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culture

NXNE 2014 Preview: Film

Still from Boyhood.

On the heels of Canadian Music Week’s surprisingly deep bench of screenings last month, NXNE has upped its ante in time for its 14th annual film program. Camping out in the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema for the course of the festival at large, NXNE Film has assembled a motley crew of music-related and concert titles. For the first time, it’s also branched out and scored some premieres from beyond that relatively narrow field, bringing in at least one title that would be a coup even for an alpha festival like TIFF, and attempting to position the fest—perhaps a bit prematurely—as the northern heir apparent to SXSW.


Boyhood

When: Saturday, June 14, 6 p.m.
Where: Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)

The pièce de résistance this year is surely Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s long-gestating and long-awaited semi-fictional biography of average kid Mason Jr., running from his early adolescence through to his 18th birthday. A major success at Sundance and Berlin (where it won the Silver Bear for Best Director), Boyhood is the kind of experiment you’d expect from the scrappy Texan filmmaker. Linklater reportedly started shooting when star Ellar Coltrane was just seven years old, and reassembled his small cast (including Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as his parents) for a few weeks each year, between other projects, such as his critically lauded Before trilogy.


The Voice of the Voiceless

Still from The Voice of the Voiceless.

When: Friday, June 13, 6 p.m.
Where: Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)

What most of the titles lack in star power, they try to make up for in conceptual gumption. One of the more promising selections in that regard is Maximón Monihan’s The Voice of the Voiceless, a Brechtian silent film about a young Central American deaf woman lured to Brooklyn and sold into the service of an international crime syndicate. The Artist it isn’t.


Let’s Ruin It With Babies

When: Sunday, June 15, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)

Ambitious in a more personal sort of way, Kestrin Pantera’s Let’s Ruin It with Babies stars the director (and professional cellist) and her real-life partner Jonathan Grubb as a couple with diverging views on whether to settle down and procreate or endlessly prolong their adolescence. We found it a bit twee, but it’s certainly the best film at NXNE to feature a mobile karaoke bar.


Riot on the Dance Floor

When: Friday, June 13, 9:30 p.m.
Where: Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)

Those seeking something a bit closer to the festival’s live offerings may wish to forgo some of these scripted films in favour of the Canadian premiere of Steve Tozzi’s documentary Riot on the Dance Floor, an oral history of City Gardens, the famed New Jersey club that gave a spotlight to artists as varied as Nine Inch Nails and New Order.


Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back

When: Sunday, June 15, 9:45 p.m.
Where: Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)

Quiet Riot fans—and we know there are a few—will want to take in Regina Russell’s Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back, a profile of the ‘80s hair metal band behind the memorably titled “Cum on Feel the Noize,” if only to catch drummer Frankie Banali in person.


At the Corner of Queen and Bathurst

When: Saturday, June 14, 3 p.m.
Where: Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)

Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention the local At the Corner of Queen and Bathurst. Steve Heretik’s profile of the Big Bop, the dearly departed brickwork all-ages venue that once played host to some of the luminaries of Toronto’s underground music community and now houses a CB2 outlet, promises some insight into the history of Queen West via its biography of the purple monstrosity. R.I.P. the Big Bop; long live gentrification.

  HIP HOP
PREVIEW
  POP and ROCK
PREVIEW
  ELECTRONIC
PREVIEW
  PUNK and METAL
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  COMEDY
PREVIEW

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