JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Toronto Urban Film Festival - Travels (Guest Judge: Mark McKinney) - September 13, 2008

Toronto Urban Film Festival - Travels

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Urban Travels

9 Days
TO Roadie
One star
Hmmm, travelling the roadways from a cyclist’s perspective ends with a plea to “open doors carefully.” But if the peddlers drove the public byways like all other vehicles (excluding actual bike paths), there would be no “accidents.” What then of we helpless pedestrians who are frequently in danger of being run down by over-sized 2-wheelers that soundlessly infest the sidewalks? Can’t those cheesy bells be rung?

Bloor Viaduct
David Frankovich
Two stars
Abstraction indeed. Skip the program note and let the images fend for themselves.

Stan Krzyzanowski
Three and one-half stars
A car’s nocturnal journey conjures up a truly marvellous kaleidoscope of colour that’s compelling and invigorating at every turn—no matter the download speed.

Last Stop
Jessie Lam
Four stars
The plight of our littlest commuters is effectively animated as the “Fitchie” bus rocks and reels towards its final destination. By journey’s end, the backpack warrior has seized her prize only to share it alone. Ain’t life just like that? Talented work, ably presented.

Me and My Bicycle
Lucas Cheong
Three and one-half stars
As the adage says, “What goes around comes around.” Despite hi-tech locks, bikes are easy to steal (so are cars, but that’s in the financial section—not the human-interest column). And so we see our hero’s main ride pilfered; in turn, he cops a baby bike. Only the soles of his shoes remain on offer: I’ll give you 2 to 1.

Rainy Day
Andres Victorero Rey
Two stars
A black-and-white deluge of drops and destroyed umbrellas from Spain only serves to remind those of us in the New World how lucky we are. Er, hello Ike, Hanah, Katrina ….

Ramblers:  Halifax Synchronized Bike Team
Rebecca Singer
Two and one-half stars
Two quartets of avid cyclists on the streets of wintry Halifax? What could be more fun?

Subway Fantasy
Jonathan Robbins
Three stars
Another misadventure on the TTC subway merely wets the appetite for the X-rated version.

Christopher Ernst and Geoffrey Alan Rhodes
Two and one-half stars
Inner belly buttons, toy and real trains make this black-and-white journey a textbook case for psychoanalysts everywhere. The only thing missing was the “train in the tunnel” metaphor.

Bryan Gotro
One-half star
“Burn me the money” with a trio of walkers marching idly by.

We Took the Gardiner
Rachel Conduit
Three stars
Cyclists where they belong: black, white and grey. The joy of the collective moving as one. Most certainly not Queen Street West during rush hour. Like all of these films, individual movement abounds, yet no potential solutions or remedies are offered. How “Toronto” is that? JWR

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