On Isa Willinger’s Hi A.I. and When Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

11 Feb

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Playing at Victoria Film Festival 2020
Feb 12 | 3:15 PM | SilverCity #3

Spoiler Alert

Isa Willinger‘s Hi A.I. is a bizarre and long documentary about attempting to replicate human behaviour. This filmmaker shows how they work in the modern world than science fiction. We all worry about something along the lines of Terminator ala Skynet or I, Robot will take a decade or two more to realize before coders can replicate how the brain works to create that level of uncertainty.

Thankfully, this film is not about the dangers of artificial intelligence. If we can ignore the aspect of trying to put the technology into a human body (it’s still creepy to look at no matter what), the possibilities are endless. We are not there for cognitive ability, but it’s fascinating to see where we are with it now. The creations on display here aren’t ghosts in the shell or a machine either. Gilbert Ryle explains cognizance quite well and reference to his work was brief.

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Flipping through Different Chapters in The Booksellers at Victoria Film Festival 2020

11 Feb

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Feb 13 | 5:30 PM | Parkside
* a limited amount of tickets is held at the door for purchase.

Hitting select theatres worldwide in March.

Bibliophiles are a unique lot, and I’m one of them. To understand what we represent is more than just about admiring a bunch of typeset paper with pictures slabbed in between two hard pieces of rectangular cardboard and reading it from time to time.

The Booksellers is a fascinating documentary. I belong to not only the comic book but also the antiquarian world. The discourse suggests how it influenced the arts. I can see how dada influenced hip hop, but surrealism?

Although the interviewers slips into tangents from time to time, the only thing missing is adding a bit of dialogue about sequential art. I’m certain we had a few seconds of the Yellow Kid (a reprint?) on a window display, but this subculture was not discussed at all. I did not expect any, though any note would have added to this documentary since collecting books is as synonymous as collecting autographed baseballs.

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[Victoria Film Festival 2020] Entering the Vast of the Night, A Movie Review

9 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Spoiler Alert

When much of the movie takes place in the Vast of the Night, the movie theatre (or your home video setup when it arrives to streaming) better be colour corrected to enjoy the picturesque nuances crafted by director Andrew Patterson and cinematographer M.I. Littin-Menz. Even the use of solid blacks for long moments of dialogue gives a sense of you’re listening to a radio play than a feature length film.

The technical work behind this micro budget film is nothing but short of brilliant. I suspect the cameraman used a drone to create a beautiful long tracking sequence which stretched from one end of a small town to another. The tale, without giving too much away, deals with themes common for the era it’s set in–fear of the cold war and a threat nobody expects.

We’re not talking about what’s happening south of the border either. In Cayuga, New Mexico, all seems normal. The two nerdy teens, a self-assured Everett (Jake Horowitz) who works at the radio station and a very gabby Fay (Sierra McCormick), a switchboard operator, are the focus. Both performers have a sweet chemistry as they try to figure out what’s going on in true Hitchcock fashion. They are very capable of solving the best crimes in ala Nancy Drew too. It’s easy for me to know the outcome because of my enjoyment of this sci-fi suspense genre, but these kids are in the dark until the adults they are in contact with reveal an unsettling truth. To know more, this review is split. Huge spoilers are coming.

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[Victoria Film Festival 2020] What Lurks Behind the Men’s Room is Music

7 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Feb 7 | 6:30 PM | Capitol 6
Feb 14 | 12:15 PM | The Vic

For Vi er Gutta (original title) or The Men’s Room is a sombre documentary about a men’s choir who don’t have much of a future for themselves. This movie length work by Petter Sommer and Jo Vemund Svendsen follows “The Male Choir,” a band of merry men who should be burdened with uncertainly. They are 40 somethings by my reckoning. Every Tuesday, they get together and sing the blues. It’s laced with references about women, whisky and wine one day, or that desire for rockstar fame in another. Ivar is their conductor. He helps the team fine tune their singing voice and honestly, they’re quite good. The music is therapy for them.

When they learn their lead has cancer, the plot is simple. Just how long does he have? They’ve been asked to open for Black Sabbath–no easy feat–and they better be on top of their game.

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