Some quick thoughts on the films I saw today:
- Urbanized: the latest from documentarian Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified), the film takes a look at urban design around the world, from the US to South America, from Europe, to Africa, and to Asia. A fascinating look at how the organization, or lack thereof, in how a city is built can affect communities, societies, and the environment. The film was well-received by the packed crowd at the Ryerson. Hustwit himself, who stayed for a Q&A, was quite well acquainted with the urban planning challenges we have here in Toronto, including the mayor's recent attempt to throw out the current, long-in-the-works plan for the waterfront with a completely different one that he somehow thinks can be in place in six years. Probably the biggest hit in the film was the former mayor of Bogota, who talked of the city's move to put transit and cyclists front and center. If you care about having a vibrant, livable city, this is one to see.
- Elles: an interesting film, but can't say too much about it as I was unfortunately sitting behind the tallest person in the theatre so I couldn't make out much of the subtitles and my French is rather limited. Juliette Binoche did appear, as did director Malgoska Szumowska. I'll have to catch this again at some point.
- Sons of Norway: at turns funny and dramatic, this film from director Jens Lien (The Bothersome Man) showcases the story of a young boy who turns to punk to cope with a tragedy in his life. Also features a cameo by John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) who joined Jens Lien and writer Nikolaj Frobenius on stage afterwards for a Q&A. Lydon said he rarely if ever puts his name behind anything, but he was really committed to this film.