The Ridge – the film, and maybe where Toronto is politically

March 26, 2014 | By

RidgeJust posted is a review of Pura vida – The Ridge, Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina’s 2012 film chronicling an international effort to rescue a climber from a ridge on Nepal’s deadly Mount Annapurna.

The film screened last week at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema for members to launch an awareness of the looming Hot Docs Film Festival which runs April 24th to May 4th. I’ll be covering screenings again this year, and I’m really looking forward to the eclectic subject matter that’s typical of the festival’s offerings.

(And yes: I’m still working on my experimental documentary, BSV 1172, which is taking a bit longer to finish due to assorted circumstances not unique to filmmakers juggling time, finances, and other projects simultaneously.  I’ll post an update around mid-April on the doc’s readiness for festival submissions, since it seems the status of video stores alive / dying / and soon-to-be-dead is becoming rather attractive, if not popular with nostalgic filmmakers.)

Many Hot Docs film reviews from the old website have been integrated into the new database, and a keyword search will bring up both Editor’s Blogs and reviews (although please note that all pre-2014 blogs will still denote the integrated reviews with a hyperlinked “[M]”).

As menti0ned in a prior post, the Editor’s Blog is no longer housed at, since that site’s become an online C.V. with links to what I write, what I podcast, the films currently being made, and multimedia skills for hire. Interested & curious parties should check out, and if you need raw interview footage cleaned up and edited for podcasting or archiving, that service is available.

Lastly: Did you know there was a debate between our mayoral candidates this evening? Nope, neither did I. Fine job in planting and re-planting reminders in various media outlets, especially those not part of the City TV umbrella.

I did catch the bulk of the debate, which was a disaster in format. An audience of journalists, candidates moderated by Gord Martineau, and a stupid cow bell that chimed in after a time limit had been reached. There’s an episode in Borgen: Season 3 in which the new station manager revamps the federal presidential candidates’ debate into a loud game show format with an intrusive show buzzer. That’s what tonight’s debate resembled.

In terms of performance, Olivia Chow played the caring politician card with a few clear jabs at Rob Ford, John Tory was articulate and smooth but also didn’t go for any direct attacks and often used his time to thump policies instead of directly answering questions, Karen Stintz seemed awkward and largely focused on identifying herself with what she believes is a ready-made transit plan, David Soknacki was astute with facts and held is own against Rob Ford when the big bozo lied about budget facts and figures, and Ford / Bozo just repeated the same phrases over and over again about saving this, being the only person to do that, etc.

This may be the way any further debates and interviews with Ford will play out: same old slogans ‘rewound and rewound’ because that’s apparently enough to sate his support base.

Ford was deemed the most organized and presentable performer in the debate’s wrap-up by a 680 News commentator, which is sad, and not true. No one ‘won’ because it wasn’t a debate but a game show where people yelled over each other’s bluster, and only at the end did a reporter (Cynthia Mulligan) ask Ford to address being a crack smoking chief magistrate currently under investigation by the police (to which he replied “People have heard the story. It’s rewind, rewind, rewind”).

No one was dignified, and any real answers wanted by the public emerged in the post-debate media scrums, or at least with those candidates who hung around long enough to answer questions.

Among the mass of tweets that fluttered by within seconds during the debate, Councillor Josh Matlow said it best at the end of the night: “While you may have decided which mayoral candidate you’ll vote against, please consider thoughtfully who you’ll support to lead Toronto.”

Missed the debate? Well, it’s at the City TV website in parts, and Torontoist posted a lie-by-lie breakdown, but you may need an antidote to the queasiness. This baby bunny photo might work.

Coming next:  Soundtrack reviews.





Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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