11/30/2004 11:57:35 AM|||arts_guy|||
There's an old journalism adage. One is a fluke, two is a coincidence and three is a full-blown trend. Last year horror film director George Romero directed a remake of his very own Dawn of the Dead, starring lovely local Sarah Polley. The recently released Resident Evil: Apocalypse had Milla Jovovich blowing up city hall and raining chaos, mayhem and destruction on 'Racoon City.' Now Romero's back filming another "dead" movie, Land of the Dead.

There are plenty of reasons why you'd film a zombie film in Toronto: tax credits, experienced cast and crew, Toronto's ability to look like any city in the world or post-apocalyptic hellhole. But there are plenty of other intangible reasons why Toronto should be considered the zombie capital of the world.

1) Lack of sunlight gives us that lovely undead pallor. Have you seen us in February? Some of us look like we haven't seen direct sunlight for months, and guess what? we haven't! Save tons of money

2) Past experience. How many cities have real life experience with an honest to goodness biological epidemic. We all know that zombies aren't actually created by black magics but by insane scientists, and careless animal-rights activists! After SARS most Torontonians know the fear that a pandemic can unleash on the populace.

3) Multicultural populace! multicultural zombies! Brain-eating, bloodthirsty zombies are equal opportunity killers. It doesn't matter if you're black or white, rich or poor. So shouldn't the extras of a zombie film reflect this unifying message?
|||110183508299351815|||We want your braaaains12/04/2004 11:05 PM|||eviljelly|||Re: 3,
Now that you mention it, I don't it's a coincidence that Michael Jackson sang both "Thriller" (about zombies) and "Black and White (about racial tolerance).11/29/2004 01:16:27 PM|||arts_guy|||
Spent the entire weekend at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Fest. Like last year the sheer breadth of the fest makes one giant review rather silly. A few capsule reviews of some of the films I saw.

The Adventure of Iron Pussy:
Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul is better known for his Cannes prize winner Tropical Malady. So this campy cult homage to popular Thai film genres (spy, action, musicals, romance, all make an appearance) seems like a radical turn. Add the fact that co-director Michael Shaowanasai is fighting, singing and dancing in drag as the titular character for most of the film makes this a one-in-a-million film. The film draws heavily on Thai film iconography and convention so at times it felt like we were missing out on the jokes and the subtlety but the energy, humour and sheer fun of the film makes this a moot point. I dare you to find a film this campy and this much fun.

July, Secondary School and Moving: Tammy Cheung is a Canadian documentary maker now living in Hong Kong and over the last few years she's turned her camera on some of the hidden aspects of Hong Kong society. In Secondary School, she took her cameras into two of Hong Kong's elite public schools and unearthed the boredom and rigidity that is sapping the creativity out of Hong Kong's youth. Moving takes us to the other extreme into a housing estate that houses many of Hong Kong's poorer seniors. Using the fly-on-the wall, cinema verite style popularized by Frederick Wiseman, Cheung forsakes voicovers, narration and many other storytelling devices preferring to weave her images carefully together and allows us to make up our own minds. The approach is challenging for the audience but well worth it. Interestingly Cheung doesn't see herself as a social activist, yet her films seem to deal (whether she wants to or not) with social issues (education, the poor, the elderly) and sometimes even overtly political events like in her film July about the massive democracy protests that rocked the city last summer. And after speaking to Cheung yesterday I found someone who is quite political, willing to speak her mind and has a real social justice bent to her philosophy. Does this make her an activist?

I also saw more short films than I can shake a stick at. Some of the highlights:

O. Nathapon's gorgeous Bicycles and Radios, a first film no less! Keep an eye for his name in the future. Doan La's Dragon of Love is only the second film I've seen that shows a black-asian relationship (the first was Greg Pak's film Robot Stories). This happens more often than films would like us to think. La's film examines this with a witty blend of humour but nonetheless serious undertone of representation and race. I also can't forget the moving films of Luo Li and Ho Tam's experimental and slightly discomforting In the Dark, about the SARS epidemic.

I'm planning on chasing a few stories that came out of talking to people at Reel Asian, stay tuned.

|||110175356792048067|||Reel Asian update...11/24/2004 04:53:43 PM|||arts_guy|||
Or an asian film blog to be specific. I know that the last couple of posts have been about asian film but bear with me here.

The Reel Asian Film Fest starts tonight with a shorts programme. I'm personally looking forward to a few of the more eclectic films. Like a Thai spy spoof called the Adventures of Iron Pussy. I'm also ecstatic about seeing Cheuk Kwan's restaurant series. I always thought someone should do a huge project looking at the Chinese diaspora and look someone has!

If you're in Toronto go!
|||110133339614529305|||Trust me this isn't a film blog...11/23/2004 01:49:19 PM|||arts_guy|||
For all of those in the Toronto area:

Spacing Issue 3 "Work and Play" will be hitting the newsstands next month! I've got an article on public space and politics in Jakarta in the back of the mag. But there's tons of great stuff in there, check it out.

The details:
When: Thursday December 9
Where: El Mocambo (462 Spadina Ave. and Spadina and College)
How much: $10 cover, which includes a copy of new issue
As usual, Spacing will throw a big bash to launch our new issue on Thursday Dec. 9th, at Toronto's legendary El Mocambo. Show up anytime after 9pm. Musical guests are Reid Jamieson and Friends, and Audible. Also performing will be Dylan Studebaker, a punk rock street magician. We will be projecting large images captured by Spacing photographers. You can also win a subscription to Spacing by entering our raffle that night.

See you there!
|||110123233937290210|||Spacing #3 Launch Party11/10/2004 05:48:22 PM|||arts_guy|||
I've been working with these folks lately, doing PR work for the Toronto Chapter. Anyways, their very well written and insightful report on Canada's foreign relations was just recently launched. Download it here.
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