Strange Love/Strange Lives
It's Nuit Blanche time again! Tomorrow (Saturday) night, Toronto will be overrun by artist, exhibitions, installations and any number of odd little distractions. Obviously, I'm primarily concerned with the film stuff, and the imps at TIFF Bell Lightbox have some pretty nifty programming lined up.
Aliza Ma and Shane Smith have assembled Strange Love/Strange Lives, two three-hour blocks of early short films presented with live improvised musical accompaniment by Toronto musicians Laura Silberberg, Fern Lindzon, William O'Meara and Mitch Akiyama.
Titles in Strange Lives (7 pm, repeating at 1 am) include the 1902 Edison Co. production of Jack And The Beanstalk, Fatty Arbuckle's Reckless Romeo and Leo McCarey's Innocent Husbands; selections from French pioneers George Méliès, Alice Guy-Blaché and Segundo de Chomón; Strange Loves (10 pm, repeating at 4 am) offers yet more from Méliès and de Chomón as well as Tod Browning's 1927 feature The Unknown, starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford.
Elsewhere in the building, Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddes and Mike Lane's Cent Une Tueries De Zombies. It's exactly what it says it is: one hundred and one zombie kills from movies and television, curated into a single continuous loop running from 7 pm Saturday to 7 am Sunday. This will either delight you or mess you up for life. So, art!
Later in the week, once you've had a chance to rest up, there are a couple of other things happening in town that you might want to attend.
On Monday evening, TIFF hosts an Onstage Conversation With Slavoj Zizek. The sociologist, philosopher and cultural commentator - who launched The Pervert's Guide To Ideology at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month - will present a chunk of his previous collaboration with director Sophie Fiennes, The Pervert's Guide To Cinema, and then sit around and argue with the audience for an hour or so. Should be fun, right?
And on Wednesday, Doc Soup starts its 2012-13 season at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema with a new model; in addition to the traditional Wednesday night screenings of a selected documentary, there'll now be an additional Thursday evening show to accommodate demand.
October's selection is The Source, and it's ... intriguing. With a combination of archival footage and interviews, Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos take a look at the Source Family, a musically oriented Southern California commune organized in the early 70s by a charismatic health-food impresario who called himself Father Yod or YaHoWha, depending on his mood.
The Source Family were, by most accounts, a pretty happy bunch; they spent a lot of time thinking about vegetarianism and hanging out in their recording studio, even releasing albums as the YaHoWha 13. But Father Yod's trippy ways invited tension from the outside world; eventually, under pressure from people who Just Didn't Get It, Man, he sold his businesses and moved the Source Family out to Hawaii.
So, yeah, the Source Family was a cult. But it doesn't seem to have been a Jonestown sort of cult; Wille and Demopoulos interview a number of former Family members as they literally try to put the band back together, and the result is a surprisingly intelligent look at the fallout from the hippie era in Southern California four decades ago. No matter what kind of documentary you expect The Source to be, it'll surprise you.