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JULY 17, 2016  –  ISSUE 26
TheREVIEW
“He is not a lover who does not love forever.”
- Euripides
Guest curator
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CONnor Jessup
Actor. Director. Closet Monster. 
@connorjessup
In Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 1998 humanist fantasy masterpiece After Life, the recently deceased gather in a rundown waystation between worlds. Each character is given a task: to choose one memory from their lives – only one – to recreate on film and then relive over and over for all of eternity. The movie is a triumph of unsentimental observation, empathy, and melancholy, as a group of disparate strangers struggle to sift through their memories and somehow make a choice.

When I was asked to contribute to The Review, I felt a great, familiar laziness growling inside of me. Oh man, why did I agree to this? What am I going to write about? And who’s going to give two shits about anything I have to say?

So instead, I came up with a way to happily shirk responsibility. Inspired by After Life, I thought I would approach a very different group of lost souls – filmmakers, critics, programmers, producers, a cinematographer, and an editor – with a cheap riff on Kore-eda’s question: If you died today, and could keep only one frame from a film with you for all eternity, which image would you choose?

Their answers stretched across decades and genres, ranging from the obscure to the popular. Many wrote beautifully about their chosen image and cinema in general. I owe them all a beer.

In alphabetical order...
Cameron Bailey
A longtime programmer and critic, Cameron Bailey has been the Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival since 2008.
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Eternal frame: Daughters of the Dust, 1991, directed by Julie Dash

Why: “History, pain, pride and photography.”
Andrew Cividino
Writer/director Andrew Cividino followed up a number of successful short films with his widely-acclaimed debut feature Sleeping Giant, which premiered in Critic’s Week at Cannes last spring and also played at Munich, Karlovy Vary and many other festivals, including TIFF, where it won the “Best First Feature” award. 
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Eternal frame: , 1963, directed by Federico Fellini

Why: “I’m taking this frame from the opening dream sequence of Fellini’s with me when I go. Where am I going again, Connor? Into some great abyss, clutching nothing but a single film frame? This is such a sad game! Regardless, I’m choosing this frame because it inspires me. It reminds me of cinema’s ability to transport us to a state (that) we’re unable to access in our waking lives. When I’m out there in eternity with this one lonely frame, I’ll be pondering the power of dreams, of imagination, of the unconscious mind and I’ll be content.”
Josée Deshaies
Josée Deshaies is one of Canada’s most renowned cinematographers. A two-time César nominee, Josée has shot over 20 feature films, including Saint Laurent, House of Tolerance, Lamb and, most recently, Endorphine
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Eternal frame: The Color Of Pomegranates, 1969, directed by Sergei Parajanov

Why: “I take a real pleasure in watching opiate films. The ones where you are not sure whether you are dreaming or are awake. Under the Skin, Tropical Malady, The Flowers of Shanghai…  But you have to watch them in theatres. The Color of Pomegranates is probably the quintessence of this ravishing hypnotic state.

I saw a whole retrospective of S. Parajanov in Milan when I was a kid. This was really a ‘before and after’ experience. I slept through some of them (smile), but they kept on growing in my heart over the weeks and the years. Up to this day. Like a lullaby’s melody.

Those films should have a name. They are contrary to the terrorist films that take you emotionally hostage. They also are the complete opposite of boredom.”
Helen Du Toit
A producer and prolific programmer, Helen Du Toit is currently the Artistic Director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
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Eternal frame: After Life, 1998, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Note: In an homage to the concept of this survey, Helen decided to pick a frame from After Life itself.

Why: “Kore-eda’s After Life was playing in one of the small houses of the Carlton on a hot Toronto summer’s day in the late ‘90s. My cineaste pal Jonny Pray adored Kore-eda and had highly recommended the film, so I set off on my bike. 

The film forces its characters – and the audience – to review their lives, weighing various special moments before making a final decision. As I left the cinema, I was racking my memory for something extraordinary. While biking home through rush hour traffic, it suddenly occurred that I didn’t have the moment. I was in my mid 30s and I couldn’t recall a single sufficiently significant experience worth cherishing forever?! I was completely undone by the realization and wept all the way home. A few weeks later a moment suddenly came rushing back – and it was amazing. My existential crisis started to dissipate. 

Looking back, I realize that After Life was a paradigm shift for me: small but central. Thereafter I became more aware of the need to be really present when important moments are happening. To feel it fully, marvel at it and cherish it. I’ll be forever grateful to Kore-eda for that lesson.”
Stephen Dunn
Stephen Dunn’s debut feature Closet Monster (which I happen to be in – beware cross-promotion!) premiered at TIFF last fall, where it won the “Best Canadian Feature” prize. It has since played at BFI, Busan, Palm Springs and – no, this already feels too self-congratulatory. It is screening in major Canadian theatres as of this past Friday, July 17th. 
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Eternal frame: The Piano, 1993, directed by Jane Campion

Why: “The first image that got under my skin and made me want to be a filmmaker.”
Matthew Hannam
One of Canada’s most exciting editors, Matthew Hannam has cut – among many other projects – Enemy, Antiviral, Into the Forest and, most recently, festival favourites Swiss Army Man and James White.
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Eternal frame: Beau Travail, 1999, directed by Claire Denis

Why: “A cursory glance at the popular criticism makes me feel like I'm alone on this, but I always felt the glorious ending of Beau Travail was a glimpse at the afterlife. So, as I stand alone on this island of my own opinion, I'm going to keep this one frame* for eternity. I can't remember a more glorious moment at the cinema... Having been completely hypnotized by Denis Lavant's tortured Galoup for the film's duration – often inscrutable, always captivating – and then THAT ENDING! I have never left a movie feeling so excited about what movies can do. So for the sheer power of that experience, the inspiration of Claire Denis' filmmaking and the performance from a maniac genius... I'll take this one.”

*This decision is only binding upon an HD release of the film.
Connor Jessup
It’s just me.
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Eternal frame: Yi Yi: A One and a Two, 2000, directed by Edward Yang

Why: “I believe pretty strongly that everything you need to know about movies, and life, is contained somewhere within Yi Yi, Edward Yang’s massively human examination of a modern Taiwanese family. Confronted with eternity, I could easily sustain myself on the film’s wisdom, warmth and genuine affection for me and all people. I feel loved when I watch this movie, and what else could you ask for in the void? There are so many frames I could have chosen, but there’s something about the peaceful, elegiac elegance of this one, the balanced framing, the soft palette: everything's alright, you know?”
Ashley McKenzie
Based in Cape Breton, Ashley McKenzie has won attention for her four short films, the most recent of which, 4 Quarters, played at TIFF last year. She has just completed her first feature, Werewolf.
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Eternal frame: Tulpan, 2009, directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy

Why: “Aspiring shepherd Asa pulling a slimy baby lamb into the world. This live birth makes me cringe, cry and shudder with relief and awe. If eternity is dull, I’d revisit this frame to remember how great and visceral the beginning of things are.”
Adam Nayman
Toronto film critic extraordinaire Adam Nayman is a contributing editor for Cinema Scope and POV, and has written regularly for The Globe & Mail, The Grid, Sight & Sound and Reverse Shot, among many others. 
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Eternal frame: Taste Of Cherry, 1997, directed by Abbas Kiarostami

Why: “When I heard that Abbas Kiarostami had died, I immediately Google-searched an image from his 1997 Palme d'Or-winner Taste of Cherry: a shot of the protagonist's shadow cast over a construction site, a location which anticipates the character's plan to potentially commit suicide in an open grave. It's one of the great death-tinged frames in modern cinema, a metaphysical portrait evoking the old adage ‘dust to dust,’ and in the context of the director's passing, it took on a new resonance. I choose it for this survey not because it's morbid, or even because it's beautiful (though it is both of those things), but because it's universal – a single frame of film spacious enough that it contains us all.”
Kazik Radwanski
A key figure in the independent film scene in Toronto, Kazik Radwanski first achieved international recognition with a spree of successful short films, before the release of his acclaimed debut feature, Tower, in 2012. His second feature, How Heavy This Hammer, premiered at TIFF last fall and will screen at TIFF Bell Lightbox in August.
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Eternal frame: Stroszek, 1977, directed by Werner Herzog

Why: “I remember crying like a baby when I saw this on 35mm at the TIFF Cinematheque. In this shot, the infant is supporting itself because of a powerful grip reflex that everyone is born with. Shot in a premature ward with an actual doctor, this scene comes out of nowhere and catches you off-guard. It’s at once disturbing, but also incredibly touching. Herzog explained this moment to lead actor Bruno S. by saying, ‘I would like to have this in the film, even though the film doesn’t call for it. The feeling for humanity, dignity and the mystery of what we are needs to be in this film here.’”
Howie Shia
An illustrator, animator and filmmaker, Howie Shia’s most recent film, BAM – a modern reimagining of the Hercules myth – premiered at TIFF last year, and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Animated Short.
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Eternal frame: My Neighbor Totoro, 1988, directed by Hayao Miyazaki

Why: “I think if this was simply a desert island pick, I would have gone with something from In the Mood for Love (Maggie Cheung’s hand, gliding across the railing), or maybe the opening scene of Millennium Mambo. I would have picked something that kept me tethered to the world, to people, to some beautiful problem that I was desperate to get back to. 

Looking for a frame that takes you into the afterlife, however, one is freed from having to think about any future ambitions, focusing instead on what of the past you want to take with you. To that end, if I’m honest, the answer is probably going to have to be the umbrella scene from Totoro. It’s a bit of an obvious choice for an animator but, hey, I’m cashing out. Who do I have to impress? The scene is both funny and foreboding, urban and wild, sweet and existential, and every last person in my family loves it. Also, it ends with a giant catbus coming through and taking the Totoro away. As far as I’m concerned, that’s as good a way to go as any.”
Ashley Shields-Muir
A Toronto-based producer, Ashley Shields-Muir has worked on numerous television shows, including Falling Skies, Heroes Reborn and The Expanse. She is also, incidentally, my best friend and producing partner, and a true life-saving angel of competence.
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Eternal frame: Inside Out, 2015, directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen

Why:Inside Out managed to do in 102 minutes what science and psychology have been working towards for a 100 years: find a way to make us understand that it’s okay to feel broken. Among the most beautiful scenes in the film is when Joy gives all of Riley’s core memories to Sadness, knowing full well that it may cause the child some heartache. In this moment, a remarkable sense of clarity and gratitude came over me. It’s a feeling I try to keep with me, every day.”
Albert Shin
A Canadian-Korean writer, director and producer, Albert Shin’s second feature film, the Korean-language In Her Place, premiered at TIFF in 2014, and was subsequently nominated for seven Canadian Screen Awards. His most recent film as a producer, Igor Drljaca’s The Waiting Room, premiered at Locarno last year and recently screened at TIFF Bell Lightbox. 
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Eternal frame: Interiors, 1978, directed by Woody Allen

Why: “Here is a wholly contrived frame, with the placement of the actors almost as carefully considered as the muted colour palette. Everything, from the unblemished faces to Gordon Willis’ beautiful soft lighting, is too perfect to represent anything other than cinematic artifice. Yet still, rather than duplicitousness, all I feel is truth. Ultimately, that’s the power of cinema.”
What would your frame be?

This issue got all of us at The Review thinking about how we would answer Connor's question. If you're passionate about film (we suspect if you're reading this, you are) you probably have your own, very personal, answer.

So we put the question to you: If you died today, and could keep only one frame from a film with you for all eternity, which image would you choose?

TELL US WHAT FRAME YOU'D CHOOSE AND WHY.

We'll publish some of your answers in a future issue of The Review. 
 
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Issue 25 Curated by Baroness von Sketch Show
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A scene from "Dry Shampoo"
The women behind CBC's Baroness von Sketch Show reveal the secrets of what really goes on in the writing room of a comedy show and share some of their favourite funny ladies to follow on the internets. 

"All those hours writing, editing, and rehearsing were integral to the process of putting together BvSS, but so was fucking around on the internet. Whether unwinding at the end of a long day, procrastinating during writer's block, or searching for inspiration, everyone in the Baroness room had their own go-to time wasters online. We thought we'd share some of them with you."
Issue 24 Curated by Henry Faber
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A glimpse of our Virtual future courtesy SUPERHYPERCUBE
Is virtual reality the future of film? A passing fad? Or something else entirely? As TIFF launched our first POP installation (check out POP 03, coming August 19-21), co-curator Henry Faber told the story of how he got started — and almost stopped permanently — in VR. 

"With a myriad of platforms and high price tags, VR has a number of hurdles to overcome before it can reach mainstream acceptance. That’s why it’s critical to offer artist support and exhibitions that treat the works that are being created like the pieces of artistic expression that they are. With as close to what Wayne Campbell in Wayne’s World referred to as a “no-honk guarantee” as possible."
 
Issue 23 Curated by Maya Taylor
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Maya Taylor in Tangerine
Actor, singer and activist, Mya Taylor talks about her struggles, dreams and gender-equality in Hollywood.

"People see gender and race and they don’t really give you a chance when you’re outside of their element. I feel like it shouldn’t matter what race, or what gender you are. If you’re a chihuahua but you’re the right person to play Angelina Jolie in a story of her life, then the chihuahua should be the star. "
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