The Fog Rolls In

Thanks to Quebec’s robust film industry, Montreal makes regular appearances as itself on the big screen, unlike other Canadian cities, which usually suffer the indignity of standing in for American metropolises. But it’s rare to see a feature film which Montreal is treated as a central character and not just a backdrop. When you have […]

Posted in: Canada, Environment, Film by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment , ,

The Ethics of Urban Documentary

Vancouver is many things, but perhaps most of all it is Terminal City, a place to which people escape. Movie stars and Cantopop celebrities flee there to escape the stress of their lives in Hollywood and Hong Kong; the less affluent find in Vancouver a place to get away from the constraints and conventions of […]

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Now Showing: Hong Kong

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zxFOci7pg4[/youtube] Josh Kim’s 2006 short, The Police Box Where has Hong Kong gone? Once a world filmmaking capital, it has nearly vanished from the silver screen. Each year, far fewer feature films are made here than in cities such as Vancouver, Seoul and Tehran. What’s more, many recent Hong Kong movies, geared towards the lucrative […]

Half-Truths and Reflections on Home

[youtube]aY9BtROpNQ4[/youtube] If it hasn’t yet been made clear to my regular readers, I’m on the verge of moving to Hong Kong, maybe for only a year, but likely for much longer than that. What this means, of course, is that I’m going to leave Montreal. (I would take my beloved city with me, but the […]

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Up the Yangtze

[youtube]Q1fFuynf-Yw[/youtube] The night before last, as the remnants of a thunderstorm drizzled down on Bernard Street, I walked to the Outremont Theatre to see Yung Chang’s documentary Up the Yangtze for the second time. Seeing it again only confirmed that this is truly a remarkable film — and one of the best and most important […]

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Films de Mars

The Champ de Mars is one of Montreal’s most storied places. It derives its name from the French colonial era, when it was a military parade ground, but in the eighteenth century it was the site of the city’s northern wall. After the wall was torn down in the early nineteenth century, the Champ was […]

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Floating Through Kabul

[youtube]dv-xrhEa7lY[/youtube] Some cities ravaged by war slump into decline and desperation. Others rebound with as much vigour as before. Kabul seems to be the latter, which is not surprising considering its 3,000-year history as a crossroads of culture, commerce and empire. In this clip from documentary film Kabul Transit, the camera floats through the streets […]

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Je ne suis pas triste que vous partiez

[youtube]Cf_BkdyxYCk[/youtube] It turns out that I’ve been oblivious to some strange goings-on just two blocks from my apartment. Since last summer, a group of artists have been producing some interesting and inventive videos in a loft they call the Moment Factory, at the corner of Hutchison and Van Horne. Most interesting of all is their […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Film, Video by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment

Urbanism on the Big Screen in Two New Films

[youtube]pFNdQDBy2rY[/youtube] Director Gary Burns (Waydowntown) moves from fiction to documentary mode, teaming up with journalist Jim Brown to bring us Radiant City, a look at suburban sprawl from the point of view of a typical family living in a new tract development in Calgary, interspersed with commentary from the likes of Mark Kingwell and James […]

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Ten Minutes in Sarajevo

[youtube]ppAn0LNU_V8[/youtube] Images of war-torn cities are perversely fascinating. Grozny, Mogadishu, Kabul—they are hollow emblems of urbanity where people try to survive within the rubble of their own lives. Cities don’t simply die when they are torn apart by bombs and artillery; they transform into something battered and ghostly, something undead. Of course, this is all […]

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The City of a Thousand Leaves

Running across the boulevard Saint-Germain, through the Carrefour de l’Odéon, we dashed into the box office and bought our tickets, ducking into the darkened cinema just as the opening credits finished. We sat down in the back row, interrupting a clearly annoyed couple’s face-sucking session, and watched as the first short began: “Montmartre.” Paris, je […]

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Welcome to Schwartz’s

I was having coffee with a French immigrant recently and the conversation swung towards Schwartz’s. He recalled seeing a group of kids, on a class trip from somewhere else in Canada, lining up to eat there. “When I went on school trips in France it was always about going to castles or battlefields, ‘Napoleon did […]

Posted in: Film, Food, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf 12 Comments , ,

Savage Beauty

  Manufactured Landscapes follows Edward Burtynsky’s photographic exposition of unprecedented human transformation of the landscape. Edward Burtynsky’s China photos explore what has always been a veritable fount of intriguing images.  Recalling Antonioni’s 1972 Chung Guo China, which in a coolly detached manner examined the ordinary, everyday facet of a society that was nevertheless rife with political […]

Night of the Living Dead

The Cinéma Beaubien, which is, along with the Parc, one of the few remaining arthouses in Montreal. Photo by Antoine Rouleau On October 27th, like a zombie in a George Romero flick, the Cinéma du Parc will rise from the dead. The Parc closed early last August after seven years as Montreal’s premiere English arthouse, […]

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