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VFFOnline: Navigating Nobuhiko Ōbayashi’s Labyrinth of Cinema

8 Feb

Labyrinth of Cinema (2019) poster.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Streaming Online
at the Victoria Film Festival
Get your pass here.
All films begin Feb 5th, 2021

Note: Geo-locked to residents in British Columbia

Spoiler Alert

Nobuhiko Ōbayashi‘s Labyrinth of Cinema is not only a tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood but also an anti-war film. The many genres this era introduced helped define the shape of entertainment still to come, and its fondly honoured. We see a bit of everything in this film, from animation to comedy to sci-fi, and there’s even a splash of horror offered after a few musical moments. The best bits are with the romances, though.

The films of today are a lot more sophisticated in terms of realism. This filmmaker went old school to make this movie, and he wanted his performers to overact. They are in on the joke. He uses those techniques to emphasize why the modern (nuclear) age is terrible. The realism is just that, and the fiction is in technicolour. Unlike Ishirō Honda‘s intent in Gojira (1954), this work makes a different commentary about why going to war is bad (from the eyes of one side in the conflict). Also included is the fear of where humanity is headed–whether or not any future conflicts to come will destroy humanity. Ultimately, his goal is to show us why engaging in the art of war (and not in the Sun Tzu sense) is bad.

Ōbayashi makes use of humour to hammer in the point. He also broke a lot of rules from movie making 101 when he was in post-production, namely the editing of Labyrinth of Cinema. I was taught to avoid jump cuts in my newsroom videos, but he’s gratuitous in using this technique. The plot here is non-linear, and he purposely micro-budgeted the set design in some of this film’s best romantic moments to make it picturesque, like it’s from a painting. More green screen sets were used to distinguish the many realities explored. My guess is that the only proper place was a movie theatre and everything else was digitally created.

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VFFOnline: Opening the Doors to The Secret Garden (2020)

8 Feb

Image result for the secret garden 2020 where to watchBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Streaming Online
at the Victoria Film Festival
Get your pass here to view beginning Feb 5th, 2021

Note: Available to view for residents in British Columbia. Support local! Streaming on YouTube and available to purchase on Amazon Prime too.

The Secret Garden looks more like a secluded glen in this latest adaptation of the novel of the same name. No knowledge of Frances Hodgson Burnett‘s work is needed because this movie stays faithful to the outline. To give this movie a cinematic edge, a Harry Potter treatment was needed and this detail should be of no surprise when David Heyman is one of the producers.

Sadly, because of the pandemic, it never got a proper theatrical run. It wouldn’t have broken any box office records, but when considering the effort spent to scale up the beauty this garden represents, the investment lost is just that and hopefully its life in home video can make back the money spent.

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VFFOnline: Are We Doomed by Becoming an iHuman?

6 Feb

Image result for ihuman posterBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Streaming Online
at the Victoria Film Festival
Get your pass here to view beginning Feb 5th, 2021

Note: Available to view for residents in British Columbia

To become an iHuman is less about what applications can benefit from the use of artificial intelligence, but more on how that information is used. There are pros and cons, as everyone knows, to giving birth to a SkyNet from the movie Terminator. Is the human species doomed? Thankfully, not yet.

This documentary directed by Tonje Hessen Schei is very telling. It’s scary when considering it lists who is interested in making use of machine guided decisions. And it’s not with monitoring the habits of smartphone and computer users worldwide.

We already know about the ways Google and Facebook are using your data. The latter tracks your likes and dislikes. Even on Amazon’s mass marketplace, where you can buy anything (it’s not just about books), the website knows your tastes; when you flip to its video streaming service, the television programs you may not have heard of are on top of the recommended list!

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VFFOnline: What’s in the Jukebox? An American Dream Made in Quebec

6 Feb

Image result for Jukebox: The American Dream, Made in QuébecBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Streaming Online
at the Victoria Film Festival
Get your pass here to view beginning Feb 5th, 2021

Note: Available to view for residents in British Columbia

C’mon baby, let’s do the twist with Denis Pantis, the son of a Greek immigrant who took Montreal’s music scene by storm back in the 60s. His presence was everywhere. From producing to finding new talent, the names he discovered said something not only for the times but also for his pocketbook.

Jukebox: An American Dream Made in Quebec is a wicked look into the past, with a personality in its presentation to boot. Directors Éric Ruel and Guylaine Maroist expertly delves into Pantis’ influence throughout his many ventures, and although he never wanted to be a musician himself, he had the talent to promote others and turn hits from elsewhere into francophone delights.

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