During and in the days leading up to the festival, I will be checking in periodically with some quick reviews of some interesting films that will be playing. Due to time constraints, these won’t be full reviews simply a few sentences to get your interest peaked, I call them my “Quick Cuts”, and I’ll either tell you to Watch It, PVR it or Skip It. On this first edition of Quick Cuts I will be taking a look at two very different docs. Having its world premiere at Hot Docs this year “The Hollywood Complex” and “The Samba Within Me”
The Hollywood Complex: Springtime in Hollywood brings a different kind of migration then you would expect. Thousands of child actors flock to Tinseltown for Pilot season which is the traditional casting season for new shows, but unlike their grown-up counterparts, these child actors bring their families with them. Many of them move in to the Oakwood, a temporary housing complex that caters to parents and their children in search of that Hollywood dream. Directors Dan Sturman and Dylan Nelson take us inside this world where chasing ones dreams can come at a surprisingly high cost.
Hard to watch at times, but this was a truly interesting look at a side of the entertainment industry that can be a lot darker then people expect, a very cautionary tale. Watch It.
The Samba Within Me: Tells the tale of the infamous Mangueira Hill in Rio de Janeiro, often portrayed with an emphasis on poverty and violence, is given a fresh representation in director Georgia Guerra-Peixe’s visually stunning love note to Rio. Traveling up the Hill in the days preceding Carnival, Guerra-Peixe and her camera dance through the streets, discovering the untold stories behind the samba’s rhythm. The camera, moving with grace and purpose around corners and through crevices, peering in windows and invited into homes, creates a wonderful portrait of the beauty and vitality behind a musical tradition and vibrant culture. Meeting the diverse residents of the Hill and the students of the Mangueira Samba School where Guerra-Peixe’s father once worked, reflecting upon her own history, a gaze of tenderness and affection emerges.
An obviously personal topic for the director, the affection for the subjects’ stories comes through and it is nice to see positive stories come out of that region. However the focus on the music was tertiary and a little thing at the best of times, so that side of it all came off a little disappointing. PVR It.
The Hollywood Complex will be playing at the Isabel Bader Theatre Sunday May 1 at 9:45PM, The Bell TIFF Lightbox on Tuesday May 3 at 3:45PM and at the Cumberland on Sunday May 8 at 1:00PM.
The Samba Within Me will be playing Wednesday May 4 at 7:30PM and Friday May 6 at the Cumberland at 1:00PM.
For ticket info about these and all other films playing at Hot Docs 2011, click here.