Doc Blog

Wavelengths, part III
This is the final round-up titles in Wavelengths that have documentary roots. Follow these links to Part I and Part II.

Profit motive and the whispering wind by John Gianvito is an astonishingly elegant and elegiac chronicle of the history of the progressive movement in America told through its cemeteries, plaques and monuments, its symbolic and physical landscape (the one we so often overlook). Propelling us on this journey is a wind of change that summons and gathers the images that lend voice to those who have disappeared from cultural memory. Gianvito has crafted a beautiful landscape film that pays homage to those who fought for their beliefs, one whose underlying force and tensions are compelled by the perfidious acts committed by the current US administration. Recently screened to great acclaim at FID Marseille, Profit motive and the whispering wind is, without a doubt, one of the year’s strongest documentaries, experimental or otherwise.

Even more oblique about its politics, AT SEA by veteran 16mm filmmaker Peter Hutton is a high seas expedition which chronicles, in the words of the director, the “birth, life and death” of a container ship. Silent and sublime in its photographic beauty, the film transforms reality by no other means than its patient observation and poetic eye as it documents ship-builders in Korea, a trans-oceanic trip and finally, ship-breakers in Bangladesh. The intensity of the sea and its bewitching aura casts a spell upon the viewers and juxtaposes, with compelling tension, the harsh work involved in keeping the naval industry afloat. Hutton is a former merchant marine and knows the sea intimately. The film attests to his awesome experiences.

Lastly, epc 2D: sun by John Price is likely the shortest documentary in the festival, if one will allow that. Price is a Toronto experimental filmmaker whose interest lies in the alchemical possibilities of celluloid. He’s also a home movie documentarian, who uses his two children as subjects for his filmic experiments. A day in the park with his family has yielded epc:2D, a 3 minute film shot with a hand-wound 35mm 1920s Russian camera processed by hand. It’s a page from his family album, but one which displays colour from another world. And that, in a sentence, summarizes the unique power of Wavelengths’s documentaries.

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