This Week at The Bloor: 8/30/13

Far Out Isn't Far Enough The Tomi Ungerer Story

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story

Most people have encountered the work of Tomi Ungerer during some point in their lives. From his award-winning children’s books to his provocative and iconic anti-war illustrations from the 60s and 70s, his work has always had a clever, biting edge balanced with a playful fearlessness. But his outspokenness made him a target of controversy and intense malice. This became even more evident when Ungerer began to illustrate erotic books late in his career, a move that outraged fans of his earlier work and blacklisted him and his publications from most major libraries, schools and bookstores.

Far Out Isn’t Far Enough is the story of a fascinating artist who never compromised his vision even when it meant the children’s literary world completely excised him. Reminiscent of the brilliant Wayne White documentary from last year, Beauty is Embarrassing, Far Out brings us another eccentric, reformed, and solitary man who chose to step back from his limelight and accolades. While not as accomplished or engaging as the Wayne White documentary, Far Out still tells a great story. With the multitude of drawings and artwork the filmmakers have to pull from, the picture has a fantastic and vibrant look.

Fellow author the late Maurice Sendak, of Where the Wild Things Are fame, calls Ungerer one of his greatest influences. Hopefully Far Out Isn’t Far Enough is ‘far enough’ to influence a new generation to put pen to page. (Kirk Haviland)

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Director Brad Bernstein will participate in Skype Q&As following the 9:00pm performance on Friday, August 30th and the 9:15 performance on Saturday, August 31st.

 Our Nixon - Hot Docs 2013

Our Nixon

Our Nixon takes a unique look at one of the more controversial world leader’s in modern history.  It’s January 20, 1969. As Richard Nixon prepares to take the oath of office, three of his closest associates fire up their cameras. Young, idealistic and dedicated, they had no idea that a few short years later they’d find themselves in jail. Obsessed with Super 8 home movies, Special Assistant Dwight Chapin, Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman and Domestic Affairs Advisor John Ehrlichman set out to capture everything with the enthusiasm of novice aficionados: Nixon’s historic visit to China, man’s landing on the moon, the Vietnam War protests…until the Watergate scandal broke. The footage, over 500 reels, confiscated by the FBI as part of the investigation, inexplicably sat forgotten for decades in a government office until now.

With her first feature length outing, director Penny Lane takes some historically fascinating footage and audio recordings and turns it into an entertaining look at the man’s presidency despite stretching the concept a little farther then it maybe should have been.   History buffs will find the archival footage interesting, but Lane drags things out in too many spots trying to making a political statement about the man’s presidency that didn’t need 85 minutes to get its point across.  It does, however, highlight the naive enthusiasm that everyone involved here had towards the political process at the time, making their ultimate downfall not only a little tragic but cinematically satisfying. It’s just rather uneven. (Dave Voigt)

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 How to Make a Book With Steidl

How To Make A Book With Steidl

Meet publisher and printer Gerhard Steidl: revered and sought after worldwide for his ability to make the most exquisite art books imaginable. Using profits from his work with such long-time clients as Chanel, Günter Grass and Karl Lagerfeld, Steidl underwrites his publishing of limited edition books with the world’s best photographers. Superb cinematography frames the scenes between Steidl and the artists in action, revealing the playful, yet exacting process of their creative collaborations. Steidl is constantly in motion, travelling to London, Paris, New York, Vancouver and the deserts of Qatar, allowing us seductive glimpses into the rarely seen homes and studios of such renowned artists as Robert Adams, Robert Frank and Jeff Wall.

How To Make A Book is an intriguing portrait of a fiercely determined and his all-encompassing fascination and obsession with paper and ink (kind of like this week’s other film about Tomi Ungerer). At times a self-deprecating master schmoozer, at other times a grumpy and vindictive control freak, Steidl is never a boring character. During the course of the film we also traverse a product’s lifespan, from conceptual beginnings to the final product of Joel Sternfeld’s book  i Dubai, and see how Steidl’s exacting standards, with all the bickering, infighting and frustrations included, work in driving creating and producing a unique and bold final product.

Audiences who invest in the journey and the man will be captivated and engrossed, though the film will likely be too dry and one sided for those who are turned off by Steidl’s OCD tendencies. (Kirk Haviland)

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Also on this week:

The incredibly successful Twenty Feet From Stardom comes back again for two more performances (Tuesday, September 3rd, 7:00pm and Thursday, September 5th, 4:00pm) before the Toronto international Film Festival rolls into the Bloor for the next ten days.

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