JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Alberta Spirit 1: The Longer Shorts (Directors: Kelly Zombor, Andy Price, Trevor Anderson, Mark G. Power) - October 7, 2012

Alberta Spirit 1: The Longer Shorts

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Reviewed at the 2012 Calgary International Film Festival
Three different approaches to the short form

Kelly Zombor, Andy Price, 2012
26 min.
Three stars

Let’s not be too hasty

Co-directors Kelly Zombor and Andy Price take a fanciful view of what our minds can talk us into, unhampered by knowledge of the facts. Long-time smoker Richard (Grant Linneberg uses his marvellously expressive visage to great effect) is convinced he’s got the big C and contemplates all manner of means to leave the planet on his own terms rather than waste away in some sort of nursing home then palliative care ward. All of the usual suspects (razor blade, carbon monoxide) pop into his imagination even as the divorced video editor ferries his young daughter to school and carousel rides. Finally acting on the notion of a heroin overdose to end his perceived misery, the plot takes a couple of welcome surprise turns as the white powder is purchased for a “friend.”

The film is well-executed and timely as thousands of our aging population must also be looking for a way out of institutional misery, but can’t quite rise above the lack of real pain and suffering that drives so many others to acts of despair. JWR

Cheekiness personified

The Man That Got Away
Trevor Anderson, 2012
25 min.
Three and one-half stars

A question of balance

With clear homage to Guy Maddin’s zany inventiveness (cross-reference below) the first three scenes of Trevor Anderson’s bio musical, Life of Jimmy, are engaging at every turn (peppered with jazz hands and alluring Pierre et Gilles seaman outfits), but the over-long darkside payoff to a note from Judy Garland spoils the punch and power of the last “act.” JWR

The smallest public venue in the world

Sacred Cinema
Mark G. Power, 2012
47 min.
Four stars

In praise of shared experience

Cinephiles will enjoy this travelogue of some of the world’s most distinctive movie houses, most of which still use 3-km long reels to project their celluloid art (of course the digital world will soon make seeing a “film” obsolete; ought we go to the pixels instead?).

Rear projection allows the 20-seat Nottingham venue to satisfy its devoted patrons. In Kilfee, Ireland a mobile cinema makes a stop for movie lovers. New Yorkers—weather permitting—savour rooftop screenings, while the Alamo Draughthouse Cinema (based in Austin, Texas with locations springing up in other states as well) vigorously enforces its “cinemagoing etiquette” rules even as BBQ favourites are quietly delivered to customers’ specially designed tables/seats. Big screen karaoke nights are also popular.

This road movie of a decidedly different sort reminds one and all just how powerful the shared experience of sitting in the dark with strangers can be. JWR

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Calgary International Film Festival
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