Like a Chinese finger trap or runaway climate change, one of the more crazy-making aspects of the Trump era is its perfect and inescapable feedback loop. In short: the more we talk, wail, flip out, and gnash our teeth about the media-created reality TV fake billionaire currently ventilating the White House, the stronger he gets.
Still, and alas, we can also take deep satisfaction from all the wailing and the flipping out. Among the most promising prospects at this year’s Vancouver DOXA Documentary Film Festival—revealed during the festival’s annual media launch at the CBC on Wednesday (April 5)—is a trio of hard-hitting movies inspired by the raging narcissist-in-chief.
Rather cleverly, guest curator David Beers has chosen to examine the contours of the U.S. political system rather than the molten, attention-hungry centre, examining the gaming of Trump rival Ben Carson in PACman and the rise of Bernie Sanders in Waking the Sleeping Giant. A third film, Ada for Mayor, looks at the rise of Ada Colau from meager-voiced social justice advocate to Mayor of Barcelona in 2015. It’s the kind of grass-roots antibiotic to fascist populism that only looks impossible until it comes to a country near you.
In a not too distant ballpark, DOXA’s annual Justice Forum brings up a host of hot concerns including the trail of lethal exploitation that ends with each and every one of our smartphones (Complicit) and the no less mercenary business of selling flesh in the 21st century (Pornocracy: The New Sex Mulitnationals.)
A Spotlight on Troublemakers features Cate Blanchett assuming 13 different historically ranty roles in festival closer Manifesto on May 14, while Rumble: The Indians that Rocked the World taps Steve Van Zandt and Steven Tyler among others to testify to the underappreciated role of First Nations musicians in the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.
Rated Y for Youth turns its focus to the Burnaby Mountain Kinder Morgan protest with The Caretakers while planting a gimlet eye on body size prejudice with Fattitude. The French French series also returns with a welcome tribute to the legendary film essayist, Chris Marker, including five of his films and the brand new portrait, Chris Marker, Never Explain, Never Complain.
Of the gala screenings, Marie Clement’s The Road Forward—a musical, no less, about the first indigenous-run newspaper, The Native Voice—opens the festival on May 5, and Vancouver’s own Charles Wilkinson scores a special presentation on May 6 of his latest, an exceedingly timely look at our own housing woes called Vancouver: No Fixed Address.
There is, of course, much more. Keep watching the Straight for our extensive coverage beginning later this month. The DOXA Documentary Film Festival runs from May 4 to 14.