AAMA Reports From The 2016 Toronto International Film Festival

Nicholas Spillios, AAMA President

The president has been attending TIFF as a freelance reporter for several years. This year over 270 films were previewed covering a range of genres including aboriginal issues, racism, biopics, loss of children in India, journalism, miscegenation, and a return to the musical genre. Annotations of some of the more notable films are noted below and are due for release in the fall, winter, and spring. Check your local newspaper for dates. ENJOY!

CANADA – ABORIGINAL ISSUES

WE CAN’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE TWICE. This documentary reports on the filing of a human rights complaint charging the federal government with the lack of adequate services for Indigenous children. Shows that the program established to help the children actually prevented them from receiving benefits.

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

DENIAL. Questions whether the Holocaust actually occurred by documenting the trial of historian Deborah E. Lipstadt. She is sued for libel in Britain by Holocaust denier David Irving for her reporting that he lied. The argument by Deborah’s legal team is masterfully presented. We are mesmerised by the arguments, although we are aware of the outcome.

JACKIE. Traces Jackie Kennedy’s reaction to her husband’s assassination immediately after the event. Her survival in the wake of the aftermath brings a closer understanding of Jackie’s character and courage as she meets with us[porting staff, Bobby and her priest and attempts to preserve her husband’s name and her personal. Decisions and moving the tale forward and backward. Natalie Portman gives a an emotionally charged and riveting performance.

LION. By focussing on loss of family and the search for identity, “Lion” becomes possibly one of the most inspiring and emotional multicultural films to be viewed in several years. Thousands of children are lost in India. Dev Patel from “Slumdog Millionaire” fame is the son who is adopted by a Tasmanian couple but can never forget the brother and the mother he left behind. His successful search via Google Earth makes for an engrossing tale. The film boasts some of the most compelling photographed scenes of India.

LOVING. A married interracial couple (Mildred/Richard Loving) are arrested in 1958 Virginia for breaking the state’s law which prevents such marriages from taking place. The case is finally ruled in their favour in 1967 by the Supreme Court. Inspiring and moving, the film succeeds in presenting the couple and the law in the context of the times.

A UNITED KINGDOM. Sometimes it takes film time to cover such social issues as miscegenation, This film covers the marriage of Seretse Khan, prince of Bechuanaland and Ruth Williams who married against all odds in London, 1947. Conflict erupts when South Africa, a neighbouring country which objects to an interracial couple leading a neighbouring country.

FAMILY

SING. With strong appeal to families, this animated treat makes a pitch for how music can bring us all together Animals are brought together to host the world’s greatest singing competition and show our differences Of course, the voices of Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon and Mathew McConaughey help considerably.

LITERACY – BLACK AMERICANS

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO. Black American writer James Baldwin focuses on those Black Americans including Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King whose legacies impacted heavily on race developments in the U.S. They are also the persons who most influenced Baldwin in his writing. Film footage on the Civil Rights and Black Power movements are shown as having relevance to Baldwin, particularly the assassination of Evers, Malcolm X, and King.

POWER OF THE PRESS

ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE: TRUTH, DECEPTION AND THE SPIRIT OF I.F. STONE. Journalist Stone became a model leader for others who wrote and reported outside the entrenched establishment. From the 50’s – 70’s Stone published a weekly newsletter in which he exposed government and corporate deception. According to Stone, journalists must begin by exposing how governments lie.

RETURN TO MUSICALS

LA LA LAND. Two young dreamers open up our memories of 40’s musicals with their ambitions. Energetic with a contemporary twist. A highlight of the film is a scene taking place on a Los Angeles freeway as the principals dance. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are the leads who are faced with their ambitions but whose relatioship interferes.

THE ROLLING STONES OLE OLE : A TRIP ACROSS LATIN AMERICA. Follows the Stones on their tour of Latin America. endingwith theirconcert in Cuba. Conflict erupts with their date in Cuba. Dates in Buebos Aires, Mexico City ending with Cuba where such an event was unprecedented in the history of the country. A rousing documentary with appeal to musical fans and seniors who remember.

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