Generations: True Patriot Love?
June 25, 2007
Generations: True Patriot Love is a two-part programme of films and videos that celebrates Canada’s 140th birthday. This programme illustrates the history of Canadian independent cinema and its legacy taken up in works of the present and the future generations of Canadian filmmakers and media artists. “True Patriot Love” was the title of the first major retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in 1971 devoted to the work of a living Canadian woman artist; the Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist and independent filmmaker Joyce Wieland, whose quilts and soft sculptures breathed new life into the centuries old lap-craft tradition of quilt making.
The first part of Generations: True Patriot Love explores the theme of Canadian landscape, whereas the second takes the intricate fabric of Canadian culture as its thematic base. The two parts weave the works of the past with the present, thus illustrating the historical trajectory of Canadian independent cinema and its future course.
This year’s Generations festival is a tribute in the loving memory of Roberto Ariganello, LIFT’s long-serving and dedicated Executive Director, whose untimely death on August 13, 2006 sent ripples of shock and sadness through all the artist-run media arts organizations in Canada. Roberto was one of the most dynamic figures of Toronto’s independent film community, who encouraged many emerging and established filmmakers, in his usual matter-of-fact manner, to just pick up a camera and get to work! His untiring support and enthusiasm for film touched the lives of many artists, students, art centres and film enthusiasts. The efforts of Roberto’s dedication to independent film are manifest in this two-part programme of films that illustrate the long-standing tradition of Canadian independent cinema and its future.
Generations: True Patriot Love is a joint effort between the Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre and the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto. LIFT is a not-for-profit, artist-run organization dedicated to independent filmmaking, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006. It is a place where Bruce McDonald, Atom Egoyan, Bruce Elder, Barbara Sternberg, Phil Hoffman and numerous other Canada’s most recognized filmmakers have created their films.
Both screenings are held at The Studio Theatre in Harbourfront’s York Quay Centre. Special thanks to the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC).
Part 1: 52 minutes
Sunday July 1 @1:30pm
The Studio Theatre, York Quay Centre
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queen’s Quay West
Narrows Inlet by David Rimmer
10 minutes 16mm colour silent 1980
Starting with a boat swaying on its anchor at the head of an inlet, a landscape of pilings, shore and forest is slowly revealed by time-lapse photography as the morning fog lifts. While the deep space of the landscape evolves out of the fog–enshrouded flatness of early morning, the camera skips from fixed point to fixed point – suggesting the motion of the human eye while reading.
Plein Air Etude by Richard Kerr
5 minutes 16mm colour silent 1991
An ecstatic, kinetic formal study of light, colour and movement shot in the regions of the Montreal River which so inspired members of the Group of Seven.
Tran Scan by Stephen X. Arthur
8:15 minutes colour sound 2004
A stunning, cross-Canada journey. A sequence of 112 specially designed telescopic time-lapse scenes form a seamless flight across the continent from Pacific to Atlantic. A new way of seeing. A celebration and a memorial.
Uncrumpling Moths From Cocoons by Tyler Kekatch
4 minutes video colour sound 2007
A film made using chance operations. Ronald Johnson tell us, “A man could forever study a pebble and at last see dilations and expansions of the hills.”
Migration by Christina Battle
5:30 minutes 16mm colour sound 2005
A late summer prairie storm as heard from above… someplace between this atmosphere and the next…
Contrafacta by Roberto Ariganello and Chris Gehman
15 minutes 16mm colour sound 2000
Using images from medieval artworks, and quotations from the writings of medieval mystics and poets, Contrafacta creates a web of related images and events without a simple connective narrative. The world of Contrafacta is one in which the everyday exists side-by-side with the supernatural, in which magical events and transformations occur in every shot.
Sea Song by Richard Reeves
4 mniutes 35mm colour sound 1999
This animated film flows through a vibrant underwater landscape, shown at night time. Sound and picture are drawn directly on film – cameraless animation.
Part 2: 51 minutes
Sunday July 1 @ 6:30pm
The Studio Theatre, York Quay Centre
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queen’s Quay West
Handtinting by Joyce Wieland
5:30 minutes 16mm colour sound 1967
“Handtinting is the apt title of a film made from outtakes from Job Corps documentary which features hand-tinted sections. The film is full of small movements and actions, gestures begun and never completed. Repeated images, sometimes in colour, sometimes not. A beautifully realized type of chamber-music film whose sum-total feeling is ritualistic.” Robert Cowan, Take One
Girl From Moush by Garine Torossian
6 minutes 16mm colour sound 1993
Girl From Moush is a poetic montage of the artist’s journey through her subconscious Armenia. It is not an Armenia based in a reality, but one which appears, like the mythical city of Shangra La, when one closes one’s eyes. Rooted in what Jung may call a “communal consciousness,” her Armenia appears on film as a collage of mytgh, legend, experience and immigration.
Coming and Going by Larissa Fan
3 minutes Double 8mm colour sound 2005
A portrait of the energy of urban life in split screen.
Shelter by Roberto Ariganello
8 minutes 16mm colour sound 2001
Shelter is a multi-layered experimental film that cleverly weaves archival social commentary and recent political activism in a playful analysis of our culture’s misplaced priorities. The film blends a variety of appropriated material — including a homeless demonstration during the gala premiere of an Atom Egoyan film at the Toronto Film Festival — with archival footage of circuses, westerns, and Pierre Burton discussing the pros and cons of building a bomb shelter. Shelter also celebrates the inherent qualities of the film medium, qualities that have quickly become marginalized through the current obsession with digital technology.
Saskatchewan by Brian Stockton
6 minutes 16mm colour sound 2002
Using home movies, vintage memorabilia, and the straight facts about Saskatchewan, the filmmaker creates an eccentric portrait of the first year of his life, and the province that shaped his identity.
Reveille (Wake Up) by Francine Leger
5 minutes 16mm colour sound 1982
This simple and engaging animated film tells of an event which changed the course of French history in North America: the deportation of the Acadians, or “neutralist French,” from Nova Scotia by the English and Americans. The French-Canadians are burned out of their homes, displaced to Louisiana. The image of soldiers/oppressors transformed into children’s toy soldiers has been called one of the most quietly powerful moments in animation history. The anger and poignancy of Reveille is enhanced by a haunting Acadian folk song.
Remembrance Day Parade by John Price
3 minutes 16mm colour sound 2005
A somber parade shot on laboratory printing stock not intended bo be used in a camera. All of the superimpositions were made in-camera and the roll was processed by ahdn in a very active developer.
Rat Life and Diet in North America by Joyce Wieland
14 minutes 16mm colour sound 1968
“I can tell you that Wieland’s film holds. It may be about the best (or richest) political movie around. It’s all about rebels (enacted by real rats) and police (enacted by real cats). After long suffering under the cats, the rats break out of prison and escape to Canada. There, they take up organic gardening, with no DDT in the grass. It is a parable, a satire, an adventure movie, or you can call it pop art or any art you want – I find it one of the most original films made recently.” Jonas Mekas