One of the themes of this year's Hot Docs festival has been resistance.
The Rise Against program is packed with documentaries about people who've taken stands against oppression or injustice, and made a difference in doing so. And before it winds down this weekend, the festival is making a stand of its own.
At 12:30 pm today (Friday), Hot Docs will stage a "symbolic moratorium" in protest of the cuts to arts and culture contained in the new federal budget. The demonstration will run for an hour in front of the Royal Ontario Museum.
Filmmakers, festival representatives, film lovers and anyone else opposing the Conservatives' stance on Canadian culture are invited to show their support for a vibrant arts community.
I doubt that it'll make any difference to Stephen Harper, since he's built his reputation on not listening to that community, but what the hell. Sometimes you take a stand anyway.
If you're looking for a different sort of demonstration of the value of art, you'll want to get down to the Lightbox later this week for the start of Guillermo Del Toro's Hitchcock Master Classes.
Del Toro's been screening his favourite movies at TIFF every few months whenever he needs to take a break from the rigors of shooting Pacific Rim in town. His double-bill of Federico Fellini's Toby Dammit and Dario Argento's Suspiria was a highlight of TIFF's Fellini series last summer. And now he's turning to the Master, presenting four of Alfred Hitchcock's features with comprehensive introductions and post-screening Q&As.
The series starts Monday (May 7) with the 1946 spy thriller Notorious - which, regrettably, is already sold out. But tickets are still available for the Tuesday (May 8) show of Frenzy, Hitchcock's penultimate feature, and for the following week's Shadow Of A Doubt (May 15) and North By Northwest (May 16).
If you can only book one night, I'd suggest you go with North By Northwest. Shadow Of A Doubt is the best of the bunch, a subtle and brilliantly constructed thriller with a muddied morality and perfectly matched performances by Joseph Cotton and Teresa Wright ... but North By Northwest is the most playful, and its antic energy and quicksilver wit should bring out the very best in Del Toro. And it's a hoot with a crowd.