JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Toronto Urban Film Festival - Natural (Programmer: Christina Battle) - September 17, 2009

Toronto Urban Film Festival - Natural

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So much natural creativity

Bug Spray
Kate Dorzinsky
Four and one-half stars

Seeing the ever-present threat of cosmetic pesticides from the little buggers’ point-of-view is refreshing and fun. Going to school on the deadly subject brings back memories of education before computers and DVDs. Well structured; the execution (real and perhaps avoided) was grand.

Intelligent Life and Animals
Zak Tatham
Two and one-half stars
Putting a covey of sea gulls and a lone German Shepherd in the limelight looks better in the description than viewing the result. With some of the lighting effects too hot for comfort, this creative thought doesn’t quite shine.

Picasso’s Tree
Maira Krastins
Five stars
Seeing the four seasons work their magic on Picasso’s Tree through Maira Krastins’ simply wonderful animation is a great joy. Life’s relentless, colourful cycle is lovingly depicted and engagingly shared.

Andres Victorero Rey
Three stars
Although the subject matter is roofing, anyone without that insight would likely call this piece Clouds (with a wee bit of construction crane tickling their fluffy bottoms). The time-lapse technique further reminds how much we miss seeing in our daily frantic lives.

Urban Jungle
Joe Pascale
Four stars
With Monty Python-like animation sprouting flora and fauna in and around Toronto’s harbour and downtown, these 60 seconds fly by in a marvellous moment of inventiveness. No, the big foot doesn’t stop the proceedings, but City Hall has never looked better!

Urban Salvation
Maayke Schurer
Four stars
This painstakingly woven work is filled with many layers, textures and moods. Repeat viewings are recommended: like so much Impressionist art, there is enough deliberate vagueness to allow the mind to find different levels of sensuousness and sensitivity depending entirely on the whim of the viewer. The swirling images move ever so musically, in time with the unheard score.

Ryan Hughes
Three stars
Sneakers in the snow, with a couple of de rigueur lacings; mostly legs and feet—a bit of hands, yet the swishing motion never stops. It’s an experiment in camera movement which—like CNE rides—is fun for a bit then ends too soon.

We See the Same Clouds
Stan Krzyzanowski
Four stars
Do you see what I see? Two cameras, a split screen and the same time-lapse-captured sky. Little wonder people describe the same objects or events differently. Point well made, shot and edited.

What Would You Do?
Sarah Alden
Four stars
Sarah Alden has had the great good fortune to stumble across a wide-winged butterfly that oozes vanity. After a few seconds of primping (no doubt alerted to the coming immortality of film by the camera’s whirr) the wings open in spectacular fashion. NBC’s peacock would be green with envy! Then a new meaning to the term “flappers”is faithfully recorded until—like a wise diva approaching the end of a storied career—the Queen of insects gracefully slips out of frame into wings of a different kind.

Where Is the Yellow?
John Shipman
Four and one-half stars
This singular hue—with the structure of a minuet and trio—flows, dances and reflows across the screen filled with warmth, texture and tone. John Shipman’s savvy sense of style and proportion come through beautifully. JWR

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