Wednesday, October 18, 2006


while driving around to go to the okanagan for the fall wine festival i was amazed and overjoyed to see all of the leaves changing to pretty colours. vancouver and the west coast is full of evergreens and beautiful fall foliage can be hard to find. clearly, this is not quebec or ontario.

i realized that i *missed* fall, with it's colours and crisp air. and then it hit me: i was missing it even more than usual because last year, i skipped fall! i was in asia and i had a continuous summer - i loved it and i regret none of it (and still dream of it) but somewhere, deep down, fall was overdue. call it being home sick or whatever. but seeing red, orange and yellow leafs everywhere has made cheered me up.

it feels right, and good. it's a beautiful time of year.

sun + grass

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Because that makes everything better

On the nuclear bomb test North Korea performed, North Korea's official Korea Central News Agency reported that the test used "indigenous wisdom and technology 100 per cent".

Are we really supposed to find this comforting?

Because last I've heard, "indigenous wisdom" is just an other expression used by a communist country to brainwash its people into thinking that they are a superior nation. And 100% technology is obviously needed to create a bomb and make it explode. I know that they want meant this as a way to show themselves are being responsible and in control - but heck, I think the rest of the world would be happier if they simply didn't have the bomb.

I don't know if it's just me, but I am very afraid of a nation that can train their countrymen and women into forming insanely straight lines and to become masters of the art/card arrangement. I mean, if they can do this, what can't they do?

[Picture of the Mass Games (Pyongyang) from Leef Smith.]

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Australia, 2006, 108 min, Color, 35mm
Directed By: Neil Armfield
EXEC PRODS: Andrew Mackie, Richard Payten, Michael Whyke, Terrence Yason
PRODS: Maragret Fink, Emile Sherman
SCR: Neil Armfield, Luke Davies
CAM: Garry Phillips
ED: Dany Cooper
MUS: Paul Charlier
Cast: Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush, Tony Martin, Noni Hazlehurst

The last movie that we went to see was Candy, an other movie which played in front of a packed house. With Heath Ledger as a protagonist, that didn't come as much of a surprise.

Candy is the love story between poet Dan (Ledger) and painter Candy (Cornish), a beautiful couple which appears to be living an idyllic love. But under the appearances, the couple is deeply addicted to heroin. As their addiction grow stronger, their life take a turn to the worst. Candy starts doing tricks for money and Dan starts stealing. And as any good junky, they hope to get clean...

Divided into three segments - Heaven, Earth and Hell - Candy shows us some of the darker sides of addiction. Interestingly though, it also shows us the power of love and throughout the movie, a certain beauty shines through. Candy is a strong and powerful film, but at often times I found myself having a difficult time truly connecting and feeling for the couple. Perhaps I simply wasn't in the right frame of mind...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

this is goodbye

i'll miss you

today, at 6pm, i will be putting my cat to sleep. she never recovered from her illness and has been suffering from ulcers, nausea, vomiting and anorexia for far too long. it has to end.

i know that it's the right thing to do but it certainly isn't the easy thing to do. it's sad, upsetting, frustrating and seems unfair. i don't want to let her go. i will miss her far too much. she's been one amazing cat to me.

lately i've been petting her a lot and telling her stories, set to the sound of her (unusual) quiet purrs. about how i got to have her, what she used to do as a kitten, and examples of how clever she could be. i've been talking to her a lot, telling her how i feel and how i will remember her. about how much i love her and how thankful i am that i got to spend 5 happy years with her. it seems though that no matter what i do or say, i feel like i should do more.

i might be quiet over the next few days, while i try to deal with this. she will leave a big empty hole in my life.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Un Dimanche à Kigali

Canada, 2006, 118 min, Color, 35mm
Directed By: Robert Favreau
PRODS: Lyse Lafontaine, Michael Mosca
SCR: Robert Favreau
CAM: Pierre Mignot
ED: Hélène Girard
MUS: Jorane
Cast: Luc Picard, Fatou N'Diaye

Un Dimanche à Kigali is a love story set in Rwanda in the spring of 1994. Bernard Valcourt (Luc Picard) is in Kigali, Rwanda's capital, filming a documentary on the state of AIDS in this country which refuses to acknowledge the disease. While staying at the Hôtel Des Milles Collines, a hotel favoured amongst expats, Valcourt falls in love with Gentille (Fatou N'Diaye), a beautiful Rwandan waitress.

During this time, tensions escalates in the country and the war (genocide) starts between the Utus and the Tutsis. Unable to get married, the couple gets separated while trying to escape the bloodshed and Valcourt gets stranded at the border, unable to extend his protection due to his foreigner status to Gentille. After a few frustating months, he return to Rwanda try to find Gentille. But with Gentille being from both Utu and Tutsi parents, her chance of having survived the war are very slim.

The movie is poignant and graphic, but I found it hard to really get into. I found that the dialog seemed artificial at points: it seemed more fit for writing than for every day speech. Some characters felt flat and I had a hard time really caring for the characters. This movie could have easily been a tear jerker but all of these little things made me not fully get into the story. By comparison, I enjoyed Hotel Rwanda a lot more and felt that the performances in that movie were a lot more powerful.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


USA, 2006, 102 min, Color, 35mm
Directed By: John Cameron Mitchell
EXEC PRODS: Michael J. Werner, Wouter Barendrecht
PRODS: Howard Gertler, Tim Perell, John Cameron Mitchell
SCR: John Cameron Mitchell
CAM: Frank G. DeMarco
ED: Brian A. Kates
MUS: Yo La Tengo
Cast: Sook-Yin Lee, Paul Dawson, Lindsay Beamish, PJ DeBoy, Raphael Barker

On Saturday night we went to see Shortbus, which played in front of a seriously packed house. The saying is true: sex does sell. This being the movie's Canadian première (unconfirmed, really, but overheard), some of the actors were present for some (very revealing) Q & A at the end but director John Cameron Mitchell could not attend.

Shortbus is the story of individuals, all in some form of relationship, who are looking for a connection and greater happiness in NY, NY in the post 9/11 age. At the heart of the story is Canada's own Sook-Yin Lee as Sofia, a married sex therapist who has never experienced an orgasm. She's counseling a gay couple, knows as the Jamies, one of whom is in deep depression. The Jamies introduce Sofia to Shortbus, and at the club she bonds with a dominatrix, Severin, while the boys enlist a third, Ceth, to save their relationship. Mitchell has created an exceptional, highly sentimental portrait of modern city dwellers unable to allow others to penetrate their shells in non-sexual ways.

Developed by Mitchell in collaboration with his stellar ensemble through numerous improv sessions, Shortbusis a spiritual quest for genuine contact and connection. But to get to the genuine, there is a lot of physical contact. Shortbus is highly sexualised, and while the sex is graphic and real, it is never uncalled for and certainly never makes us feels uncomfortable. Sex and related encounters in Mitchell's movie - be it gay, straight or solo - are quirky and funny and serve as a form of dialog. During the Q & A, Lee explained that Mitchell was trying to use sex in this movie to do what songs did in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and I think that he succeeded at doing so.

I really did enjoy Shortbus. The dialog was smart and humor was almost always present. I found myself wanting to own this movie (I own Hedwig, and *adore* it) until 3/4 of the film through. The last quarter is not as funny, and I was a tad disappointed by that. But regardless, this is a smart movie that deserves all the praise it as been getting.

As for the Q & A, it was fantastic. Sook-Yin Lee felt very talkative and explained many things in detail, from casting to production. She provided us with a lot of details pertaining to filming the sex scenes and how actors overcame their shyness. From female condoms to growing up in the Lynn Valley, we were given a lot of insider and personal information. I think that the insights that Lee provided enabled the audience to have a greater appreciation for Shortbus.