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Film

DO DONKEYS ACT?

Willem Dafoe narrates this strange and surprisingly beautiful Hot Docs Festival favourite about a group of donkeys recovering from abuse in a sanctuary. In entrancingly rhythmic prose, Dafoe gives a new perspective on the donkey—deterring us from adding human values to their behaviour with subversive and mind-bending words. An attempt to restore dignity to these disparaged animals, Do Donkeys Act?becomes increasingly attuned to their point of view, asking us to try to see the world as they do—to give the donkey its due.

LONG TIME RUNNING

In 2015, The Tragically Hip’s iconic frontman Gord Downie revealed he was battling incurable brain cancer. The following year the band set out on a final tour across Canada that captured hearts across the nation. In support of their album Man Machine Poem, The Tragically Hip went on to play 15 shows culminating in a historic final concert in Kingston broadcast on CBC to over 10 million viewers.

EX LIBRIS: NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

Step inside the world renowned New York Public Library and explore its many facets, from newspaper archives to photo collections to after school classes to excerpts from talks featuring Elvis Costello and Patti Smith. Ex Libris also follows the high level staff as they try to balance public and private funding and face the challenges of bringing the library into the 21st century. Legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman has made a career of studious dissections of institutions but this feels closer to a love letter.

CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER

Is there a more romantic image of a writer than that of someone hunched over their typewriter passionately working away, the clicks and dings sounding off as they go? Discover extensive collections of trusty typewriters, all carefully selected by brand and generation, curated by those who are not so quick to shrug off old technology. Many artists and writers who still swear by the machine—among them Tom Hanks, John Mayer and the late Sam Shepard—share their thoughts on its value as a tool and source of inspiration.

SIDEMEN: LONG ROAD TO GLORY

Blues musicians Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith and guitarist Hubert Sumlin may not be household names—but they played pivotal roles in shaping rock and roll as we know it, influencing legendary bands like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. As the “sidemen” behind Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, their sound is unmistakable. Director Scott D. Rosenbaum pays tribute to their musical genius in this doc narrated by comedian Marc Maron, bringing them together for their final live performances.

JERRY LEWIS: THE MAN BEHIND THE CLOWN

Pay tribute to the weird and wonderful Jerry Lewis, who died in August of this year. At one point, Lewis was the most famous funny-man in America, having risen quickly to the top of Hollywood through his hit act with Dean Martin. Then he took over the silver screen, starring in a number of comedies before stepping behind the camera himself to craft classics like The Bellboy and The Nutty Professor.

SCHOOL LIFE

This isn't Dead Poets Society, but it will fill you with the same zest for the power of education—and an excellent teacher. For John and Amanda Leyden, work as instructors at Headfort School over the past 46 years has been more than just any vocation. Within the walls of the school, they are caregivers and coaches, music managers and theatre directors. No matter if you’re an introverted recluse or an easily distracted troublemaker, in the eyes of John and Amanda, you belong.

RAT FILM

Baltimore is so full of rats that its garbage cans are designed according to how high a rat can jump. Home to the Black Lives Matter movement, the city is one of the most segregated in the U.S. With a sly and cutting approach, Rat Film examines the dismaying divide by turning its lens on to the rampant rodent population. Baltimore’s failure to control its "rat problem" reflects a systemic neglect that fosters desperate communities.

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