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 all you Inception heads can get your weed-addled minds blown again while a local critic gives you some stuff to ponder more seriously. Also: DJ Spooky remixes D.W. Griffith, and The Room is still very much in the house.
It’s always nice when a local critic takes a vested interest in Toronto’s local film culture. (Chris Alexander’s monthly Film School Confidential trash-stravaganza comes to mind.) Now Adam Nayman—a film critic for Metro and Eye, and regular contributor to Cinema Scope, Cineaste, and all manner of other cine-mags—is bringing his knowledge and enthusiasm to the Miles Nadal JCC (750 Spadina Avenue) for a more or less weekly lecture series, punnily dubbed New Wave Foreign Cinema Lectures in NAYMAN’s terms.
Each lecture will have Nayman exploring a different nation’s New Wave or (New Waves), bolstered by clips and discussion pertaining to a handful of films. Apart from essentially serving as a crash course in world cinema, Nayman’s lectures will serve to address questions of what exactly constitutes a “New Wave” in cinema, how long a nation can conceivably surf one, and how international film movements influence one another.
In his first lecture, going down Monday night at 6:00 p.m., Nayman will connect the German New Wave cinema of the 1970s (which birthed directors like Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders) to the more recent Berlin School of auteurs (Christian Petzold, Maren Ade, and others). Among others, Nayman plans to discuss Wenders’ The American Friend, Petzold’s Jerichow and Ade’s Everyone Else. For anyone interested in German cinema, Nayman’s lecture offers a film school education at second-run cinema prices.
Hollywood loves a blockbuster like this summer’s Inception. And it’s not just because it’s profitable to build you entire marketing campaign around the words “From the Director of The Dark Knight.” Inception is the kind of film that people end up seeing again and again, not just because it’s action set pieces are pretty darn interesting, but because it poses a bunch of stupid higher-level type questions that thusly inclined dorks will pay fourteen dollars to puzzle over again and again. How deep do they really go? How come the one guy can shape shift? Was the real inception an attempt to help Cobb deal with his guilt? What’s the point of the Michael Caine character again?
If you’re still banging your head against the wall trying to solve all the Inception-related problems you keep posing for yourself, now is your chance to put your mind at ease and maybe get a moment’s rest, as it has another run starting at 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday at The Bloor (506 Bloor Street West). It should be enough to hold you over until Inception comes out on Blu-ray and you can go through the film shot by shot to solve the mystery of what the hell everyone found so interesting about it in the first place.
The TIFF Bell Lightbox has really been nailing these live soundtrack-concert-movie-thingies, as anyone who checked out Do Make Say Think scoring Greed in October or Gabriel Thibaudeau scoring Metropolis last week can attest to. The last in this fall’s concert series—part of the larger Essential Cinema program—this week the Lightbox presents their strangest amalgam of music and film yet as turntablist DJ Spooky drops his science into the background of D.W. Griffith’s highly problematic Birth of a Nation.
While Griffith’s film is no doubt a valuable artifact of early cinema, it’s been widely criticized for its blatant racism, namely in its unblinking valorization of the Ku Klux Klan. DJ Spooky’s re-up, appropriately dubbed Rebirth of a Nation, puts Griffith’s images in a new context, one which seems to implicitly question the film’s image of the KKK as peace bringers to the southern United States in the wake of the Civil War. It’s also a nifty way to see what many consider a masterpiece of early cinema (despite its spurious take on U.S. history) without having to pay to see a film that’s pretty much out-and-out racist. DJ Spooky brings Rebirth of a Nation to the Lightbox (350 King Street West) for two shows at 8 p.m. this Tuesday and Wednesday.
And as we do pretty much every month—pressured by weighty moral and civic obligations—we’re back to tell you that, once again, The Room is in the house at The Royal (608 College Street West) at 11:30 p.m. on Friday night. We know you’ve all seen The Room a fajillion times, but there’s still so many balls in the air. Like is there any connection between the drugs Denny buys off Chris R. and the “shit” Mark smokes on the roof of the titular room? What happened to Claudette’s breast cancer scare? Who the hell orders a pizza that’s half Canadian bacon and pineapple, half artichoke and pesto, light on the cheese? Do people actually find Lisa beautiful, or is every other character, stuck as they are on the other side of Tommy Wiseau’s skewed looking glass, merely bewitched by her succubus-like allure?
The answers to all these questions (and less) await you in a little magical space we call The Room (because that’s what it’s called). But seriously, watching The Room all drunk and yelling at the screen so loudly that you drown out the audio track is a pretty great way to spend one Friday night a month. Just make sure to yell and scream and express yourself, whatever you do. Because if you don’t, Tommy Wiseau will wiggle into your apartment while you’re asleep on a pile of roses and wiggle his pockmarked hocks in your face.
Photos by Eugen Sakhnenko/Torontoist.