In part three of our Hot Docs 2012 preview, Andrew Parker takes a look at The Invisible War, Big Boys Gone Bananas!*, and Finding Truelove. Check back over the next few days for more previews of films playing at Hot Docs 2012.
The Invisible War
Director: Kirby Dick
This Film is Not Yet Rated director Kirby Dick returns with a much more balanced and far more incendiary and vital film documenting the quest of sexually abused and assaulted United States military personnel and their quest for justice and possible compensation in the face of an uncaring power structure.
Using hard facts provided in part by the military themselves and approaching the subject from a completely apolitical point of view, Kirby exposes the harsh and unsettling truth about women (and even some men) who never see rape convictions for their assailants after coming forward with charges and evidence thanks to a military court that thinks it’s above the laws that govern common citizens.
The stories are affecting and heartbreaking, and Dick’s approach belies the kind of social reform documentary that can actually get the job done. People from the left and the right all agree that this is an issue. Hopefully Dick’s film will be enough to make more people see the light on this sickening issue.
Rating (out of five stars): ****1/2
Friday, April 27th at 3:30 p.m. at the Bloor
Saturday, April 28th at 9:00 p.m at the ROM
Saturday, May 5th at 3:15 p.m. at the Bloor
Big Boys Gone Bananas!*
Director: Frederik Gertten
An interesting look at the depths to which some PR companies will sink to in order to maintain control over a sensitive issue, Swedish director Gertten looks back at the controversy behind the release of his film Bananas!*, which was critical of how produce producer Dole dealt with the negative working environments for banana harvesters in Nicaragua. Almost as soon as the film is set to debut and without seeing the film, Dole’s lawyers and PR firms go into overdrive to block the film.
Gertten maintains balance between his own innocence and the shortcomings of his previous film, making for a great meta experience, but as a result of the film coming from a place or righteous anger and a great deal of fear, it’s sometimes top heavy with repetitious, circular arguments and he still feels like he has to pull his punches with regard to some topics. As a document of a man going through a battle to defend his freedom of speech, it’s a heck of a story.
Rating (out of five stars): ***
Wednesday, May 2nd at 5:30 p.m. at the Bloor
Director: Sam Kuhn
Lovingly dorky, side-splittingly funny at times, and the best high school reunion film since the one-two punch of Grosse Pointe Blankand Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, Finding Truelove has a simple premise and a huge amount of laughs.
After finding the yearbook for the Chico, California High School Class on 1990 in a Portland, Oregon Value Village, Kuhn, several friends, and a random hitchhiker set out on a road trip to crash the school’s 20th class reunion to put personalities to the big hair and crazy fashions, specifically obsessing over a go-getter named Timothy Truelove
With a killer soundtrack, a general affable silliness, and some genuinely good filmmaking, the film is the rare sort of inside joke among friends that makes the audience care about what they’re watching, even when some of the friends are pretty selfish with their motives.
Rating (out of five stars): ****
Monday, April 30th at 11:30 p.m. at the Bloor
Tuesday, May 1st at 9:15 p.m. at the Cumberland 3
Sunday, May 6th at 6:45 p.m. at the TIFF Bell Lightbox
Hot Docs 2012 runs from April 26 – May 6. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit hotdocs.ca.
Top image: A scene from The Invisible War. Courtesy Hot Docs.