Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Yesterday I saw Carandiru, a foreign film that centers on a grimy and dilapidated prison of the same name in Brazil. As one might expect, violence, drug abuse, and AIDS permeate every aspect of prison life; but the film also injects some pathos into the mix by shining a light on the personal stories of several individual inmates. A touch of humour (and perhaps a bit too much humour, at that) also helps leaven the storyline. Despite the film's occasional flaws, I liked it very much.

I actually saw it at the Carlton theater, one of the few bulwarks of foreign and avant-garde cinema in Toronto. Unfortunately there are a few things not to like about the Carlton: the screening rooms are like cramped broom-closets, in some places the floor is plastered with bubble gum, and the air conditioning is apparently out of commission. And for whatever reason, the box office clerk looked as sullen as a caged animal (or an inmate at Carandiru, for that matter.) In any case, those nuisances notwithstanding, I'm glad the Carlton exists because the usual Hollywood fare on offer almost everywhere else just doesn't do it for me.

Huh. Alternative film houses, too bad I know nothing about them.

Although it was interesting to see, I went to a Rainbow Cinema last friday to see Shrek 2, finally. On their board there were a couple of "Art Films"... I guess I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. Not that I'm actually gonna go out and watch them, but if I was bored and in possession of more cash, I would consider those first over mainstream films.

I suppose I could use the excuse that once they leave the theatres, there's almost no chance I'll ever hear of the title again, whereas big-budget, mainstream theatre films will almost certainly be found well into the future at any video store, no matter how terrible.

But that only makes sense if I watch films enough to be able to actually /see/ the ones I'm somewhat interested in on a regular basis...
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