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AFF films for freaks and geeks

Arts LogoMovies are for summer. Everybody knows that. So, in the fall, balls-to-the-wall action blockbusters (the actual phrase two separate friends used to describe The Avengers to me) get replaced by melancholic Oscar contenders—with a subsequent drop in ticket sales. Likewise, at the start of another semester, we trade the more immediate visual medium for the sober gravitas of ink and word. However you spell it, you’re going to have to pawn your Green Lantern costume to make that initial down payment on an Economics 101 textbook.

But film shouldn’t be limited to shitty sequels and Bourning formulas—should it? As far as studios are concerned we vote with our feet, and cultural norms are decided by impulse—like when the loudest mouth in a group of frosh-week buddies dictates the matinee. More likely, student entertainment dollars are spent on cheap drinks at the Dome (Lord, I hope you don’t do this) because movies are something you do when you don’t want to think, right?

This dooming of the box-office to the lowest common denominator ensures only the most ludicrous, chartable scripts have a chance of getting studio support (*cough* Expendables 2).  It’s no surprise Hollywood has become a breeding ground for the worst kind of imagination-eating sharks (add “3D” to those last three words, and you’d have a surefire hit).

But in Halifax, something happens every September that masses of hungover students seem to ignore. I’m talking about The Atlantic Film Festival. This is where you’ll find all the smart, weird and underfunded movies that don’t have the backing of a major studio. Without performance at film festivals, some of these gems don’t get the audience they deserve.

So grow some cojones, and take that cute girl/guy in your new international literature course to an intelligent festival movie. Because everyone knows pen and ink aren’t the only visual mediums distracting you from your textbook mortgage.

Here’s a quick preview of some interesting titles:

Rebelle: Friday Sept. 14 at 7:05 p.m. at Empire Theatres – Park Lane (5657 Spring Garden Rd)

The brutal and lyrical journey of a girl from the Congo, kidnapped and forced to become a child soldier.

Beauty is Embarrassing: Saturday Sept. 15 at 12:00 p.m. at Empire Theatres – Park Lane

Follow artist Wayne White as he moves from small-town puppeteer to New York painter.

Midnight’s Children: Saturday Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Oxford Theatre (6408 Quinpool Rd)

For some international je ne sais quoi, check out this adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s massive novel into a brisk film helmed by Indian-born Canadian director Deepa Metha.

Shorts 3: Monday Sept. 17 at 7:05 p.m. at Empire Theatres – Park Lane

Shorts include such weirdly awesome titles as My Baklava, Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, and The Kook. How could you resist?

For more listings visit

Andrew Mills, Arts Editor
Andrew Mills, Arts Editor
Andrew Mills was Arts Editor of the Gazette for Volume 145.

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