Hot Docs Festival. Toronto. 2011

Have seen a number of interesting documentaries this week at the annual Hot Docs Festival. Among my favourites were Buck and Mama Africa. You can go to the website (see below) for information on the whole list.

Buck (Buck Brannaman) travels the US giving four day sessions on training horses. His philosophy, somehow garnered from his own childhood of extreme abuse, is to recognize and respect each horse. By gentle means, and recognizing the horse's fears, he gives us wise lessons on not only treating animals this way, but also on treating everyone thus. Gently, respectfully. And the horses are beautiful, such handsome animals. There are a couple of cameo appearances by Robert Redford who learned from Buck on the set of The Horse Whisperer and expresses in this movie his awe and respect for the man.

Later in the day, I saw Carol Channing, at ninety still an impressive figure. Makes aging seem not quite so daunting! Especially when she has found late life romance with her high school sweetheart.

Yesterday, Love Crimes of Kabul, has young lovers in jail facing charges for crimes such as premarital sex. And sentences that could be as long as fifteen years. One couple married before the trial with much reluctance on the part of the man, thus avoiding more jail time. Hard to watch even though I know about the plight of women in Afghanistan. The stark reality of watching the stories of these young people is always more difficult than simply reading about isolated incidents.

Position of the Stars. Filmed in Indonesia and set in the context of the political situation. Story of a poor family, trying to get an education for a teen-aged girl who would be the first of their kin to thus raise herself out of an impoverished environment. The grandmother, the main character, is determined. Yet the girl is often concerned only with herself and ungrateful. As well as the story itself, the film follows close-up scenes of something as seemingly insignificant as a cockroach scooting around the periphery of the family's life and looking down on it.
Posted on May 5, 2011 .