The Gimli Film Festival runs July 25-29. (Dave McKnight)
The Gimli Film Festival is now in full swing so we've invited our intrepid film reviewer Alison Gillmor to guide you through it.
With over 130 films on tap, including features, documentaries and shorts, the festival has all your cinematic tastes covered.
Organizers have mixed made-in-Manitoba films with world cinema, added some timely and topical docs, as well as offering 19 series of thematically-linked short works (one group rather piquantly titled "When Familial Love is Strained").
There's also a new program of genre flicks, with sci-fi, horror and retro rock'n'roll, as well as the ever-popular (and free!) beach series, where movies are projected onto an 11-metre screen that rises out of Lake Winnipeg.
Here are some of the documentaries on tap:
Chasing Ice: Heading into Inconvenient Truth territory, this urgent doc follows photographer James Balog, who believes that dry statistics about climate change aren't enough: People need visuals. Balog starts the Extreme Ice Project, which involves time-lapse photography of glaciers in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska, where incredible change is happening at an unprecedented rate. With breath-stoppingly beautiful photography, this film needs to be seen on the big screen.
Meet the Fokkens: Once you've met them, you won't forget them: The Fokkens are white-haired, identical-twin 70-year-old Dutch prostitutes. Louise has just retired, citing arthritis ("I couldn't get one leg over the other"), but Martine continues to work in Amsterdam's storied Red Light district.
The film sometimes skimps on background - including the changing nature of Holland's legalized prostitution trade - but is intimate and candid in its portrait of the two women. Following Martine's banal, workaday routines will really challenge the way you look at the sex trade - not to mention the way you look at old age. (One note: The film, rather like the Fokkens themselves, is cheery and charming, but do be prepared for frank talk and graphic sexual scenes.)
On the beach you can also catch these titles.
Take Shelter: The disaster movie scenario is given bracingly intelligent treatment by American filmmaker Jeff Nichols. Michael Shannon gives a stand-up, standout performance as Curtis, an average middle-American guy who has started to have terrifyingly real dreams of a catastrophic event. What makes the film almost unbearably suspenseful is that we're not sure whether this end-of-the-world nightmare is inside or outside Curtis's head, whether it's metaphorical or actual. Is it Curtis's modest American Dream of supporting his family, owning a home and working at a blue-collar job that's dying, decimated by the 2008 recession, or is it the whole world? (I don't want to risk a spoiler, but I will say that there's a point at which the screening venue and the storyline converge perfectly. Try not to scream.)
You can also catch the continuing Jaws saga. Having started last year with Steven Spielberg's scary-good 1975 shark flick, we're now heading to sequel territory with Jaws 2. (Does that mean that Jaws 4: The Revenge is just two years away? Yikes.) For family-friendly viewing, there's Spielberg's classic sci-fi fable E.T., along with the Elvis musical Blue Hawaii, which is either escapist beach fun or the beginning of the King's downward slide. (Or possibly both!)