Leonard Cohen and me: A reminiscence
By Jay Stone
Even if we stated our case very clearly and all those who held as we do came to our side, all of them, we would still be very few. -- Leonard Cohen, Parasites of Heaven
When he died last week his constituency emerged, thousands, millions perhaps, smitten, devoted, some with stories of how they had gone to his house in Montreal and he had made them egg salad sandwiches. He was gracious, modest, haunting, and with the key to something we thought was ours alone. “Have you ever noticed how private a wet tree is, a curtain of razor blades?,” he wrote (in A Cross Didn’t Fall On Me), and suddenly you did notice. A poem is something that everyone knows but no one ever said before.
I found him by accident. When I was a teenager, there was a copy of his first novel, The Favourite Game, on the bookshelf in my father’s den when we lived in north Toronto. I don’t know how it got there, but my father got a lot of books from publishers because he was on the ...
Bob Dylan don’t need Nobel, or stinking badge
Comment: On Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate
Looking back on a close encounter of the Dylan kind reveals a slightly rumpled honouree who has a hard time accepting praise, let alone the Nobel Prize
*Caution: This article contains a top-100 list of Bob Dylan songs.
By Rod Mickleburgh
In the winter of 1990, I waited with a handful of reporters and photographers in a grand salon of the Palais-Royal in Paris for Bob Dylan. More than 25 years ahead of the Nobel Prize people, the French had decided that Dylan’s lyrical prowess was worthy of the country’s highest cultural honour, Commandeur dans l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. T.S. Eliot was one of the first to receive the award in 1960. Borges followed in 1962. And now, following in the footsteps of Sean Connery (1987), it was Bob’s turn.
Finally, the gilded, ceiling-high white doors opened, and there he was, ambling into the opulent room, followed by France’s flamboyant minister of culture at the time, Jack Lang. He was ...
Life, death and Andrew Huculiak
People: Interview with Andrew Huculiak
Getting metaphysical with the first-time director of Violent means dipping a big toe into the cold, dark waters of existentialism and cozying up with Kierkegaard
By Katherine Monk
(October 19, 2016) VANCOUVER – A gentle drizzle falls outside, and the faint smell of woolly dampness mingles with the scent of fresh pie. It’s a typical fall day in Vancouver -- wet, dark, and cool -- the perfect backdrop for an interview with Andrew Huculiak.
Huculiak is the director behind Violent, easily one of the best first features in Canadian film history, but up until now, it was also one of the most difficult to access.
Shot two years ago in Norway with a unilingual Norwegian cast, Violent was invited to Cannes, picked up top prizes at The Vancouver International Film Festival and was shortlisted as Canada’s best foreign film Oscar submission. By all accounts and measures, it should have hit theatres nationwide.
Yet, it’s only now, two ...
Penetrating Helen Gurley Brown
Books: Not Pretty Enough - The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown
New biography of the woman who recreated Cosmopolitan as a vehicle of sexual empowerment reveals lifelong insecurities and a penchant for moisturizing with baking lard
New CBC sitcom exposes The Convenience Truth
People: Interview with Andrea Bang
The Vancouver star of Kim's Convenience says the first Canadian sitcom to feature Asian leads is about transcending ethnic stereotypes through human universals
By Katherine Monk
VANCOUVER – Andrea Bang thanks the Toronto Blue Jays. Not only did the team win the required games to advance, they pushed back the network premiere of her new show, Kim’s Convenience.
The new CBC comedy based on Ins Choi’s award-winning Fringe play airs tonight on the National Broadcaster, but it was originally slated to air last Tuesday – in the heat of the Blue Jays’ wildcard bid. The network wisely aired the ballgame instead, but Bang wasn’t depressed about the delay.
It gave her another week to mentally prepare while promos whetted the public appetite for a family comedy set in a Toronto convenience store.
“You don't want to compete with the Toronto Blue Jays,” says Bang, sitting down for a chat on a rainy day in Vancouver.
John Mann’s Unforgettable Spirit captured on camera
#VIFF16: Pete McCormack on Spirit Unforgettable
The Spirit of the West frontman was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's in 2014, spurring his good friend, fellow musician and film director Pete McCormack to follow him with a camera in a bid to document the one-way trip
Ed Gass-Donnelly hides a message up his sleeve
#VIFF16: Interview with Ed Gass-Donnelly
The Toronto-based director takes a pry bar to the basement door of family secrets in Lavender, a psychological thriller starring Abbie Cornish, Dermot Mulroney and Justin Long
By Katherine Monk
VANCOUVER – The man who made The Last Exorcism Part II is marked. Ed Gass-Donnelly rolls up his right sleeve in the firelight, and reveals two words written in deep indigo capital letters: “Find Beauty.”
“I’m not doing this to pay the bills,” says the Toronto-born director of Lavender, a psychological thriller unspooling at the Vancouver International Film Festival this week as part of the Altered States program.
“I have to remind myself of that… after making [The Last Exorcism Part II] I think I found new perspective,” he says, sitting back in a leather couch at the Sutton Place lounge.
“I appreciated the experience of coming out on 3000 screens. It was like ‘WOW!’ – 3000 screens at once is what you ...
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 ...