Category: language





TIFF 2009The second installment of my film picks for happy viewing at Toronto International Film Festival 2009. Hurry and get tickets now, these shows are all this week of Sept. 14th, 2009!

Videocracy

Director: Erik Gandini
Country: Sweden
Year: 2009
Language: English, Italian
Runtime: 85 minutes
Format: Color/35mm

videocracy-toronto-international-film-festival-2009

Disinformationist and cultural watchdog director Erik Gandini, whose previous films include Surplus: Terrorized into Being Consumers (2003) and Gitmo – The New Rules of War (2005) that won the best documentary award at the Seattle International Film Festival, (sounds like my kind of guy) now brings us a film that explores the strange and astonishing world and influence of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – owner of the country’s television empire. The following synopsis explains:

“In a late evening of 1976, a local Italian television broadcasts a quiz where viewers at home have to answer questions. For each correct answer, a housewife takes off a garment and does a brief dance. The format is simple and very successful.

Unaware viewers did not know that the show was the beginning of a complete change on the way of doing television. A revolution that would forever change the entire Italian political system, changing the values and becoming a powerful instrument of government for the nation.”

As if that isn’t enough to get any reader of the CulturePin.com to make a date for this screening, here is a trailer:

PUBLIC SCREENINGS
Tuesday September 15
10:00PM
VARSITY 3

Thursday September 17
8:00PM
VARSITY 1

Saturday September 19
2:30PM
VARSITY 4

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Valhalla Rising

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Country: Denmark/United Kingdom
Year: 2009
Language: English
Runtime: 90 minutes
Format: Color/35mm

valhalla-rising-toronto-international-film-festival-2009

European director Nicolas Winding Refn is probably best known for the Pusher trilogy that migrated the gangster film genre to Copenhagen on an epic scale. His latest film Valhalla Rising tackles the Viking genre – typically heavy with mutton eating and battle axes gleaming in the reflection of the moon off of glaciers, he raises the roof high and takes us deeper inside the world of these powerful warriors who preceded Christopher Columbus arrival to North America by several hundred years.

From the programme:
“The film’s landscapes look so foreign and desolate that Valhalla Rising might as well have been shot on the moon.”

Looks like a lot of visual eye candy and excitement to me.

PUBLIC SCREENINGS
Tuesday September 15
4:00PM
WINTER GARDEN THEATRE

Saturday September 19
12:15PM
SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3

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Midnight Madness Programme 2009 – Pt. II

Solomon Kane

Director: Michael J. Bassett
Country: France/Czech Republic/United Kingdom
Year: 2009
Language: English
Runtime: 104 minutes
Format: Color/D-Cinema
Rating: 14A

solomon-kane-tiff-09
Continuing with our list of gory epic sagas started with Valhalla Rising, director Michael J. Bassett, whose previous films including Deathwatch (2002) and Wilderness (2006) – films that in hindsight appear to have prepared him for undertaking the famous pulp-fiction story of 16th century Puritan Solomon Kane, is shot in a gritty and irreverent manner invoking a return to high-spirited action and adventure. Interestingly enough it is part of the Midnight Madness programme which can only mean that the action and adventure quotient is high indeed.

PUBLIC SCREENINGS
Wednesday September 16
11:59PM
RYERSON

Thursday September 17
3:15PM
SCOTIABANK THEATRE 1

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Bitch Slap

Director: Rick Jacobson
Country: USA
Year: 2009
Language: English
Runtime: 104 minutes
Format: Color/35mm
Rating: 14A

bitch-slap-toronto-international-film-festival-2009-midnight-madness

Bitch Slap director Rick Jacobson has directed over 100 episodes of television including the series Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Baywatch. The movie is called Bitch Slap. If you are a fan of Russ Meyer’s big-boobie-desert-romps or Tarantino’s instatiable lust for grindhouse fare mixed with really really bad bluescreen, then what are you waiting for? It’s Midnight Madness, it’s happening now, get a ticket and get there. If any of the above sound offensive or abhorrent to you, then for goodness’ sake stay home and watch reruns of Friends.

PUBLIC SCREENINGS
Monday September 14
11:59PM
RYERSON

Wednesday September 16
3:15PM
SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3

Buy Tickets

If you get a chance to see any of these films, please let me know what you thought of it. Also I would love to hear any other film recommendations you may have by posting a comment on this article. Have a great TIFF 2009!


Last night my sister stopped over in Los Angeles en route to the Quechua village of Otovalo in Ecuador from Guangzhou in the Canton province of China and I strapped her down for an hour to ask her about her incredible crusade to study the textile trail for my podcast.

Vanessa is studying the semiotics of fashion in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she discovered the language of culture can be unzipped from the patterns found in textiles. From Chan Chan to Lake Titicaca in Peru to the mega-industrialized cities of Canton, there is a history of meaning woven into the very fabrics that under closer scrutiny reveals much about the culture. For example the pelicans find their way into Peruvian “mantas” – cloth used for everything from baby harnesses to satchels for carrying foodstuffs, because the behaviors of pelicans may reveal the stock of fish in a given body of water. The action of a certain animal running uphill may belie the coming of a storm. For these reasons, these systems of communication are transmitted in the images found in the weave.

The Inca Trailchina tower with cyclist
Machu Pichu, PeruQuechua indian and loom and Mastercard

Vanessa trekked four days up the Incan trail, not only laden with but constructed of a semi-precious green stone called Serpetina, to the mystic cloud city of Machu Pichu. She considered the flora and fauna along the way and how their colors and movements worked their way into the cloth.

At Lake Titicaca, the natives have created floating islands out of reeds where they have taken up permanent residence – powering their internet connection via solar panels. The implications of this are astounding and beyond the scope of this article. But consider what this means in light of a thing like the Principality of Sealand.

Although now some villages are using synthetic dyes and fibers, natural colors were created from insects to onions, from llama and alpaca wool – but now the global popularity of alpaca has forced prices to raise so high the the very natives who innovated use of the material can’t afford it.

A month later, Vanessa finds herself in Hong Kong en route to a tech convention in Guangzhou where the sky is, as she describes, a permanent ashen color from all the pollution to be found in the world’s central factory for technology. Nine-story high building filled with nothing but cell phone merchants bring on intense migraines and colossal skyscrapers – glass and steel wonders that put the best New York has to offer to shame follow the dictates of Feng Shui and yet these things remain virtually unknown and unseen by the Western world.



The Great Firewall of China has kept well-hidden the most heavily populated and among the most ancient cultures in the world and its accelerated modernization within the past ten years has led to extraordinary developments not only in tech but in street culture and ideas.

Textiles are made on looms and looms, which used punched cards to create the complex patterns used in textiles are essentially the precursor to today 8.9″ laptops, thus the patterns thereby created are miniature programs whose propriety belongs to those micro-cultures that developed them. To unlock these codes is to understand hidden knowledge about the world, language and development of a culture. In these times when thousands of unique languages are going extinct by the week, to learn to read these lines of code is to reveal much – to find the seeds for restoring their significance in the world.

I urge you to listen to this extraordinary interview with this designer on my podcast and explore further the possibilities and semiotics of fashion.

Listen to Episode 17 of the KeramCast – or subscribe at iTunes by searching for “KeramCast” in the podcast directory.