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The Ex-Press shares face-time with the movers, shakers and bakers of pop culture.

Lawren Harris resurrected on screen

#VIFF16: Peter Raymont and Nancy Lang on Lawren Harris The Group of Seven founder rides a wave of rediscovery with the bow of a revealing and personal Harris documentary from Peter Raymont and Nancy Lang that gives the viewer a portal into the painter's time

Claude Joli-Coeur’s big plans for a better board

Movies: Interview with Claude Joli-Coeur National Film Board Chair reaffirms original vision of 'unity through diversity' with new gender parity policy but that's just the beginning of some bold moves, including a new brick and mortar headquarters in Montreal By Katherine Monk VANCOUVER –  “If the National Film Board were a person, how would you describe their identity?” Claude Joli-Coeur reflects for a second with a serious look hazing over his gentle features. Then, in an instant, a gleeful burst: “Leonard Cohen!” After serving at the board for 12 years, currently as Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson for the NFB, Joli-Coeur has spent a few all-nighters in the company of his current passion. He has the type of insight that only comes from intimacy. “The personality. The sparks. The surprise. The iconic… He grew up in Montreal and achieved world renown. He was open to different questions of identity…. Everything, eh?” For Joli-Coeur, a ...

The Daniels: Boys with Feelings

Interview: Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, aka 'The Daniels' The directing team behind award-winning music videos felt their first feature should take some risks, so they paired a farting corpse with a man bent on suicide in Swiss Army Man By Katherine Monk Artsy has never been so fartsy. In the new movie Swiss Army Man, Daniel Radcliffe plays a corpse, Paul Dano plays a suicidal introvert and flatulence assumes a central, life-affirming role in the denouement. Welcome to the world according to ‘The Daniels’ — a unique corner of the universe occupied by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, two first-time feature directors who found themselves in the Sundance spotlight last January when festival director John Cooper pronounced their debut feature, Swiss Army Man, one to watch at the opening press conference. The Ex-Press caught up with the dynamic duo (who are also responsible for award-winning music videos such as DJ Snake and Lil' Jon's Turned Down for What?) during a ...

Paul McCartney biography blows up Beatles lore

Book Review: Paul McCartney: The Life by Philip Norman When Philip Norman first wrote about The Beatles in his 1981 book Shout, he earned Paul's wrath by claiming John Lennon was "three-quarters" of the band, but 25 years later he sets the creative record straight by hailing Paul as the boundary-breaking Beatle

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau shuns royal treatment

Interview: Susanne Bier and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau get A Second Chance He sports prosthetic golden fingers to play the role of Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones, but Nikolaj Coster-Waldau hates getting a fake hand for any performance, which is why he's grateful for the firm grip of fellow Dane Susanne Bier By Katherine Monk TORONTO—In the opening episode of Game of Thrones, his character pushed a young boy from a window without a hint of remorse. But put a fussy newborn in Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s arms, and the handsome Dane turns into a human pacifier. “It didn’t matter what the babies were doing… if Nikolaj picked them up, they would almost immediately fall asleep,” says director Susanne Bier, referring to the off-camera vibe on her latest film, A Second Chance (En chance til). A relatively small Danish-language drama about a police officer who makes a life-altering decision with good intentions, A Second Chance has been making a slow pass through North American ...

Muhammad Ali: The Greatest, in All Ways, Always

Tribute: Muhammad Ali No one can quantify the extent of outrage and villification that spewed down on Ali when he turned his back on everything American. Yet, with everything to lose, Ali stood up for his rights as a black man, loudly and unabashedly. By Rod Mickleburgh A tough week for us sports fans of another generation. Losing two great heroes of our youth: Muhammad Ali, and now, Gordie Howe (he never changed his name to Gordon..). This is about the champ. It’s been said many, many times, but it remains true. Never again will we see the likes of Muhammad Ali. “For all you kids out there”, it’s difficult to convey just how dominant a figure he was during those first 20 years he reigned as by far the most beloved and admired athlete in the world. Evidence of his unsurpassed skill and courage in the rink are easily found on YouTube. And most accounts written after Ali’s death relate in great detail his bold, in-your-face defiance of white America. He stuck it to ...

Tempest in a D-Cup

Interview: Tempest Storm, Icon of Burlesque Valued for her physical appearance in a world where women were denied a voice, Tempest Storm found safe harbour and social power with a little jiggle and a lot of courage By Jay Stone Annie Banks was born on Leap Year Day 88 years ago in rural Georgia, a beautiful young girl destined to have an unhappy childhood. Her stepfather tried to sexually abuse her. Her classmates teased her because she had a womanly figure even as a young teenager. She ran away from home at 14 to get married to her first of four husbands (the marriages variously lasted one night, two weeks, two years and 10 years.) She moved to Las Vegas to be a showgirl and got hired as an exotic dancer: she asked her first agent, “Do you think my busts are too big for this business?” It turns out that there was no such thing. After a while, the agent decided to give her a new, more exotic name, Sunny Day. “I’m not a Sunny Day,” she said, so the agent came up with ...

Rebecca Miller gets screwball

Interview: Rebecca Miller She may be the daughter of the man who penned Death of a Salesman, but Rebecca Miller reveals an undeniable talent for thoroughly goofy comedy in her latest film, Maggie's Plan By Katherine Monk Rebecca Miller’s intellectual pedigree cannot be argued: daughter of Pulitzer-winner Arthur Miller, graduate of Choate and Yale, and married to the towering dramatic talent named Daniel-Day Lewis. But speaking to Miller over the phone, the legacy of Willy Loman walks out the door and the inner goofball emerges. It’s a side of Miller that’s on full display in her latest work, Maggie’s Plan, a feature film that charmed audiences at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and opens theatrically this week. A full-on comedy that’s been drawing comparisons to Woody Allen’s witty dissections of the academic elite, Maggie’s Plan stars Greta Gerwig as a modern gal looking to enhance her life in a millennial way. Maggie wants to have a baby without ...

Whit Stillman loves powerful women

Interview: Whit Stillman on Love & Friendship The American filmmaker creates a fine comic weave using Jane Austen's material, Kate Beckinsale's sharp talents and his unique sense and sensibility for social satire By Katherine Monk “I really enjoy dominant, manipulative women. I find them very entertaining,” says Whit Stillman, his tone so matter-of-fact, it almost makes you laugh. Then again, that’s his charm. The director of Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco built a reputation as a cunning social satirist in the ‘90s for plucking the veil off human vanity to show us the pimples of truth. He also showed a preference for using powerful, insightful and somewhat self-absorbed females as the dainty hand behind his narrative tatting. It’s the reason why his latest endeavor, Love & Friendship, feels like such a natural stitch in Stillman’s oeuvre: It’s based on the work of Jane Austen, the godmother of social satire, a pioneer of female ...

Ben Wheatley’s attack of social vertigo

Interview with Ben Wheatley The Down Terrace director climbs to new cinematic heights in High-Rise, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard's book about class wars unfolding in a concrete tower - and we haven't even mentioned the stuff with Scorsese   By Katherine Monk VANCOUVER – “If I had to draw something right now, I would draw a cross face. I can draw them quite well,” says film director Ben Wheatley, revealing a secret talent – and maybe, just a hint of repressed hostility. It’s hard to read his face. Half-covered in facial hair and wearing a look of unmistakable fatigue, the director of Sightseers, Down Terrace, A Field in England, the new feature High-Rise and a forthcoming Martin Scorsese-produced thriller called Free Fire looks like a prisoner who just sat down in the warden’s office: Present, honest, but not altogether enthusiastic. This is something he has to do. When you make a movie with a studio, they expect you to hit the road and talk about ...