Arts Reporter Reviews – DOXA 2013


The DOXA Documentary Film Festival, sponsored by CiTR, is on now, running May 3-12, 2013.

If you for some crazy reason missed them, you can check out on air reviews of The Horse Palace and Joe Papp in Five Acts at the beginning of the Arts Report April 24, Fight Like Soldiers Die Like Children (May 11) on the Arts Report May 1 , and East Hastings Pharmacy on Stranded #105.

And below you’ll find, you lucky duck you, reviews of Occupy: the Movie  (pictured) which is powerful and screens May 11;  BackBone: Vancouver Experimental Cinema from 1967-1981 which requires a high vocabulary and screens May 12;  and Boredom, which screens May 4 but  is terrible.

Occupy: the Movie is a powerful exploration of the macro theory of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the individual lives and motivations swirling at the center. Local filmmaker Corey Ogilvie gets up close and personal with organizers, bystanders and philosophers to try to understand the movement and its ripples. It’s a moving introduction to the strange and horrendously powerful  role of finance and the police in the United States.  Even if you know the background and movement thoroughly, the heart and look of this film are worth the ticket. And the Q&A at the DOXA opening revealed much that couldn’t make it to the final cut: did you know more people switched to credit unions in the 2 months after Occupy Wall Street then the year previous?

This gorgeous film – and the filmmakers are easy on the eyes too –  has its last screening Saturday, May 11 at 9:15pm at the Cinematheque, rush tickets only!

BackBone: Vancouver Experimental Cinema from 1967-1981 has a self explanatory title.  It’s a look to the seeds of the experimental film scene in Vancouver (and beyond) which is further rooted in punk and surrealism. One filmmaker interviewee notes that the majority of the filmmakers in the community featured were “totally unencumbered by knowledge” – but this is not a state of mind in which to view the film. The insight from the artists and experts interviewed is theoretical – well spoken, interesting, relevant but understood best if one has a background in communication theory.

While there are excerpts of the films in question in BackBone, it is mostly a talking head documentary, albeit an engaging one. This means a documentary composed of interviews with artists and experts – the form doesn’t particularly reflect the subject matter. So if you see this film, on Sunday, May 12 at 4:45pm at the Cinematheque keep notes for wikipedia later – which I did and I HAVE a damn communication degree.

Boredom is boring. And not in an ironic, apt way. From the description you might expect something existential, something considering technology, or science, or perhaps something artistic. Instead this film borders on something you might see on the History Channel these days. This is the channel that programs Ancient Aliens, if that gives you context.

While there may be some element of parody intended, the effect is grating: loud, aggressive, and yet…still boring. One is puzzled that this director is “acclaimed.” One is puzzled that such an opportunity for art, education or perhaps even entertainment was so thoroughly missed. One is puzzled at this rare miss for DOXA.

Maegan Thomas is the co-host of the Arts Report, Weds 5pm. And she thought Boredom was completely unwatchable.