I WANT TO GO TO AFRICA and Other Tales of High Adventure Rating: NNN
Chinese industry. A woman equally devoted to knitting and her bicycle. Deadly illness. Gun violence. African agriculture. For four days next week former MuchMusic VJ and current CBC Radio host Sook-Yin Lee has organized an art and music festival inspired by a recent trip to Senegal and Gambia. Lee, along with LIFT (the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto), has corralled an eclectic group of shorts for the festival's film night.
In Making Pictures, director John Price follows photographer Edward Burtynsky around China, contrasting shots of Chinese workers with the artist and his team, which makes for sometimes poignant juxtapositions. But his use of grainy black-and-white stock, while giving the film a newsreel-like quality, also has the effect of distancing the viewer from Price's subjects.
Andrea Dorfman's There's A Flower In My Pedal is a four-minute set of rhyming couplets about her mom's blue bike. Set to music and matched with both live-action and stop-motion animation, the poem decries what's lost by giving in to pain and fear.
The most moving and certainly timeliest of the shorts I saw was Short Hymn, Silent War, a 20-minute drama about an accidental shooting that tears four African-Canadian women apart. Although the story is sometimes difficult to follow, it's wonderfully acted, and the mournful spiritual that plays in the background is the perfect lament for wasted youth. Wednesday (December 14), Xpace.