Monday, November 9, 2015

Film Review: Here’s to the Future! and Hit 2 Pass

Part of an open-call screening series (which also has an online component), Gina Telaroli’s Here’s to the Future! and Kurt Walker’s Hit 2 Pass recently played in Toronto in conjunction with MDFF. Both films, in their own way, offer a unique approach to the potential of a new cinephile-based online digital cinema (their recent Mubi correspondence, speaks to this in terms of distribution).
Here’s to the Future! documents the process of filming the recreation of a scene from the Bette Davis depression-era film, Michael Curtiz’s The Cabin in the Cotton. A few different actresses take up the Davis role and bring to it different acting styles. That it's New York base and uses a free-for-all mobile camera recalls Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, its low-budget quality and engagement with new type of recording devices (whether cellphones or laptops) recalls LOL, and its meditation on a desperate romantic interest recalls Love Sounds.
Telaroli, in her writing on her filmic practices, highlights the film’s experimental and imperfect form and the programming discrimination the film has faced, specifically noting that there should be a priority to support women filmmakers. Telaroli’s other films and future projects deserve more attention.
Gaspar Nectoux, writing about Fabrice Aragno’s cinematography on Adieu au langage, stresses the importance for more of this kind of experimental work. Surprisingly, two great examples popped up in Canada: In Winnipeg with Isiah Medina’s 88:88 and in Vancouver with Kurt Walker’s Hit 2 Pass. Medina captures uniquely how it’s like to be poor in his city, and through references to philosophy, an idea of natural beauty and companionship, Medina also redefines the cinematic syntax. In a way, similar to Say Anything, the film is also an ode to youth, its learning processes and troubles, to relationships and understanding others and oneself. As Medina describes his partner Anne in an interview in Cinema Scope with two people coming together there's the potential to discover “new Ideas of what a body is.”
Kurt Walker, and perhaps also Matt Taylor Blais and Trevor Mack (Clouds of Autumn), accomplishes a similar feat in creating an experimental film language in Vancouver. The premise of Hit 2 Pass is that one of its collaborators, Tyson Storozinski, goes with his father, family and friends to fix-up a car for a ‘Hit 2 Pass’ raceway event at the PGARA Speedway in Prince George, Vancouver. But the film constantly surprises as it shifts its registers and tone. Its junk-yard scenes are reminiscent of Carcasses, the racing scenes that of Talladega Nights, an eloquent first nation man seems like he would belong in a Alanis Obomsawin film, and new media video game footage recalls Level Five. There’s a strong sense of the joy of collaboration throughout Hit 2 Pass (Neil Bahadur is especially memorable), and since many of its participants are active on Twitter, it gives a further sense of what their personalities are like and what they’re up to. But probably the biggest compliment of the film came from Miguel Gomes who told Walker that he really liked it at Doclisboa in 2014. Gomes would go on to finish the Arabian Nights films later that year, and they both share the accomplishment of finding new ways to talk about the experiences of the working class. The ‘Hit 2 Pass’ scenes in particular recall the bird singing scenes in Arabian Nights: Volume 3, The Enchanted One.

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