Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Film festival's waterfront screening looks at influential recording studio with soul

  • Print
Wilson Pickett at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama.

Enlarge Image

Wilson Pickett at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama.

Day 2 of the Gimli Film Festival sees a diversity of films, including a depressing Manitoba-made historical drama, a disturbing documentary on how privacy is becoming obsolete, and two regionally specific rockin' docs.

 

On today's schedule:

 

Mad Ship

(11 a.m. at Venue 1, Gimli Theatre)

Mad Ship is about a Scandinavian immigrant (played by Danish actor Nikolaj Lie Kaas) who makes the mistake of attempting to build a farming empire on the Canadian Prairies during the Dust Bowl. Faced with unrelenting personal tragedy, he loses his mind, builds a ship out of the farmhouse he lost in a foreclosure, and attempts to drag it across the Prairies with a notion of sailing back to Norway.

The tale sounds something like Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, but this is a Canadian drama, so the madness depicted here is not in any way magnificent or perversely admirable. Loosely based on the true story of a Saskatchewan immigrant who went similarly mad, this is a story pretty much drenched in pathos.

Directed by David Mortin, this shot-in-Manitoba drama boasts decent production values and solid performances for its low budget. At its most insightful, it plots the emotional fireworks roiling under the surface of the seemingly stoic prairie farmer.

If the film does not prove as moving as it should, it's because the filmmakers fail to make us invested in these characters and their relationships. One might care about Tomas and his wife more if there was any texture or lightness to their love story. As it is, it seems to be a marriage based on mutual silent suffering, and the calamities heaped upon them eventually engenders more impatience than sympathy.

As with so many Canadian films, Mad Ship is so determinedly downbeat, you have to wonder what kind of audience the filmmakers were expecting to attract. 'Ö'Ö 1/2

Continued 6

Terms and Conditions May Apply (11:30 a.m. at Venue 3, Aspire Theatre)

If one is confused by the recent story of Edward Snowdon's whistle-blowing on the NSA's massive intelligence gathering on U.S. citizens utilizing social networks such as Facebook, director Cullen Hoback's doc provides all the background you could want.

Hoback documents how the simple act of agreeing to Internet "Terms of Service" agreements can literally be the equivalent of letting government and business into your home to rifle through your stuff. Use Twitter or Facebook? So does the government, as you can see when a schoolboy is questioned by the Secret Service for posting his concern about President Obama on his Facebook page, or when an English tourist tweets about his (poorly phrased) plans to "destroy America" on a vacation to L.A. In Egypt, protesters used social media to strategize, but that approach could just as easily make them targets, as anti-royalty protesters discovered prior to the wedding Prince William and Kate Middleton.

It's an illuminating and important doc that may very well result in closing your Facebook account. HHH

 

The Sheepdogs Have At It (7:30 p.m. at Venue 2, Lady of the Lake Theatre)

If the music business is a flavour-of-the-month kind of proposition, the Saskatoon band the Sheepdogs offers up something as basic and true as vanilla, and just as delicious. Their music -- two guitars, bass and drums -- is fundamental. Their lineage -- the Allman Brothers -- is classic rock and roll.

So how does a contemporary band like that find an audience?

Winnipeg director John Barnard answers that question with an approach that is as unpretentious as the band itself, documenting their leap from prairie obscurity to sudden fame courtesy of a Rolling Stone magazine cover story.

You can see it in Barnard's choice of interview subjects: Forget rock critics, dude, let's hear from the band members' moms.

Director John Barnard will be in attendance at the screening. HHH

 

Muscle Shoals (10 p.m. on the Beach Screen)

Many of the classic songs one might assume were Motown were actually recorded in a little Alabama town in a nondescript music studio: Percy Sledge's When a Man Loves a Woman, Wilson Pickett's Land of 1000 Dances, and Aretha Franklin's I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Loved You).

Directed by Freddy Camalier, the documentary Muscle Shoals is an utterly fascinating history of how this podunk town became a centre of the pop music universe in the '60s and '70s under the tutelage of legendary producer Rick Hall, a man who had as many personal demons as the most troubled rock star.

Bear in mind, the musicians who initially formed the famed rhythm section of Hall's Fame Studios were all white guys, recording with some of the most important black recording artists of the day in the most racially charged days of the civil right movement ... in Alabama.

The stories come fast and frequent, including Aretha Franklin's drama-charged recording session (that essentially jump-started her career in 1967), Mick Jagger and Keith Richards recalling the Rolling Stones' laying the tracks for Wild Horses and Brown Sugar and Percy Sledge's amazing career jump from hospital orderly to soul star on the strength of his When a Man Loves a Woman.

A documentary may not seem an obvious choice for Gimli's free beach screenings, but the sheer pop power represented by Muscle Shoals should make for a rockin' good time. HHHH

 

The Gimli Film Festival runs until July 28. For complete festival listings, go to www.gimlifilm.com.

 

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 25, 2013 C1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets This Week: Quarter Season Analysis

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings are growing up quickly near Cresent Lake in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba- See Bryksa 30 Day goose project- Day 11- May 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A Canada goose protects her nest full of eggs Monday on campus at the University of Manitoba- Standup photo- Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you concerned about the death of a seal at the Assiniboine Park Zoo?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google