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Film Pop 2010: Terminal City ricochet

Terminal City ricochet

Fans rock out at a show in a contested venue, in doc No Fun City

Vancouver-set doc about noise violations a cautionary tale, plus other Film Pop highlights

I can safely say that this year’s Film Pop is the best one yet, with several films that I’m pretty excited about. The Feist bio-doc Look at What the Light Did Now, which premieres at the fest, offers an incisive and personal look at the effects of success on an artist’s psyche. And someone (namely fellow film critic Malcolm Fraser) finally saw fit to make a doc about corpuses, called, aptly, Corpusse: Surrender to the Passion. There’s also a doc about Mogwai, and Dark Night of the Soul, a video installation of 13 clips directed by Jean Luc Della Montagna and Louis-Philippe Eno, with music by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, Vic Chesnutt and Iggy Pop, plus photos by David Lynch. Wow.

My coup de coeur for this year’s fest, though, is a terribly topical and extremely well-made doc called No Fun City, directed by Melissa James and Kate Kroll. I’m the opposite of proud to say that No Fun City is an appellation long given to my hometown of Vancouver, in reference to its Victorian-era noise and liquor bylaws that make it well nigh impossible to keep a music venue running in that Lotusland.

But James and Kroll’s doc is more than a video bitchfest – it’s a beautifully shot and insightful (if occasionally naive) examination of what it is, exactly, that makes it impossible for city authorities, bylaw enforcers and whiny condo owners to understand that the kids, they just want to have fun. That and the idea that any "world-class city," as Vancouver wants so badly wants to be, is only as good as its strategy for helping independent and engaged artists and communities entertain themselves and find places to gather. We see the closing of classic punk/metal venue the Cobalt (Subhumans played the last show before eviction), as well as the opening of another, contested room, the Rickshaw Theatre (Skinny Puppy played their first hometown show there in 19 years for opening night), on Hastings and Main, in the centre of the most contested neighbourhood in Canada. Moreover, No Fun City acts as a cautionary tale, since we Montrealers are presently beset with noise-violation snafus of our own and, God knows, the last thing we want is to be more like the ‘couv.

Film Pop
Sept. 29 to Oct. 3
www.popmontreal.com

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