The Reel Heart International Film Festival (Bloor, June 23-25) Rating:NNN
In a city that has festivals for nearly every niche, here at last is one for people who enjoy poking around Active Surplus. It's a sort of Salon des Refusés in festival form, a chance to mull over the also-rans, films made with passion and enthusiasm that, for various reasons, are at risk of languishing on a shelf somewhere. Like Active's stack of electric typewriters or that bin of scorpions encased in lucite.
Some of them, with a little tweaking, could work just fine: you could pair the scorpion with a key chain, for example. Or repackage Benjamin Kukee's End Of The Year (Friday, June 24, rating: NNN ), an intensely idiosyncratic hybrid of Waiting For Godot and My Dinner With Andre, as a series of shorts: each scene taken alone is funny, clever and touching, but absorbed all at once it's almost aggravating.
Others are well made but hard to program: student filmmaker Brenda Brkusic's Freedom From Despair (tonight, Thursday, June 23, rating: NNN ) is a fairly polished, passionately partisan film about Croatia's side in the Balkan conflicts of the 90s. It's like an old kerosene lamp: it looks good, but where can you put it where you can be sure it won't blow up on you?