And more importantly, white-skinned?

So far we’ve seen two Hot Docs documentaries, and we’re off to see a third in just a few minutes. To date we’ve seen:

  • Air India 182 (hot docs) by Sturla Gunnarsson. It screened opening night at the Winter Garden Theatre (which I’d never been in before…it’s quite strange and lovely) and, while it packed quite an emotional punch, it wasn’t really a very good documentary. It was certainly educational (I was only nine when the bombing occurred and knew only bits and pieces that I’d heard over the last twenty years) and at times infuriating (as the director said, would the bombing have gotten so little attention if the flight had been full of blond-haired, blue-eyed people?), but Gunnarsson mixed documentary interviews with ham-handed recreations. The bar for docudrama has been set so incredibly high by Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, Omagh, United 93) that this seemed amateurish by comparison. There was no doubting the emotional impact, but technically this was a weak film. The subject deserved better.
  • The Last Continent (hot docs) was far better. The subject was a ship’s crew from Quebec who spent more than a year in Antarctica, with no way to leave, in order to document and study the effects of climate change on the Antarctic winter. The result was obvious, to the point that it endangered the ship and crew (who knew they would need pack ice to lock their ship in and protect it from high winds, but the pack ice is later and later in coming each year) and the animals around them. A great study of science, psychology, and most strikingly of all, the continent itself. The scenery and whirl of life around the little bay which the ship eventually called home was staggeringly beautiful. Apparently the scientific findings will be part of a 3-part special on The Nature Of Things some time soon, and the account of life on the ship will be a series on TV (not sure which channel…may only be in Quebec); in the meantime, check out the documentary for yourself. It’s scheduled to be released to theatres this summer.

[tags]hot docs, air india 182, the last continent[/tags]

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