Movie Mondays: Around the World in a Bunch of Films
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Movie Mondays: Around the World in a Bunch of Films

As a means of rounding up Toronto’s various cinematic goings-on each week, Movie Mondays compiles the best rep cinema and art house screenings, special presentations, lectures, and limited engagements.
This week, we’ve got movies from all around the globe. Like Argentina, and Iran. And best of all, our own backyard.

The Royal (608 College Street)

mm_royal.jpgWhen it premiered at Hot Docs last May, our own Kasandra Bracken aptly described Dish: Women, Waitressing & the Art of Service (2010) as “a quasi-feminist take on the world of diners, maitre d’s, and double-Ds.”
This doc from Maya Gallus tackles that final frontier of service serfdom: food service, examining the industry through the eyes of the waitress. But it’s not just the saucy counter help down at the local diner. Dish tracks waitresses across the globe, from Montreal and Toronto to Paris and Tokyo’s high concept “maid bars.” Gallus is interested as much in her subjects’ various gripes as she is examining the dynamics of gender and power as articulated through waitressing. The Royal serves up Dish this week, starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1.

The Underground (186 Spadina Avenue)

mm_underground.jpg The boys at The Underground cooked up a fairly novel solution to that age old problem of Canadians never going to see Canadian films. They let their audience pick the films.
For their forthcoming Good Canadian Cinema? series, the programmers at The Underground used Facebook and Twitter to suss out, first, if people would come to the theatre to see Canadian films, and second, which films they’d want to see. After passing around an online survey earlier this month, The Underground has landed on a list of films for the Good Canadian Cinema? program.
The results aren’t all that surprising. There’s some Cronenberg, some Egoyan, a bit of Bruce McDonald, and of course, The Kids in the Hall. The mix of genre fare (Cube, Pontypool, Porky’s) and critically lauded pictures (Last Night, The Sweet Hereafter) may seem like a safe bet. But considering the longstanding hesitancy Canadians seem to have toward their national cinema, screening the cream of the Canuck crop is likely the best way to get asses in the seats. Good Canadian Cinema? launches Thursday, December 2 at 7 p.m. with Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter (1997) and wraps at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 5 with Brain Candy (1996). So go see something Canadian. It’s your civic duty. Your tax dollars paid for these pictures, after all.

The Lightbox (350 King Street West)

mm_lightbox.jpg Anyone who was worried that Cinematheque Ontario’s move into the TIFF Bell Lightbox might result in a decline in arthouse programming in favour of imperatives to, well, run a profitable movie theatre can rest easy. Though banner programs like Essential Cinema and the Burton Blitz have been working to raise the profile of the Lightbox, December sees the Cinematheque back in action.
This week, a retrospective of the work of Jafar Panahi, a central figure of the Iranian New Wave, settles in at the Lightbox. Known for his plaintive, neorealist films, Panahi has proven a controversial figure within Iran, with his tendency for social critique frequently landing him in prison, preventing his travelling to Cannes in 2010 to serve on a jury. A petition for his release was signed by cinematic luminaries like Terrence Malick, Ang Lee, and Frederick Wiseman. Controversy aside, though, Panahi’s work speaks for itself, and this so-called Offside retrospective, the first comprehensive round-up of his work in Toronto, is yet another presentation the Lightbox can hang its hat on. The program starts Thursday, December 2 at 6:30 p.m. with The White Balloon (1995) .

Miles Nadal JCC (750 Spadina Avenue)

mm_misc.jpg Eye Weekly’s Adam Nayman is back at the JCC this week with his wonderfully named In Nayman’s Terms lecture series, continuing his trans-historical globetrot through the ever-ebbing-and-tiding New Waves of world cinema.
This week, Nayman defines his terms for New Argentine Cinema, a movement dating back as recently as the late 1990s, commonly associated with fresh-faced auteurs like Lucrecia Martel and Lisandro Alonso. Nayman will screen clips showcasing both these directors, drawing predominantly from Martel’s The Headless Woman and Alonso’s Los Muertos. He also promises to take the piss out of Juan José Campanella’s The Secret In Their Eyes, the 2009 Argentine thriller that proved a crossover hit in North America. The Argentine edition of New Wave Foreign Cinema Lectures In Nayman’s Terms begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 29.

Illustrations by Clayton Hanmer/Torontoist.