Saturday, September 12, 2009

TIFF's Future Projections: 3 in review

The Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing, and is pretty much dominating all coverage of Toronto arts stuff right now. Yes, that includes galleries too—for the past few years, TIFF has put together a free program called Future Projections in art spaces. Today I reviewed three of these for the National Post's Toronto section. Here's an excerpt:

Christopher Doyle @ INDEX G
50 Gladstone Ave.
Often, we go to the movies to immerse ourselves in other lives and worlds. And during the course of his career, Christopher Doyle, director of photography for such films as In the Mood for Love and Rabbit-Proof Fence, has likely served up a couple of the sweeping, lose-yourself epics you’ve seen. However, in his Toronto gallery debut, Doyle explicitly refuses to plunge viewers into the pleasures of cinematic escape. Rather, in his feature video, Doyle distances viewers, using several approaches to build a kind of cinematic moat. Visually, Doyle inserts raw film-editing graphics like “Picture Start” over the top of clips, interrupting their imagery. Aurally, he applies a soundtrack of a British-accented man repeatedly recounting a routine of Guinness and Cornish pasties, while our eyes see scenes from an unnamed Asian city. Conceptually, Doyle repeats the same clips in different sequences, refusing the easy connection of a beginning, middle or end. (What story can be gleaned would seem to be a sad one, featuring an Asian family with an ill, immobilized mother figure.) Prints accompanying the video reinforce these techniques, with the overall experience coming off as emotionally unappealing, yet interesting — a man who’s lived a good part of his life through cinema’s lens appears here to rebuff its charms. And that could be a compelling story in itself. To Oct. 11.

The big-buzz offering for Future Projections is Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno installation and screening, but unfortunately it wasn't set up till after my deadline.

Image of one of Christopher Doyle's prints from TIFF

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