Yes, it is me, back at the Atlantic Film Festival, due to popular demand and certain outdated extradition laws…
The media screenings actually began on Wednesday, so I have a bit of a head start on most folks. Now, as per previous years, a review embargo prevents me from talking in depth about many of the high profile films to be seen. The idea is the distributors want to save the ink (and the buzz, either good or bad) for when the picture gets its official release somewhere down the road, and whether they get that here in Halifax is neither here nor there. Films such as Shake Hands With The Devil, The Stone Angel and Poor Boy’s Game, are pretty much off limits. But, unlike previous years, I’m going to try really hard not to bitch about it. Much.
I can, however, dance around ‘em a bit:
Shake Hands With The Devil is going to have a tough fight getting an audience. Producer/screenwriter Michael Donovan told me as much himself… it’s a dark subject coming at a time when there’s been plenty of films about Rwanda already come and gone, not to mention a documentary (called, not coincidentally, Shake Hands With The Devil ) a couple of years old that took General Roméo Dallaire back to Rwanda to revisit the sites of the genocide. But, the gala here is sold out, and I think people will be touched by the film, maybe the ones who haven’t been exposed to the documentary or previous films (Hotel Rwanda, Shooting Dogs, One Sunday in Kigali) more than those who have. Rwanda certainly is beautiful.
I’m not a big consumer of Canlit, but I know Margaret Laurence has her supporters. Three weepie death scenes are a few too many for me, but boy, that Ellen Burstyn (as Hagar) sure can act.
Oh, and the currently Halifamous Chazz Thorne has impressed me with his talents, bringing to screen the most recognizably and unapologetically Halifax-centric feature film I’ve ever seen. And here I was thinking Canadian movies needed a little more grit…. Hah! Free advice: If Poor Boy’s Game isn’t sold out yet, don’t miss it.
I’ve also experienced my first technical glitch of the festival… the sound at The Stone Angel media screening vanished in the last three scenes. I really hope that doesn’t happen for paying customers… those misty-eyed Laurence fans will have their knives out.
Tonight it's about the music... a Gala with Buck, Blinkers... and a detour into Hip country.