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Hot Docs Reviews: Rhythm Nation

Boy Cheerleaders
Fri, Apr 29
9:00 PM, Cumberland 2
Sun, May 1 4:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
Sun, May 8 6:45 PM, Isabel Bader Theatre

I didn't expect this film to be one of my favourites among those films I had screened for Hot Docs. I prejudged this little film, thinking it would be a cute, feel-good piece about a brave little troop of cheerleading boys trying to make it in a girls' world. Well, Boy Cheerleaders is that, but it's also about boys trying to make sense of fathers leaving, and mother's who have made their own mistakes in life and are trying to do better for their boys while living in a cash-poor part of Leeds, England. Little Harvey (pictured left) is the "Billy Elliot" of the film, and I can't tell you how hard it was for me to watch him holding his blue ice cream cone and dreaming that like the Dad in Billy Elliot, his estranged father will some day see him dance and be proud of him. As adults we know this will never happen for Harvey, and we wish we could save him that hurt, but this is a documentary, not fiction feature, and divorce is a harsh fact of life. Thankfully, these boys have an inspiring coach (also raised by a singe mom) whose tough love and dedication uses cheerleading as a conduit for teaching the boys some life lessons and happiness.

A Simple Rhythm
Fri, Apr 29
7:00 PM, The Royal Cinema
Sat, May 7 6:30 PM, Cumberland 3
Sun, May 8 3:45 PM, The ROM Theatre

It's evident in the beautifully composed images in A Simple Rhythm, that director, Tess Girard is a visual artist. Her cinematography is such that I could easily have watched this film without sound, which is ironic since the movie deals with sounds and the rhythms of life that connect us to each other and to nature. This thoughtful and philosophical film would have benefited more if Girard hadn't also done the narration. I don't find her voice a good match for the film. Maybe there is a scientific explanation for my reaction as there is for other themes examined in this film. Perhaps one of the mathematicians, composers, consciousness thinkers and other interview subjects can give me the answer as to why my rhythms don't synchronize with Girard's voice as well as they do to the rhythm and beauty of her images, and the exquisite score by Juno Award winning musician Charles Spearin and Ohad Benchetrit. Your comments on this film would be gratefully appreciated as this film is one that warrants post-screening discussions.

For complete Hot Docs (April 28 - May 8, 2011)info please visit:
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Anonymous said…
Boy Cheerleaders breaks my heart but I loved this doc soooooooo much. Thanks for the Hot Doc tips.

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