Hot Docs and more
Internet event picks

Watch some award-winning Canadian documentary films for free

By Byron Toben

Besides my article on free theatre viewings posted here at WestmountMag, there are also free or low-cost films during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The annual Hot Docs documentary film festival has made a number of its past hits available (and more to come). Included are two terrific ones I saw some years ago at the Cinema Politica series at Concordia University. Both were co-directed by Mark Achbar and went on to great fame.

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1992)

This was co-produced by Montréal’s late great documentary filmmaker, Peter Wintonick. It features a classic discussion by Noam Chomsky and the comments are timely today in our era of “alternative facts” and “fake media”.

(Timely even long ago. Quipped G. Bernard Shaw, “Englishmen… are perfectly free to believe whatever the press and popular opinion allow them to believe.”)

The Corporation (2003)

Mr. Achbar and Jennifer Abbott went on to win 26 awards and, like Manufacturing Consent above, is still timely today. Based on a best seller by Joel Bakan subtitled The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power.

The Corporation - WestmountMag.ca

Frame from The Corporation

Kanehsetake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993)

A third “must watch” I would recommend is Kanehsetake: 270 Years of Resistance by legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, chronicling the 1990 tense stand-off between the Mohawk reservation at the edge of Oka, Quebec, just northwest of Montreal and the Canadian military.

Ms. Obomsawin is considered one of the top indigenous filmmakers in the world and is still active at 87 with her last release in 2019.

Watch these or other of the current listings (many available in either English or French versions) at hotdocs.ca

Some more of Byron’s Internet picks for housebound fans

Here I present three more Internet events (two theatre shows, one movie) as suggested by Hudson Village Theatre.

Thursday, May 7 at 7 pm, until May 14
Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, James Bond: Spectre) and Sophie Okonedo (Chimerica, Hotel Rwanda) play Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in his great tragedy of politics, passion and power.
For more information, visit nationaltheatre.org

Antony and Cleopatra - WestmountMag.ca

Antony and Cleopatra – Image: courtesy of the National Theatre

Friday, May 8 at 7 pm (available for 48 hours)
Starring Martin Jarvis and John Scherer, the piece is based on PG Woodhouse’s classic characters. The streamed show will be the 2001 production, which ran on Broadway after the original show was rewritten.
For more information, visit The Shows Must Go On YouTube channel.

Thursday, May 7 at 7 pm
The voice behind “Spider-Teen” Miles Morales swings in to chat about this fresh take on the classic franchise, which won Best Animated Feature at the 2019 Oscars.
7 pm EDT – Virtual Q&A with star Shameik Moore and Cameron Bailey on tiff.net, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
7:30 pm EDT – Log in to Crave to catch Moore and an all-star animated cast, including Mahershala Ali and Nicolas Cage, in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Feature image:  frame from Kanehsetake: 270 Years of ResistanceBouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.ca

Read more articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.
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