The three Jeans of French cinema

The three Jeans of French cinema

These leading men — Gabin, Belmondo and Trintignant — define the classics that fill out TIFF’s summer series. French cinema is no stranger to TIFF Cinematheque’s annual summer schedule, a fact that has not gone unnoticed to senior programmer James Quandt. “There’s always a new audience for these films,” he says. “There’s always a new generation of those who haven’t experienced them and some who’ve only seen them on DVD.” Kicking off Friday with a…

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360 Screenings are bigger than surround sound

360 Screenings are bigger than surround sound

Mainstream movie-going is pretty straightforward: you pick a film, find out when and where it’s playing, then head out to the cinema. But for those who want to escape that monotony, how about a secret film held in an undisclosed location, not revealed until 24 hours before the event? That sense of excitement and discovery is what heritage-minded film programmers Ned Loach and Robert Gontier aim to achieve when they inaugurate 360 Screenings next Friday…

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David Shire: a conversation

David Shire: a conversation

It would be a dull affair to watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho without Bernard Hermann’s iconic score. Would the shower scene even frighten if it were accompanied by, say, drums and piano instead of Hermann’s shriek-shriek-shrieking climax? Kicking off on Thursday, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival features “The Sound of Movies: Masters of the Film Score,” a sidebar series showcasing celebrated Jewish film music composers. “What struck me is that so many film composers have been…

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Whitney Houston dies on eve of Grammy Awards

Whitney Houston dies on eve of Grammy Awards

Whitney Houston, one of the top-charting singers of the 1980s and 1990s, has died at the age of 48 on the eve of the American music industry’s biggest night – the Grammy Awards. Her distinct voice, mixing pop sensibilities and gospel with the soulful prowess of Aretha Franklin, influenced a future generation of pop divas like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. Although already a platinum-selling artist, winning multiple Grammy, Billboard and American Music awards by…

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Is cinema facing a digital dark age?

Is cinema facing a digital dark age?

The unexpected success of The Artist, nominated for 10 Academy Awards last week, would have one believe that a silent cinema renaissance is under way. It ain’t necessarily so, says George Eastman House Motion Picture curator Paolo Cherchi Usai. Instead, the applause for The Artist signals the eventual museumification of the original cinematic experience. That experience — millions of images on 35-millimetre film flickering at 24 or 16 frames per second — is on its…

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Fixt Point puts neighbourhoods in the spotlight

Fixt Point puts neighbourhoods in the spotlight

Like a line out of a Stompin’ Tom Connors song, Fixt Point Theatre’s Lisa Marie DiLiberto was saddened by the outright homogenization of the cities she saw while travelling through Canada. “Everywhere I went, I saw the same big-box stores on the other side of town, forcing many of the smaller independent stores to close,” said the Toronto-based playwright. The Tale of a Town: Queen West, inaugurating the launch of Theatre Passe Muraille’s fall season,…

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Disgraceland art show offers a parade of Presleys

Disgraceland art show offers a parade of Presleys

A warning to those who revere the late Elvis Presley as a haloed patron saint of rock – a new art exhibit is showing the king of rock ’n’ roll at his most ghoulish and zombified. Using plaster Elvis busts from Honest Ed’s – a Toronto staple sold at the iconic department store for nearly thirty years – 10 local artists who dabble in the macabre are celebrating Presley’s place in the afterlife with the…

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Q&A: Luis Ceriz, owner, Suspect Video

Q&A: Luis Ceriz, owner, Suspect Video

Suspect Video & Culture opened 20 years ago this month, catering to Toronto’s cult film community in the pre-Internet, pre-DVD era. What kind of changes have you seen? The biggest shift is the amount of graphic detail in movies that you never would’ve gotten away with in the 1990s and certainly not in the 1980s. I remember having to import uncut copies of Dario Argento’s Suspiria from the U.S. because it was just impossible to…

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Historian’s app puts old Toronto photos at your fingertips

Historian’s app puts old Toronto photos at your fingertips

ZeitagTO app aims to pull local history out of government archives and into the hands of those who are curious to see the Toronto that was. Looking west at the intersection of Queen and Bay, you see the grand Shea’s Hippodrome theatre. Various storefronts line the street. A newsboy waves the morning edition. But remove your iPad from sight and the cold truth of modern-day reality returns. Those buildings no longer exist, demolished during the…

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The polka dot time machine

The polka dot time machine

Thanks to the Internet, you no longer have to suffer the indignity of asking friends if a favourite childhood television show actually existed or whether it was a figment of your imagination. This week, TVOntario joined the growing fold of public broadcasters offering a free streaming archive of vintage programming. The publicly funded station, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last September, has digitized nearly 10,000 hours of content — “merely the tip of the iceberg,”…

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