Monday, September 18, 2017

Dropped the ball

I saw another three movies last week, but just ran out of steam! Quick notes now that I've sort of recovered:
  • Luk'luk'I is the Musqueam word for the part of the world which is now Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. There's been a lot of gentrification of a lot of neighbourhoods in Vancouver, but the Downtown Eastside is still pretty miserable. This film has at its centre the final hockey game of the 2010 Olympic Games that were held in Vancouver, but deals with poor people way on the periphery: addicts, prostitutes, people with disabilities and HIV. A hybrid of documentary and scripted movie, not very hopeful... and there were even UFO's. I doubt it will be a big hit, but it was interesting.  
  • Dragonfly Eyes was one of the oddest movies I saw! It was entirely made up of CCTV footage. The story seemed to be made to include certain bits; I mean, why would you make your heroine work in a dairy farm except to include that great shot with the cow and the truck? Somehow, it all worked. There are bits in shops and fights in alleys and lots of dashcams showing road rage and crashes. That one I'd definitely see again and take all my friends. 
  • Lastly, I saw Faces Places. Lovely! (They seem to have taken down the film's page, but there is an interview.) Agnes Varda and JR travel around France taking pictures of people and making giant B&W prints which they paste up on walls, on barns, on stacks of shipping containers. Just talking to people, talking about art... a very wonderful film, and I'm not the only one who thinks so, as it won the People's Choice award for documentary. 
Next time, knitting!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three things on Thursday

Think Write Thursday seems to have become Three Things Thursday. Good, because I have three things to tell you about today, two movies and a sweater.

I decided to branch out into actual Hollywood movies, ones with movie stars, ones that might have that "Oscar buzz." So, Wednesday I ended up lining up on Yonge Street with constant panhandlers and traffic and construction up the street. And the theatre was one of our grandes dames, ornate and gilded, with really uncomfortable old seats! Ah, well.

Darkest Hour is the story of Churchill becoming Prime Minister in 1940. The army is getting squashed into Dunkirk, Chamberlain and his pals are wanting a negotiated peace, and it all ends up with "We will fight on the beaches." Stirring, of course, and Gary Oldman was amazing.

I went out the back door of the theatre, got a sandwich and a coffee and got back in the line for Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. This is a tittilating story of a psychology prof, his wife, and their research assistant, who all three strive to live happily ever after. There are some ups and downs, there is a golden lasso, and there is some great knitwear involved. It certainly piqued my interest in early Wonder Woman comics!

Because I finished my September hat before the festival even started, I began a sweater for Elaine. It is now much bigger than this, too big to carry around and knit on standing up.

It's the Surf Hoodie from Jane Gottelier and it is just stocking stitch for ever. I'm knitting it in the round, and I put a tiny little lace edge on the bottom. I've now got to the point where I need to think about sleeves, so I am just leaving it till next week to look at the pattern and sort that out.

I started a neck warmer in cotton/angora! Not stretchy at all, so we'll see how that works out. It keeps me occupied.

Today, two more kind of oddball movies, one tomorrow and that is it for me!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Montana and Jeannette

I had a plan, months ago, about how I was going to do TIFF this year. Pick a cinema, just see what was there! There are maybe 15 or 20 screens at TIFF, with several at a multiplex which I try to avoid, and four at the TIFF Bell Lightbox which I quite like. The closest single screen to me is at Jackman Hall in the Art Gallery of Ontario. A nice theatre with about 200 seats, a decent view from anywhere. So I concentrated on that venue as a way to narrow my choices down a bit. I tried not to get distracted by the big movie-star movies and I tried to cut down my dashing from one cinema to another. I ended up with about half my movies there, and on Tuesday I saw two there.

Montana is a story about a woman who goes back to her childhood home when her grandfather dies. She meets a neighbour, her uncle and other family members she hasn't seen for years. Complicated relationships all around. The cast was excellent. The director and cast were at the screening and it turns out they filmed this in the old home town, and even old home, of the writer/director! As an added bonus, I met a man in line who is involved with a group of schools in Israel. (His wife arrived as we were chatting, knitting in hand.)

Jeannette looked weird and wonderful, and it was... just crazy. For this showing I sat in the back of the hall, and I saw several people get up and leave during the movie. I'd love to know why! Too weird, wrong theology? Jeannette is the young Joan of Arc. She's troubled by the years of war, by English people coming and killing French people, desecrating French churches and, worst of all, taking the French harvest. She watches her sheep, she prays, sings, dances, walks in the river. Some saints come and do a little dance. Her uncle helps her, and does a little dance. Totally enjoyable and just nuts.

For some reason, the little girl who plays the young Jeannette was the only representative of the cast or crew at the Q&A. Maybe eight years old, speaks only French, not very chatty, so that was just another little weird thing. She thought Canada was "super" though, so that is good, I guess!

Today, movie star day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September's hat

I always like to have a hat to knit while waiting in line at TIFF. This year, however, I started a wee bit too early, and finished it before the festival even started. Heavens, I'll need to make another post about the thing I actually am knitting in line!

This is another vintage pattern, a hat called, appropriately, Spiral.  It comes in three sizes, and lists needles to use but no gauge. I think that really with this yarn I could have used a bit smaller needle or even made the teen size. The hat fits but could be a bit snugger.

All the pretty colours. Too bad that nice bright blue is sort of hidden under the brim when it's worn. 

You knit the spiral brim, then a bit of ribbing, then continue with the spiral. Very nice. The pattern says to knit the hat flat and seam it, and if you do that you just knit an odd number of rows of ribbing and then work the new right side on the old wrong side, so that both right sides show when the brim is folded up. I was knitting in the round and so there is a tiny hole somewhere where I just turned the whole thing around.

This selfie business is never as easy as it looks.

Monday's movies

I saw two movies on Monday: Our People Will Be Healed and Of Sheep and Men.

Our People Will Be Healed is made by Alanis Obomsawin, who has made dozens of films and is now in her 80s. It looks at the school, mainly, in the northern Manitoba Native community of Norway House. The school is big, new, well-funded and apparently well-run. The kids learn science, and reading, and Native Studies, and fiddling, and all the things.

The scenery was beautiful and the movie was very positive. It was a bit disconcerting, though, that they talked to cheery young men on their way to university who said they don't do drugs or drink, but didn't talk about the dropouts who maybe do. With less than half of the kids who start high school finishing, there is clearly another side of the story that we are not getting. There were references in passing to gangs, but we weren't shown anything about that, either. And the thing that really bugged me: it was never winter there in that northern Manitoba town. I can see what she wanted to do, and that people in the town and the school are trying hard, but it's difficult to see how 60 kids out of 200 graduating is a triumph, without more background.

I had another movie right after that at a different theatre, so I thought I didn't have time to stay for the Q&A. I might have learned some of this history there. As it turned out, an Algerian film about sheep didn't have a huge lineup and I could have walked in 5 minutes before it started. Ah well, live and learn.

Of Sheep and Men just looked interesting and was at a convenient place and time. I was a bit surprised when I found out how much the film was about sheep fighting! Who even knew? Along with the head-banging of sheep, there is buying and selling. Everyone around wants a ram to sacrifice for Eid al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice) so we get to see a huge market, a field full of sheep and men. 

It was just the sort of movie I wanted to see this year: a modest film, subtitled, unexpected, not my usual (though it is a documentary, and might just come back to our cinema), The director said he was taking it back to Algeria to show next week and I'd be interested to see how it goes there.

Today, two more! And fiction, for a change.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A sock before a movie

I'm going to two more movies today, but have a wee moment to show you my sock. I only made the one, and will perhaps try out another vintage pattern for the other one! Arthur rarely wears matching socks anyways.

The yarn is really dark navy blue and cooked-shrimpy-orange-peachy. These were taken inside in the evening and look sort of washed out. And I can't redo them, because he has gone off with it.

The pooling over the heel is crazy! Half of the heel is blue and half is pink. I don't usually use this sort of indie-dyed yarn; Regia sock yarn doesn't do this quite so noticeably! 


You can sort of see the cables if you try hard! I think my next attempt with this yarn might involve a different sort of interesting pattern, or at least a contrasting heel. 

This was July's vintage accessory. So I can finally cross that chore off my list. I've also finished September's and will show you that soon.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Two down: TIFF 2017

The Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing.

Friday I saw The Final Year, about the foreign policy team of Barack Obama's government in 2016. Sad ending, of course, but really, really interesting.

That's Samantha Power, right there! (second from the left) The best part of the program was listening to her and Ben Rhodes (left) talk after the movie. They, of course, were disappointed and shocked at last year's election results, and see friends in the civil and foreign service struggling to work in the new government. But somehow they seemed optimistic that people will return to "caring and trying," as they said. This movie certainly showed them caring and trying.

Saturday I actually bought a full-price ticket to see a program of shorts. All these films dealt with people trying, and interacting, and sometimes succeeding, sometimes not.

All the directors of the shorts
Fifteen was about a boy in Cairo whose parents have been in an accident, and he finds himself looking after his baby brother. (We were assured that they used a doll for the motorcycle scene!) For Nonna Anna was a really quite moving picture of a family: the old grandma who needs help with a lot of personal care; the mom, busy but loving; the girl Chris, born Christopher, who is smart and patient and honest. The President's Visit is about Lebanon, and politics, and people. Bird deals with parents and caring and freedom.... Others in the program were Grandmother (sad) and Still Water Runs Deep (also sad). Drop by Drop was animated, and a bit sad...  Creatura Dada was not sad!

Before I went to the movie, we had a walk along King Street with all the fans and maybe even movie stars (whom we didn't recognize if they were there!) and people lining up to have their pictures taken in front of the TIFF sign. Note the lineup at the right! So we just took a picture of the back of the sign...

But we can flip it and if you don't look at the sign in the background, it's fine.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Three things

On this Think Write Thursday we are to share three things off our to-do list. Here goes!

  1. Figure out how to have a perfectly cooked roast chicken dinner here tomorrow when I am out all afternoon
  2. Knit a sweater while standing in lines
  3. Clean the house
Number 1 is the most challenging, I think. My brother is popping in today and staying for a couple of days. Tonight he's out for dinner, but tomorrow is the perfect opportunity for us all to have a nice meal together. TIFF starts tonight and I am going to see The Final Year tomorrow afternoon. So, I get everything set up in the morning, leave the chicken in the pan in the fridge, Elaine gets home from school, takes chicken out of the fridge, puts it in the oven exactly the right amount of time before everyone else gets home. Yeah, it'll work... (I realize there are lots of people who manage to make dinner every night although they are out all afternoon! Privilege...)

The second item on the list is also a stretch for me. Usually I knit a hat while standing in lines at TIFF, but I cast on this year's hat days ago and just tried out the pattern... and finished it already. What I am keen on now is a big ol' sweater for Elaine, which I am knitting in the round, so my project bag will be a bit bigger than usual! Two colours, but I hope that since I'm doing wide stripes I'll really only have to carry one colour per day. Maybe? 

And that third item is just the constant that is always on the list. I'll get to it some day. 

I could have added "write blog" on this list. Without prompts like Think Write Thursday my blogging is pretty erratic, so I am glad to have it, although I don't always do it. It is some work for the organizers to come up with something every week, so thanks to Carole and Kat. Go see what other people have on their lists, here