HotDocs 2020

Several years have passed since I last published any reviews on this site from Toronto’s two main film festivals: TIFF and HotDocs.

This year, HotDocs (which would have already ended by now on its normal April-May schedule), is going completely online. Moreover, there is a more generous window, four weeks, to get through most of the films, and this leads to a less hectic schedule (not to mention the opportunity to see more films).

This article will grow as I add more reviews, and I will add them at the top of this article so that readers can check back and avoid scrolling through stuff they have already seen.

Having purchased an all-you-can-eat pass, and with more screening time, I will be streaming a lot. This is on top of the rich diet of opera, theatre, concerts and recitals that are also available online.

All that said, the online experience is not like actually “being there” in a theatre enjoying and reacting along with tends, or hundreds, or even thousands of people and watching the artists as they react to the audience. Those feelings will come back some day, and there will a big warm reunion over and over.

Meanwhile, one doc from the festival has already screened on the CBC, and I will include a review here.

My rating scale:

  • ***** Absolutely the best. Often awarded retroactively once I have seen enough films to get a sense of which one(s) actually deserve this.
  • **** Very good, definitely worth seeing.
  • *** Good but with some reservations.
  • ** Poor, possibly a film with the makings of something better that went astray.
  • * Don’t bother
  • Unrated: Bad enough that I gave up before the end, or should have.

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