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So many miles 

Patti Smith, Eva Madden and One Week

A splitting headache took me out of the afternoon screening of Patti Smith: Dream of Life early, but what I saw I enjoyed. I know my fellow bloggers were there in the darkness, so I'll let them take this one, as they got to see more of it than I did. I'll say that the non-linear, fragmented image approach allows for a more true understanding of the forthright artistry of the punk priestess, the only sense of what time of Smith's life we're in depends on the age of her kids and the streaks of white in her hair. I think this is a case of approach and subject coming together seamlessly, so kudos to first-time director Steven Sebring.

The only gripe, and it's with the write-up in the festival guide: "1970s alternative music movement?" What the hell is that? It was called PUNK ROCK, folks, look it up. Patti Smith: Dream of Life plays on Friday at 7pm at the Oxford.

Today I caught up with filmmaker Eva Madden , who is presenting her script Sweet Nothing as a performance piece, Friday at 1pm in the Bluenose Room on the 8th floor of the Delta Hotel.

"I've been rehearsing with the actors for this," says Madden, when asked what she's been up to. "And I've been going to some films. I liked Down to the Dirt. It was a real auteur film."

Madden's script for Sweet Nothing, the story of a Nova Scotia woman's return home after years in New York City, is well on its way to seeing production. With development money from the Harold Greenberg fund, Madden brought well-regarded local producer Bill Niven and his Idlewild Films on board. The script is moving into its second draft now, and she says she's learned a lot from workshopping it with actors for this performance, which was done with a script by Daniel MacIvor last year.

"I've been rewriting as we've been rehearsing," she says. "We read it through once and we discovered the ending wasn't working. So I went and rewrote it."

The cast includes Jody Richardson—he plays Francey in Down To The Dirt—as well as Andria Wilson and Michael McPhee—who are also busy performing their play about bullying, In Pink, around the province. Rounding out the performance's cast are Josh MacDonald and surfer-stunt person-unicycler-actor-renaissance woman Beth Amiro.

Of course, this isn't the only thing Madden has going on. Besides the long-awaited documentary on Amelia Curran, she has another script, Forever 15, about a highschooler, Lucy, who's trapped at that age for all time since she's a vampire. And then she falls in love with a human boy. Madden was just at Pitch This, a Toronto International Film Festival program where she found producers were really looking for genre projects, because they're an easy sell internationally and they don't require stars to get audiences. Keep that in mind, young writers.

Thursday night found me back at The Oxford for One Week. This is a really sweet Canadian film, one that manages to develop and maintain its tone throughout, starring Joshua Jackson as a young man on the verge of getting married (to the lovely Lianne Balaban) when he discovers he has terminal cancer. This sends him on a cross-Canada voyage astride a classic Norton motorcycle. Narrated by the dry, warm tones of Campbell Scott, the film is mostly a light, funny ride, and robustly Canadian, featuring cultural signposts that all Canucks will recognize, not to mention stellar cameos from Gord Downie, Emm Gryner and Joel Plaskett, and a very fine Canrock soundtrack. This movie is going to give people a big hug when it gets released in theatres. Go and feel the warmth.

I'm about an hour from Jason Eisener's Treevenge which I hear from everyone who saw it on Tuesday that it totally rocks, and the Clive Barker adaptation, Midnight Meat Train... if I can stay awake. I'm just a little bagged from a week in the dark...15 features and counting...

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Vol 26, No 42
March 14, 2019

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