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A film about the thin space between life and death, this is the story of Neil Platt, whose perfectly ordinary, very happy existence was turned upside down when he developed ALS. Within one year Neil became paralysed from the neck down. As his body failed, he tried to make sense of his life and communicate in a letter meant for his one-year-old son.

"Among the year’s most moving films." Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter

"Alternately heartbreaking and disarmingly sardonic." Basil Tsiokos, Indiewire

(Le rêve de Marika)
Vancity Theatre Screening

With astonishing prescience (or luck) Bobbi Jo Hart started following aspiring pianist Marika Bournaki from the age of 12. She was already a prodigy, but over the course of a decade Hart was able capture her development as an artist (she has played Carnegie Hall several times) and as a person - as well as the toll her discipline took on her childhood and her family.

"A fascinating exercise… classical music abounds - Schumann, Rachmininoff, Bach - and it’s an aural delight." 3 stars Rick Groen, Globe & Mail

Vancity Theatre Screening

Summer war games between the neighbourhood kids turn deadly serious when jealousy and betrayal enter the mix, in this alternately hilarious and horrifying black comedy that mixes equal parts Lord of the Flies and Roald Dahl.

"Sharp, funny and edge-of-your-seat chilling, this darkly provocative actioner, starring a startlingly stellar all-kid ensemble cast, turns a neighbourhood woods game of Capture the Flag into a high-stakes round of no-holds-barred jungle warfare – with the rules about to be broken. The fantasy-tinged film nails the ferocious intensity of children’s games (the imaginary world feels real in the moment) while it plays with cinema conventions (coming-of-age stories, war tales, etc). An after-school special you won’t want to miss." 4 stars Globe & Mail

"I Declare War is everthing The Hunger Games attempts to be, but better - it says more with less, goes farther while staying smaller, and finds reality in a more fantastical scenario… A Lord Of The Flies for a new generation, I Declare War deserves to be seen by adults and needs to be seen by kids. We don’t often get action films of any kind that have this much to say, much less films that are this delicately balanced between mainstream appeal and realistic intensity. Smart, touching, and exciting, I Declare War is sure to be one of your favorites of this year or next." Renn Brown, CHUD

Vancity Theatre Screening

It’s no secret: the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are working harder, longer hours for less reward (that is, if we’re lucky enough to be in work). Economist Robert Reich (President’s Clinton’s Secretary of Labor) explains why the free market is a misnomer, how late capitalism has jumped the tracks, and what we should do about it in this passionate, lucid and compelling state of the nation address.

"Smart, funny and articulate, Robert Reich is the university professor we all wish we’d had. He’s so accessible and entertaining he takes a subject that sounds soporific and makes it come alive like you wouldn’t believe in ’Inequality for All.’" Kenneth Turan, LA Times

"An often essential primer." Sam Adams, Time Out New York

Witches

Dario Argento’s follow up to 1977’s Suspiria is one of the most dazzling horror movies ever made. A poet in New York, Rose (Irene Miracle) becomes convinced that she is sharing living space with one of the mythical Three Mothers, the Mother of Darkness. Indeed, the further she explores the building, the darker things become. Logic itself seems to bend as the rational world gives way to supernatural fears, forebodings, and sudden, violent death.

"Inferno is a masterpiece of absolute film, perhaps the most underrated horror movie of the 1980s." Kim Newman, Nightmare Movies

In the tradition of Irish black comedies like In Bruges and The Guard, this was the first screenplay by playwright Mark O’Rowe, whose latest play, Terminus is being produced by Pi Theatre at Performance Works from Feb 28.

"Intermission kicks with sharp comic detail, great gab and top-notch character acting." Time Out

(Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto)
Italian Film Festival

The provocative Italian filmmaker Elio Petri’s most internationally acclaimed work is this remarkable, visceral, Oscar-winning thriller. It’s the Kafkaesque tale of a Roman police inspector (a commanding Gian Maria Volonté) investigating a heinous crime—which he himself committed. .

"A provocative political thriller that is as troubling today as when it came out in the 1970s." Kenneth Turan, LA Times

"The movie survives beautifully both as an elegant thriller and as a study of the twisted infantilism that shapes the fanatic heart." Ella Taylor, LA Weekly

"Its portrait of a loner and his lusts comes up frighteningly fresh, and the whole conceit would collapse without the muscular, rousing presence of Gian Maria Volonté in the central role. He, as much as Petri, hauls the movie into the realms of Kafka." Antony Lane, New Yorker

From Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated; Twist of Faith) comes The Invisible War, a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem-today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 19,000 violent sex crimes in the military in 2010. The Invisible War exposes the epidemic, breaking open one of the most under-reported stories of our generation.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100 % Fresh (57 reviews)

Vancity Theatre Screening

In this hit documentary, Italian journalists/filmmakers Ragazzi and Hofer wonder if those roads leading to Rome don’t also look like escape routes. There is an opportunity to move to Berlin - where rents are a third of the price, there’s less unemployment, and less homophobia too. Also Berlusconi doesn’t live there. Even so, Luca is loathe to leave. So they hop into a vintage FIAT 500 and set off to take stock of "the real Italy", with a pilgrimage to visit George Clooney’s Lake Como villa on the side.

"Effervescent." John Anderson, Variety

*** (3 stars out of 4) Rick Groen, Globe & Mail