Movie News

Once thought unfilmable, the musical classic of Les Misérables has transcended the stage onto the silver screen.

Raising awareness through film

By

TORONTO - In Mervi Junkkonen’s After Life: Four Stories of Torture, we are told the plight of four survivors seeking refuge in Finland but never finding complete peace of spirit.

Their story is one of 12 “inspiring and heartbreaking” films playing this month at the seventh Amnesty International Reel Awareness Human Rights Film Festival, running at Toronto’s Carlton Cinema Nov. 15-18.

“Each film was chosen because they focus on a specific Amnesty International concern or priority campaign,” said festival co-ordinator Elena Dumitru.

Amnesty International is a global movement to protect and promote human rights.

The festival kicks off with A Whisper to a Roar, a film shot over three years about democracy activists in five countries — Egypt, Malaysia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

“It’s a positive film, it’s uplifting,” said Dumitru.

Festival organizers say they always try to begin with a film that is not well-known.

“It’s a film that looks at activists, at people who are doing the work our volunteers do every day,” she said. “So we hope it will be an inspiration to our own members and to the public to take action on human rights issues, get involved, do more.”

The festival’s two main goals are awareness and engagement. So at the Carlton Cinema there will also be an action centre where festival-goers can find out how to become involved with Amnesty International.

“We still find that people are surprised when they come and see a film and they find out about the specific human-rights violation,” said Dumitru. “Many times the reaction is ‘Oh my God, I didn’t know that this was happening.’ ”

But films like After Life demonstrate how it is possible for suffering to go unnoticed and ignored by many.

Loneliness, isolation, depression, anger and helplessness are all expressed in the steady voices of the men featured.

There is Kebi, who is fighting deportation; Serge, whose will to live hinges on seeing his three surviving children again; Musa, who spends less time at home because he fears being rough with his two kids; and Hector, the artist who found it difficult at first to paint anything beautiful.

“Problems are not like clothes that you can take off and wash,” says Musa.

Their faces are never fully visible, at times blurred, with the only exception being the elderly Hector who has had 40 years to settle in the country.

The film is intentionally often out of focus. It’s as if the lives the men are living now are mere dreams, as if they are really still imprisoned in their home countries, as if the world around them is in focus while they are not.

As the men speak about the real life nightmares they suffered and the memories that still haunt them at night, the moviegoer will see extreme close ups of eyes, lips and hands. These images make the men’s existence seem concrete and yet still keeps their identities anonymous. They each could be almost any immigrant walking the cold streets of Finland.

“This is an outstanding lineup of films that... show deeply compelling personal struggles against difficult odds,” said Dumitru in a press release.

Each man’s deep, contemplative thoughts and reflections, the real draw of After Life, can be seen on Nov. 18.

For more on the festival, see www.aito.ca/reelawareness.

Catholic Movie Reviews - The Amazing Spider-Man, Ted, Magic Mike, Stella Days & more

By

The latest adaptation of the Marvel Comics favourite Spider-Man hits theatres today. We've also got reviews for some of the other latest releases including Ted and Magic Mike.

Catholic Movie Reviews - Brave, Rock of Ages, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter & more

By

This week sees the release of the new Pixar movie Brave and a new fun take on the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.

Catholic Movie Reviews - Prometheus, Madagascar 3

By

Ridley Scott's Alien "prequel" is finally arriving in theatres, does it live up to the hype? And if you're wondering what the gang of the Madagascar movies have been up to, then you're in look as part three in the series hits theatres.

Catholic Movie Reviews - Snow White and the Huntsman, Chernobyl Diaries, Crooked Arrows

By

This week's big release is another modern re-telling of the classic Snow White fairytale. Is it worth your $13?

Catholic Movie Reviews - Men in Black 3, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

By

The Men in Black franchise is back after ten years, can it topple The Avengers from the top of the box office? Elsewhere we also have a review of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the new film about seven elderly Brits who travel to India.

Catholic Movie Reviews - The Dictator, Battleship, What to Expect When You're Expecting

By

The Avengers is still sitting on top of the box office charts. Can the new Sacha Baron Cohen comedy dethrone it?

Catholic Movie Reviews - The Perfect Family & Tim Burton's Dark Shadows

By

The Perfect Family has received a lot of coverage in the Catholic media for it's depiction of Catholic women, is it worth your time? Elsewhere Tim Burton's blockbuster Dark Shadows reboot looks to knock The Avengers off the top of the box office.

 

Catholic movie reviews - Marvel's The Avengers

By

This week's big release is expected to set weekend box office records. Is it worth your time?

Avenegrs1

The Avengers

By Adam Shaw Catholic News Service

NEW YORK - Seemingly destined to haul in wads of cash at the box office, the ensemble adventure "Marvel's The Avengers" (Disney) will not disappoint fans of the comic books on which it's based. But it may prove problematic for the parents of some excited youngsters anxious to ride the juggernaut.

The film has a long pedigree that can ultimately be traced back to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's original comics series from 1963 (Lee serves the screen version as an executive producer).

Familiar with controversy, 'Catholic Oscars' honor their heritage

By

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - At the 19th annual "Catholic Oscars," it wasn't only the honorees who were in the spotlight -- but the controversy that their selection had generated.

Catholics in Media Associates -- which presents the awards each year -- is known for having "questionable, even controversial" honorees, said founding member Barbara Gangi, honorary chairwoman of the event. "Even among our own group!" she added.