Tag Archives: Sook Yin Lee

Cinema on the high Sees: How to save a village, a top Oscar candidate and a Churchill surprise

SOMEWHERE AT SEA: Yesterday was a beautiful day on the Atlantic ocean –warm, sunny, inviting — on the splendidly comfortable cruise ship called the Seabourn Sojourn. So naturally we spent most of it inside in the dark. But then, what else would you do on the 12th Floating Film Festival? On days when we’re at sea, we see three films. On days when we are in a port, we only screen two.

WHERE DO WE GO NOW at FFF 12

Yesterday was a three-film day, starting with a 9:30 am screening of Where Do We Go Now, a film by Caramel writer-director Nadine Labaki, about a group of Lebanese women who try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village. Selected by Floating Film Festival programmer Hannah Fisher, unfortunately sidelined at the last minute by foot surgery, Labaki’s film came to us with solid credentials, having already won Audience awards at film festivals in Oslo, San Sebastian and TIFF. It’s not hard to see why. Introduced by Cinefranco filmfest chief Marcelle Lean, the film is a bizarre, strangely engaging mix of pop music, death and destruction, and was very well received by our dedicated band of early-morning moviegoers.

FOOTNOTE: Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film

After lunch we screened our second film, Footnote, which came to us with even more dazzling credentials – it swept last year’s Israeli Oscars, picked up Best Screenplay at Cannes, and was cited as one of the top foreign language films by the National Board of Review – not to mention its nomination for Best Foreign Film at Sunday night’s Oscar giveaway. Writer-director Joseph Cedar creates a scenario in which a father and son are rival professors in Talmudic Studies. When both men learn that the father is about to be lauded for his work, their complicated alpha-male relationship gets even more complicated. What makes it particularly fascinating, for me at least, is the concept of self-sacrifice — as in , no good deed goes unpunished.

CHURCHILL: Unexpected champion of Israel

Before dinner we screened our third film of the day, a documentary originally made for television by Floating filmfest commander and filmmaker Barry Avrich (The Last Mogul, Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project) and one which is seldom seen on the big screen. An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill And The Jews is a powerful celluloid spin-off of a book by Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert, and details Churchill’s ultimate and unlikely obsession in becoming a supporter of Jewish causes — most notably being responsible for determining the future status of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. It’s an intriguing story, and one which both surprised and pleased Floating Film Festival patrons last night, and one which should intrigue American audiences when it premieres in the USA in May.

Today we are scheduled to see three more films: Darling Companion, from Big Chill director Larry Kasdan; Woody Harrelson’s controversial new drama Rampart; and Exporting Raymond, in which the creator of the hit TV series Everybody Loves Raymond goes to Moscow to try to help produce a Russian version for Soviet TV.  So, as we say in TV Land: Stay tuned.

DEFINITELY OVER THEIR HEADS: DNTO host Sook-Yin Lee and her guests take a dive in “over their heads” at a special live recording of CBC Radio One’s Definitely Not The Opera tonight at the Tranzac Club on Brunswick

LEE: over her head

Avenue in Toronto. Scheduled guests include Little Mosque on the Prairie creator Zarqa Nawaz, As It Happens host Carol Off, writer/performer James Gangl, comedian Ron Josol and writer-performer and motivational speaker Deborah Kimmett – all of whom will share real-life stories about how they found themselves truly in over their heads. Musical guests are Corin Raymond (crowd-funding his newest recording with Canadian Tire money donated by his fans!) and Montreal-based Little Scream. Admission is free. You can reserve a ticket by emailing CBCtorontocommunity@cbc.cawith DNTO in the subject heading … and in one of the most anticipated shows of their high-rated season, the Dragons leave their

OFF: Definitely Not

studio tonight to catch up with memorable entrepreneurs who once braved the Den. This special edition of Dragons’ Den promises to reveal what’s happened to your favourite pitchers, track down the most memorable disasters and catch up with some of the biggest success stories in the show’s history, tonight at 8 pm on CBC Television … and calling all Lighthouse fans! The band that am (and continues to be) plays tonight at Casino Nova Scotia, tomorrow night at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, Friday night at The Playhouse in Fredericton, Saturday night at the Imperial Theatre in Saint John NB, then on to Ontario to play March 9 at the Sound Academy in Toronto, March 10 at the Opera House in Orillia and April 4 at the Richmond Hill Arts Centre. And yes, they still meet with their fans in the lobby after the show. So catch ’em while you can!

*     *     *

TIFF kicks off Creation, Ms Falco goes back to the boards, and La Pitre reunites with Benny & Bjorn

MAD ABOUT MOVIES: Toronto’s 34th annual movie marathon officially opens tonight with at Roy Thomson Hall, but it really kicks off today at noon with

BETTANY: as Charles Darwin

BETTANY: as Charles Darwin

a screening of Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man at Yonge-Dundas Square. Other films unspooling before tonight’s opening Gala include director Lone Scherfig’s An Education, already provoking Oscar buzz for U.K. actress Carey Mulligan; the new documentary about legendary French film director Henri-Georges Clouzot, renowned for his suspense thrillers, and the film he was never able to finish; and Sook Yin Lee’s

FALCO: back on the boards

FALCO: back on the boards

Year Of The Carnivore, which is definitely not the opera. (Or Short Bus, for that matter. Tonight’s Gala opener is Creation, director Jon Amiel’s ambition exploration of the life and loves of Charles Darwin, with real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as the renowned scientist and his missus, as he begins to write On the Origin of Species, destined to become the most widely read book of natural science and one which will irrevocably change the world. For a sneak preview, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: Remember when L.A. was a cultural wasteland? Happily, things change. High-profile thesps set to star on L.A. Theatre Works stages this season include Ed Asner and Jonathan

ARKIN: on stage

ARKIN: on stage

Silverman in Once In A Lifetime; Kate Burton in The Constant Wife; Edie Falco in Side Man; Adam Arkin and JoBeth Williams in Dr. Cerberus; and Mark Ruffalo and Lauren Ambrose in Awake and Sing (even if Albert Schultz and Soulpepper beat them to it) … Nuala Fitzgerald is set to do one of her dazzling salon solos next month in Toronto to benefit the Actors’ Fund Of Canada. Her new show, Away With Words, is a pastiche of her favourite bon mots and brilliant passages from O’Casey, Yeats, Shaw, Joyce, John Lennon, Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash and even Spike Milligan. For tickets write edgarcowan@hotmail.com … and the

PITRE: trick or treat?

PITRE: trick or treat?

much-anticipated return of musical comedy showstopper Louise Pitre in Toxic Avenger: The Musical is currently set to premiere on Halloween, Saturday Oct. 31, at the newly-renovated (what, again?) Music Hall on the Danforth. Meanwhile, La Pitre will re-team with her Mamma Mia composers Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaes to headline a Broadway concert vetsion of their new ABBA musical Kristina on Sept. 23-24 at the Stern Auditorium in Manhattan.

Sounds like an extremely hot ticket to me.

A TREE GROWS IN TORONTO: It’s been invited to more than 50 film festivals and received 12 international awards from cities as diverse as Chicago, Taipei, Cairo, Mexico and Iran. This fall it’s invited to the Tel Aviv International Children’s Film Festival, the 7th Istanbul International Children’s Film Festival, the National Archives in Ottawa and the Tribeca Cinemas Kids Series. And chances are you’ve never even heard of it. A short film produced, written and directed by Toronto-based filmmaker Mitra Sen, The Peace Tree tells the story of two little girls, one Muslim and one Christian, who dream of celebrating each other’s festivals, Christmas and Eid, but have to overcome resistance from their parents before they can realize their dream.  Filmmaker Sen is currently working on a new project, Under The Same Sun, but since its release in 2005 her film has triggered the creation of Peace Trees in schools and gardens around the world. For more about The Peace Tree and the remarkable seeds it planted, click here.

TOMORROW:

more TIFF premieres, Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones

and the one-man renaissance of Cheistopher Plummer