There’s a lot happening in Whitehorse at local community venues for film this upcoming week.
The Alpine Film Night series returns with a powerful documentary, the Yukon Film Society highlights two features in its Fire Hall Films series, and local filmmaker Max Fraser has scheduled a special showing of six short documentaries.
Look at What the Light Did Now is the first of the two Yukon Film Society features. It’s a chronicle of what went into the making of Canadian singer-songwriter Feist’s new Grammy-nominated album The Reminder.
It features concert scenes, interviews and glimpses of a video director who conducts fireworks, puppet workshops, a crumbling French mansion, and segments with various of Feist’s collaborators, such as composer Gonzales.
The film has recently received favourable reception at London, England’s Raindance Film Festival and at a special gala showing at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum last month.
Tales From the Golden Age is a 2009 Romanian film that is actually six vignettes, from six different directors.
Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, whose Communist government ruled the country for 25 years until it was deposed by a popular uprising in 1989, liked to refer to his reign as the golden era for Romania. In actuality, it was a time of severe repression, starvation and no less than two million political assassinations.
The film is a bittersweet satire of life under the dictator, with each episode portraying a comic sort of urban legend, Romanian style. In The Legend of the Greedy Policeman for instance, it’s Christmas time and the local custom is to feast on pork, but the stores are all empty.
A farmer brings pork to the celebration, but it comes in the form of a live pig, to show that the meat is fresh. The problem of how to slaughter a pig in the middle of the night without alerting your hungry neighbours, much less the police, meets with a novel solution.
Constantine’s Sword, the Alpine Film Night selection, is a screen adaptation of a best-selling 2001 book by the same name, written by James P. Carroll, a former Catholic priest, and directed by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Oren Jacoby with Carroll’s collaboration.
The title refers to the pivotal point in Church history in the fourth century when the Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity as the official state religion of what was to become the Holy Roman Empire.
The film details how Constantine was victorious when he went into battle with his troops’ shields emblazoned with the sign of the Christian cross, and how the motto In Hoc Signo Vinces (by this sign shall you conquer) came to personify the degree to which Christianity and militarism have come to support each other down through the ages ever since.
It’s a hard-hitting look at how church-sanctioned violence has been turned against Jews, Muslims and others, and examines Pope Pius XII’s tacit support of the Holocaust, the role of Christian evangelical churches in proselytizing within the ranks of US armed forces, and other examples of bellicose church and state collaboration.
Whitehorse resident Max Fraser toured various European Second World War battle sites last summer, video camera in hand. The results of his journeys are distilled into six moving short films that Fraser calls his Documentaries of Remembrance.
Featured are poignant interviews with relatives of Canadian war veterans, and footage of memorial sites in Italy, France and Belgium. Fraser will spotlight his documentaries at a free showing at the new Legion branch next week.
Constantine’s Sword plays at 7:30 pm Friday, December 3, upstairs at the Alpine Bakery. Look At What the Light Did Now and Tales From the Golden Age play at 7:00 and 8:45 pm respectively Wednesday, December 8 at the Old Fire Hall.
Documentaries of Remembrance plays at 7:00 pm Wednesday, December 8 at the new Royal Canadian Legion Branch, 503 Steele Street.