First day of Hot Docs

We saw two Hot Docs screenings today: Orgasm Inc. (hot docs) and Carmen Meets Borat (hot docs).

Orgasm Inc. turned out to be more interesting than I expected. I guess I’d forgotten what it was about between when I selected it and when I watched it today. The overriding theme of this year’s festival seems to be the economy, and money in general, and that was the angle that came out here.

Here’s the basic synopsis: Viagra is introduced and makes a bazillion dollars for Pfizer. Pharma companies realize they’re only reaching half the population, though, so the hunt for so-called female Viagra begins. Now realizing that they need to create demand for this, they use questionable research/statistical methods to trumpet the fact that 43% of American women have some kind of sexual dysfunction, and thus the clinical term Female Sexual Dysfunction is born. Now American women think there’s something wrong with them, and hucksters are telling them it can be fixed with a pill. Of course, no one’s profiting too much yet because the pills keep failing placebo tests, and the FDA rejected Procter & Gamble’s attempt. But don’t worry, all you useless malfunctioning women, soon there’ll be a $10 pill for you.

OK, moving on before I get too mad. In short, the content of the documentary was excellent, but the execution — the film itself — was sloppy and felt amateurish. I gave it a 3/5.

Carmen Meets Borat was much lighter (although Orgasm Inc. did have several laughs), showing life in what must surely be the most awful village in all of Europe: Glod, Romania. It’s where the opening scenes of Borat were filmed, passed off as Kazakhstan, and the villagers weren’t in on the jokes. They were, understandably, annoyed. But the main focus of the documentary is a girl named Carmen, and the changes she and her family went through at the same time as — and occasionally because of — Borat. Then the world’s slimiest lawyers show up and it does downhill. Anyway, it was an example of a documentary that covers a fairly insignificant topic, but covers it very well, and benefits from a little luck. I gave it 4/5.

Nothing tomorrow; I’ll be at work anyway. Also, I have two tickets to a screening of Reporter at 9:30 on Monday night at the Isabel Bader theatre if anyone would like them, free of charge. I’ll be at a Mogwai concert.

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