What to see today at Hot Docs.
We begin today’s mid-fest edition of our Hot Docs recommendation roundup with a selection that we’re actually yet to screen: Raymond De Felitta’s Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story. Although we can’t offer our first-hand impressions, we’re eagerly anticipating this evening’s international premiere (7:30 p.m., TIFF Bell Lightbox 2) because of the widespread praise the film has won since debuting at the recently concluded Tribeca Film Festival.
Booker’s Place explores the inflammatory legacy of a 1966 interview shot by De Felitta’s father, in which a black waiter named Booker Wright dared to voice the distress he suffered at the hands of prejudiced white patrons. Tragically, his hardships only intensified after the segment was broadcast; Wright was subjected to vicious retaliatory attacks and was eventually murdered. With Wright’s granddaughter, De Felitta revisits the Mississippi town in which the original interview was filmed to learn more about its subject’s fearless confession, and the role it played in bringing about his untimely death.
Sexy Baby (, 9 p.m., Bloor Hot Docs Cinema) is another film that arrives at Hot Docs via a successful Tribeca debut, but this time we can vouch for its quality directly. Featuring a former porn star, a young teacher prepping for labioplasty, and a teen compelled to post provocative snaps on Facebook, co-directors Ronna Gradus and Jill Bauer provide an eye-opening profile of a trio of Generation XXX-ers, young women whose social and self-perceptions have been profoundly—and perhaps problematically—shaped by omnipresent representations of sex and sexuality.
Indeed, it says much about the heavily gendered nature of those representations that Sexy Baby will be screening alongside The Final Member (), which also makes its Hot Docs bow tonight (9:45 p.m., The Royal Cinema). In this lighthearted look at the often-proud relationship between men and their penises, Canadian filmmakers Jonah Bekhor and Zack Math chronicle the attempts of Iceland’s Phallogical Museum to secure the ultimate curatorial coup: a human specimen. Eventually, two oddball candidates emerge, and The Final Member becomes a hilarious race to secure posthumous penile preservation.
For our full index of festival reviews, head over to our handy Hot Docs hub.