In February 2020, Angels’ Atlas premiered onstage to rapturous reviews, but it soon became the National Ballet of Canada’s final show before the pandemic shutdown; fittingly, when the company returned in November 2021, this ballet was the first that was performed. Crystal Pite: Angels’ Atlas brilliantly captures crucial moments of the ballet’s rebirth, from tentative disbelief, to the joy of reunion, to intense rehearsal and refinement. The documentary is a remarkable record of the creative process; in the retrospective context of global loss, the project acquires a ghostly, prophetic quality. What occurs on stage is nothing short of extraordinary—the unearthly lighting, the evocative music, and especially the bodies of the dancers, straining and stricken in sorrow. In a bold decision, the performance of Angels’ Atlas is shown in its entirety in the second half of the film. Sublime, moving, cathartic in its pulsing grief and meditation on mortality and transience, this documentary is one of the most moving pieces of art to ever be captured on film.
Q&A Oct 2
Sunday October 09
More Films in this Series
Léo and Rémi's summertime adolescent friendship is scrutinized by their classmates, making Léo pull away in self-conscious fear. A stunningly lyrical tour de force that explores that explores the fragile nature of friendship and masculinity.
This sweeping dissection of systemic racism in Canadian hockey culture documents the personal stories of Black hockey players dealing with racism from fans, coaches, other players, and the institutional pressure to remain silent about their mistreatment.
Ryuichi Hiroki’s film tells the story of a woman who loves her mother but can’t muster the same feelings for her daughter. Shot through with the spirit of Greek tragedy, Hiroki creates a rich atmosphere of psychological danger.
In 2014 in Ukraine's Donbass region, Irka, who's seven months pregnant, and her partner Tolik face the dilemma of whether or not to flee the area. As the tense, haunting, and tragic film unfolds, the conflict threatens to tear them apart.
Before, Now & Then
Dreamlike, sensual, and intensely lyrical, Kamila Andini’s Indonesian 1960s period drama is a rare glimpse into the emotional life of a woman who escapes war and enters into the pampered existence of a passionless marriage.
When the first manned mission to Mars hits turbulence due to personality clashes amongst the crew, the higher-ups devise a bizarre solution involving a simulacrum and surrogates. As the deadpan absurdity escalates, Viking mines poignancy from folly.
A privileged housewife in 1968 Chicago finds herself at odds with the patriarchal medical establishment when she requires an abortion to save her life. A timely and relevant film about reproductive justice in the year that Roe v. Wade was overturned.
Steeped in the warmth of summer and the sweetness of peaches, Alcarràs tells the tale of a family in Catalonia suddenly faced with eviction from the land they’ve farmed for generations. A bittersweet tale of love and family in a last idyllic summer.
Crystal Pite: Angels' Atlas
This sublime documentary captures the National Ballet of Canada's rebirth through their staging of Angels' Atlas—their final show before the pandemic shutdown in 2020 and their first performance when the company returned in November 2021.
De Roller, the High Commissioner of French Polynesia, has a problem on his hands: the French Marines have arrived on the islands, and their presence coincides with rumours that nuclear testing is soon to commence. A lush and moody delight.
In her impressive directorial debut, Frances O'Connor plausibly imagines how a shy, demure preacher's daughter (played by the sensational Emma Mackey) might come to write something as bold and primal as Wuthering Heights.
Boy From Heaven
Adam, a young man studying at a leading religious institution in Egypt, becomes a pawn in the struggle between government spies and radical religious leaders. A shrewdly plotted thriller with a superbly expressive performance from Tawfeek Barhom.
In Mashhad, Iran, a serial killer known as The Spider has murdered over a dozen women. Rahimi, a journalist obsessed with finding the killer, soon finds a skewed social morality that praises the perpetrator and condemns his victims.
Barry Hughson, Karen Kain, Hope Muir
Photo by Luis Mora
Chelsea McMullan (they/their) is one of Canada’s leading filmmakers. They make documentary, experimental narrative, and hybrid films that explore the work of leading international artists. McMullan’s features, including My Prairie Home (2013), a musical documentary about the pioneering transgender musician Rae Spoon, have premiered at Sundance, Toronto, True/False, and other leading international festivals. They have directed episodes of the documentary series This is Pop (Netflix/Crave) and In the Making (CBC). McMullan has also made numerous short films about and in collaboration with international artists such as Eileen Myles, Zhang Huan, Isabelle Marant, and Ken Lum.
Filmography: My Prairie Home (2013); Michael Shannon Michael Shannon John (2015)