A festival I would definitely like to be able to check out is Rendezvous with Madness, which currently launches today, which is suitable because it’s World Mental Health Day. RWM is the only festival anyone knows of where the main subjects of films are addictions and mental illnesses. While films come around internationally, there is a certain amount of films by Canadian directors. Not many people get to see this kind of work which is an exciting opportunity. There’s lots of films being premiered and a lot of things going on at the event but here’s the top 5 selections to take a look at.
Conviction – The opening film to start things off, Conviction is a documentary that explores prisoners, specifically female prisoners, and how they seem to be the highest number in prison population. It’s certainly something different from those TV shows I watched as a kid. The filmmakers get into a female correctional facility located somewhere in Nova Scotia where they do more than ask questions, they also collaborate with the women inside and get them to connect on a more personal level and share their feelings about being incarcerated. A documentary that focuses on a rare subject done in an even more rare format, Conviction is definitely worth checking out for those who want to see what women in prison is really about, unlike several series on Netflix. This film will be screening 6:30PM tonight at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema.
Chaos – Another documentary about women, Chaos is about three Syrian women in separate cities. One currently lives in Damascus with a life of grief as her teenage son has passed. The second woman has escaped the traumatic lifestyle to somewhere in Sweden, where she calms herself by taking up painting, and the last woman is the director (portrayed by an actor) currently living in Vienna. Another great documentary to look out for which focuses on the lifestyle of Syrian women showing different perspectives from the same types of people, it’s a documentary that people are sure to learn a lot from. Chaos will be screening October 15, 7:00PM at AGO (Jackman Hall) on Dundas Street.
M – Yes, that’s what it’s called. Starring Menahem Lang, he tells the story of his troubled past in the Haredi Sect where several men in his community sexually abused him. Having left Bnei Brak years ago, Lang doesn’t really want to return but does so anyway in order to face the trauma he experienced as well as the corrupt community. Lang meets many of people who have all had this same problem. Probably one of the more darker concepts for a short film, it does sound pretty disturbing but it sheds some light on one of the biggest issues not only there, but around the world. M will be screening October 17, 7:00 PM at AGO.
Retrospekt (Retrospect) – Not every film in this festival is a documentary, there are some fictional works being featured as well. A narrator shares memories of Mette’s punk-rock and unorganized cluttered life. Working in support for people involved in domestic violence, Mette’s career and her family start careening out of control causing Mette to somehow end up in the hospital. Having no memory, Mette tries hard to recall what happened. But her flashbacks reveal some pretty frightening things. A pretty exciting and edgy sounding film, Retrospect is sure to be a lot of things in perspective and show an interesting inner look of mental health while being fictional. Retrospect will be screening October 19, 2:30 PM at Workman Arts Theatre.
Tale of the Sea – For the closing film of the festival, the audience gets treated to a very quiet simplistic film that pays tributes Iranian artists. Focusing on Taher Mohebi, he has troublesome hallucinations that make him want to stay at an institution he spent the last three years trying to get cured in. While it is another work of fiction, it can certainly deliver some real live feelings to the viewer even if there isn’t much to the plot. A truly dark ominous film that no one will want to miss, it’s sure to bring everything to nice relaxing close, even if the subject matter seems a bit overbearing. Tale of the Sea will be screening October 20, 6:00 PM at Workman Arts Theatre.
If that’s not enough, there’s also other interesting parts of the festival to check out as well such as Performance Arts. Some of the most highly interesting include Intangible Adorations which experience a strange anonymous person concealed within a suit who is secretly famous, In This House which is a live play about 4 adults who live together dealing with the struggles of depression and loneliness in a certain generation, Psychosis which is a dance routine that investigates mental health and promotes awareness through connecting with spirit, Making Mad which is a media/VR exhibit work from artists who use their vulnerability to express themselves and show how they can change, and Laughter Vs. The Universe, a comedy closing event featuring stand up comedians to lighten things up. But there’s lot to see for sure this year. Don’t believe me? Check out the site for all the programs going on.