Hot Docs Daily: 15 Reasons to Live, Our Nixon, The Shebabs of Yarmouk
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Hot Docs Daily: 15 Reasons to Live, Our Nixon, The Shebabs of Yarmouk

Chimeras looks at the roots and contradictions in contemporary Chinese art

Chimeras looks at the roots and contradictions in contemporary Chinese art.

Day three of Hot Docs has some strong offerings for the first full weekend of the festival. Canadian favourite Alan Zweig turns his lens towards the philosophical, examining why despite all the trials and tribulations life is worth living in 15 Reasons to Live (3stars, 6:30 p.m., TIFF Bell Lightbox). Having previous looked at what drives people to collect records (Vinyl) or what it means to search for love (Loveable), now Zweig is inspired by essayist Ray Robertson. Though it falters structurally at times, it is a warm and affecting film that probes far deeper than Hallmark card sentimentality.

Penny Lane’s Our Nixon (3stars, 7 p.m., The Royal) tries for a new take on Tricky Dick, using found Super-8 footage shot by the president’s closest aides. It’s a neat idea, but those looking for sensational voyeurism and deep revelations alike will be disappointed. As an experiment in documentary form, however, it’s worth checking out.

Jumping across the globe, we land in Palestine with Axel Salvatori-Sinz’s The Shebabs of Yarmouk (3stars, 4 p.m., Scotiabank Theatre). An observational doc, this isn’t a crash course in Middle Eastern politics, but rather a portrait of daily life, struggles, and aspirations of Palestinians. Salvatori-Sinz captures the inherent contradictions of Palestinian life: having no country but being bound in place by bureaucracy and history.

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