New on DVD: Boychoir

Posted on September 18, 2015. Filed under: Library News | Tags: , , , , |

boychoirThe film Boychoir follows the story of Stet, an angry young boy who is forced to attend a Boy Choir school after the death of his mother leaves him an orphan. He is challenged by the school’s choir master who recognizes the boy’s talent. The film stars Dustin Hoffman and new comer Garrett Wareing. This film premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Place a hold on the DVD today!

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Recommended reading and viewing

Posted on February 8, 2010. Filed under: New Arrivals, Recommended Reading | Tags: , , , |

In the past 10 days or so, I’ve enjoyed a couple of great reads and watched a movie that will stay with me a while.

Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson is the follow-up to Three Cups of Tea, the subject of an earlier post.  Stones into Schools is the story of Mortenson and his Central Asia Institute’s efforts to build schools in the remote Wakhan Corridor of northeast Afghanistan.  The account of the devastation caused by the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit Pakistan in 2005; the mechanics of getting building materials over treacherous mountain tracks; the courageous locals who assisted the CAI; and the poignant stories of the girls and young women who gained access to education, are among the pearls that make up this remarkable true story.

I read Suddenly by Bonnie Burnard this weekend.  There aren’t many books that manage to draw me in so completely, that when I have to (begrudgingly)pull myself away,  “real life” seems surreal and disconnected. This book was one of them. 

And lastly, I watched Denis Villeneuve’s “Polytechnique”, the English dvd version.  This film was among the Toronto International Film Group’s “Canada’s Top Ten” for 2009.  “Polytechnique” is a dramatization of the Dec. 6, 1989 massacre in Montreal, told from the perspectives of three people: the killer; a female survivor; and a male classmate who witnessed the killings.  Reading reviews of the film is interesting — not surprisingly, the film has garnered both kudos and criticisms.  It is stark, horrifyingly real, deeply disturbing. The male classmate was perhaps the most compelling character — the way the horror and shock of the event was paralysing, and how his lack of action haunted him afterwards.  During the scenes of the massacre, I was struck by the seemingly endless amount of time it took for the authorities to arrive. 1989 was pre-cellphone, and the helplessness and complete vulnerability of the students in this cavernous building was overwhelmingly powerful.

OCL has purchased 2 copies of this film, and I’m on the lookout for dvd releases of all other Top Ten films of 2009.


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Posted on August 18, 2009. Filed under: Recommended Reading | Tags: , , |

Didn’t manage to attend the Toronto International Film Festival?

In addition to the star-studded autumn event, the TIFF Group hosts an annual Top Ten festival, a nine day event “devoted to celebrating and raising awareness of Canadian cinema”. (See

The OCL dvd collection includes 5 of the 2008 titles:

“Heaven on Earth” by Deepa Mehta; “C’est pas moi, je le jure!” by Philippe Falardeau; “Mama est chez le coiffeur” by Lea Pool; “Ce qu’il faut pour vivre” by Benoit Pilon; and “Lost Song” by Rodrigue Jean.

The French language films have English subtitles, of course.

The London Free Press reviewed “Ce qu’il faut pour vivre” (The Necessities of Life) earlier this year. It captivated my attention. Here’s the dvd blurb: “The film uses the 1950s-era tuberculosis epidemic in the far north as its starting point. The spread of the disease forced many Inuit to go to various Canadian cities for treatment. Tivii is taken to a sanitorium in Quebec City. Uprooted, far from his loved ones and faced with a completely alien world, he finds himself unable to communicate with anyone.”

Those familiar with Deepa Mehta’s filmography will welcome “Heaven on Earth”. A powerful story of an arranged marriage and its sudden violent turn.

Top Ten Canadian films from previous years are also available for loan: 3 by Guy Maddin: 2003’s “The Saddest Music in the World” (very strange!); 2005’s “The Life and Times of Guy Terrifico”; and 2007’s “My Winnipeg”.

Two personal favourites: Deepa Mehta’s “Water” (2005), and Sarah Polley’s “Away From Her” (2006)

Don’t overlook 2007’s “Amal” by Richie Mehta, and “L’Age des Tenebres” by Denys Arcand.

And while it didn’t make a Top Ten list, be sure to see Sarah Polley’s 2005 film, “The Secret Life of Words”.

If you want something different from the usual Hollywood offerings, consider checking out a Canada’s Top Ten.

– LM

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