There’s a film festival in Nashville and the Hollywood North Magazine was (virtually) invited. Here’s some of their Canuck offerings reviewed in capsule form:
Fanny: The Right to Rock (d. Bobbi Jo Hart)
Fresh off covering women’s soccer and tennis in her previous feature docs, Bobbi Jo Hart turns her lens on forgotten rock pioneers, Fanny. An all-girl rock ensemble formed in the late-60s, Fanny faced a long and difficult climb up the charts as they combatted industry sexism, a shifting line-up and closeted lesbianism that the world wasn’t ready for.
After a blazing first half covering the bands formation, rise and eventual break-up in 1975 (just as their highest charting single “Butter Boy” hit #29 on the chart), the doc shifts to the band’s reformation 40 years later as the near septuagenarians attempt to mount a comeback with a little help from their friends and grown-up children.
Fanny succeeds as a lovingly packaged love-letter to an unjustly forgotten chapter of music history and goes to show that neither gender roles, homophobia, ageism, nor physical ailment can stand in the way of a dream. Recommended.
In the Shadow of the Pines (d. Anne Koizumi)
Sometimes you stumble on a film that almost makes you feel like an intruder. Anne Koizumi’s heartfelt visual letter to her father is a clear healing mechanism for the filmmaker. A vehicle for saying what she was unable to in person. Utilizing appealing stop-motion animation and cunning documentary swipes, Pines manages to unpack a lot in under 8 minutes and its message will ring true across generations and cultures.
Immaculate Virtual (d. Ryley O’Byrne)
If future centuries are curious as to how a typical internet rabbit hole might go, Ryley O’Byrne’s one-woman experimental mind-fuck might make a helpful addition to the time capsule. As an offscreen user attempts to decipher the lines between real, virtual and desired reality, more questions than answers are raised in a glitch-ridden journey that tugs at your brainstem if not your heart-strings.
Given that our present reality is one this writer longs to escape, Immaculate Virtual and its deep-web trappings resonate more than it might have any other year.
9/10 (but can you really rate these things??)
All of the above films can be screened virtually at nashvillefilmfestival.org from Sept 30-Oct 6, 2021