CMWs reel music

Canadian Music Week Film Festival at NFB Mediatheque (150 John) and the Royal Cinema (608 College), Friday and Saturday (March.


Canadian Music Week Film Festival at NFB Mediatheque (150 John) and the Royal Cinema (608 College), Friday and Saturday (March 12 and 13). For venues and times, see Indie & Rep Film. Rating: NNNN

Canadian Music Week’s film component packs a wide range of cinematic content into two short days.

Friday celebrates “retro rock musicals” with a double bill of Walter Hill’s Streets Of Fire (7 pm) and Brian De Palma’s Phantom Of The Paradise (9 pm) at the NFB Mediatheque Saturday, the action moves to the Royal Cinema for a string of new films including the concert doc Michelle Gun Elephant Thee Movie – Last Heaven 031011 (3 pm) and Shane Meadows’s loose-limbed Le Donk And Scor-Zay-Zee (5 pm).

NOWHERE BOY (Sam Taylor-Wood, UK/Canada). 98 minutes. Saturday (March 13), 9 pm, Royal. Rating: NNN

Beatles completists will appreciate this intriguing biopic tracking John Lennon’s teen years. Witty, rebellious and curious, Lennon (Aaron Johnson) lives with his uptight aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas), who’s having trouble reining him in, a problem that deepens when Lennon reconnects with his wayward mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff).

Johnson is great as the charismatic Lennon, but the film’s first act is slow – you’d lose interest if you didn’t know it was Lennon’s story, kind of like the first pages of a famous movie star’s bio.

Based on Lennon’s half-sister’s memoir, the movie does provide insight into his anger – and what drew him to Yoko Ono’s unconditional love. SUSAN G. COLE

SEPERADO! (Dyl Jones and Gruff Rhys, UK/Argentina/Brazil). 84 minutes. Partially subtitled. Saturday (March 13), 1 pm, Royal. Rating: NNNN

Gruff Rhys, frontman for Super Furry Animals, traces his connection to South America’s considerable Welsh community in this endearingly idiosyncratic film that explores Patagonian musical culture through a deliriously eccentric lens. Cross-pollinating ethnographic documentary and long-form music video – and fusing it all together with shots of Rhys teleporting from Cardiff to Sao Paulo in a Power Rangers helmet – it’s defiantly weird and strangely heartfelt. NORMAN WILNER

WHEN YOU’RE STRANGE (Tom DiCillo, USA). 90 minutes. Saturday (March 13), 7 pm, Royal. Rating: NNN

As a compendium of archival footage of the Doors on- and offstage, When You’re Strange is an invaluable document, tracking the band from its earliest configurations to its dissolution within less than five years, with Johnny Depp’s mellow-toned narration helping the images flow.

But like every other Doors documentarian, director Tom DiCillo buys into the spectacle of Jim Morrison, shoving his bandmates into the background to concentrate on the singer’s spectacular downward spiral – played as a brilliant flame-out rather than pathetic, self-destructive overindulgence.

Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore will someday escape Mr. Mojo Risin’s shadow and get their due as innovative musicians who changed the sonic landscape of the 60s. But not yet. NW

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