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Aren Bergstrom

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About Aren Bergstrom

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  • Occupation
    Writer/Director/Film Critic
  • Favorite movies
    Return of the Jedi, Spirited Away, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blue Velvet
  • Favorite music
    Kendrick Lemar, The Beach Boys, Editors
  • Favorite creative writing
    Dune, The Lord of the Rings, The Great Gatsby
  • Favorite visual art
    Hokusai, The Group of Seven, Vincent van Gogh, J.M.W. Turner

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  1. I've never been a part of one of these processes before, but I'd be interested. As for time, I'll be stuck in lockdown probably until spring, so might as well use it productively. Movie musicals is a great suggestions.
  2. I was pretty blown away by the whole anthology. I agree that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but they're all pretty exceptional films in their own right. I understand why people like Lovers Rock the most as its freedom from narrative and amazing music and choreography and framing is stunning. But I think Mangrove is the best of the bunch. It just offers such a complete vision of community and a perceptive vision of how prejudice operates in society and how societal gains are made. I also loved Education more than probably anyone else. It's so short, but such an acute look at ch
  3. I get a similar response in most films as most films approach it in a lazy way, but the historical context is so specific in Wolfwalkers that I didn't see it as leaning on stereotypes or lazy tropes in any way. Oliver Cromwell really did invade Ireland and put it to the sword, and so much of his motivation was religious, so not sure how his outright villainy in the film is working into this trope.
  4. I liked this one. It's very much a repetition of what he's doing in Experimenter and not as interesting the second time around, but still intriguing. My biggest takeaway, however, is that I think the film is more illuminating about Thomas Edison than Nikola Tesla. Kyle MacLachlan is great as Edison. I could've watched an entire film about him. I also reviewed it at 3 Brothers Film if anyone is interested in longer thoughts.
  5. Aren Bergstrom


    Just watched this last night. Count me as one of those with a mixed impression of it. My thoughts from Letterboxd: I didn't passionately dislike it or anything, but if you're going to stray so clearly from the biographical fact, I expect you to do so in order to make the historical individual more interesting, not less. This is a case where I think it flattens Shirley as a character instead of digging into what made her so conflicted and interesting.
  6. I found this movie very entertaining. The chicken-egg thing you mention, Ken, is definitely one of the interesting elements the film plays with. The whole tacit admission by Robert that he is pro-choice, but would never admit that politically, is fascinating. I know the film is so nakedly trying to be a microcosm of politics in the states (even the fact that it's all boys reinforces this aspect, since America remains a hugely male political system), but I've got to give the filmmakers credit where credit is due: the experiment does work as a nice proxy for the real thing. In general,
  7. This might be an example where our perspectives are too dissimilar to find common ground, because this just sounds like pandering to me, which I don't find compelling at all in art. See, I think this sums it up. He is broadcasting his politics and while I find his politics generally inoffensive, I don't find them refreshing or revolutionary or stirring. And so I don't appreciate his music getting bogged down by what I see as fairly amorphous political commentary that parallels everything I've heard since Trump took office. Trump being bad doesn't make everything that gestures against h
  8. Put me on the very short list of people who were underwhelmed by this. I liked the music (obviously) and some of the staging is inventive, but I didn't connect with any of the vitality that other people are describing. Furthermore, I do think the political messaging is distracting. Here's the thing: no one in that audience and no one watching this movie are going to walk away from it with any new convictions. It will either confirm their liberal worldview or come across as a bit awkward and cringeworthy. I don't see anything radical or celebratory or new or connected about talking about h
  9. Yeah, definitely. I didn't mean it as criticism either, just pointing it out. I'm still amazed they were able to accomplish what they did with such a limited budget. Here's my review of Wolfwalkers if it's of interest to anyone: https://3brothersfilm.com/blog/2020/9/17/tiff20-wolfwalkers
  10. Yes, the way that the themes of the film are expressed in the animation is wonderful. The way that the animation in the forest shows traces of pencil lines is such a nice touch. I think such an expressive contrast is only absent in The Secret of Kells because that film was famously low budget for such a complex animated work. Formally, Cartoon Saloon keeps getting better and better.
  11. As a part of TIFF, I watched Wolfwalkers, the new film from Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea) and Ross Stewart. I know that many people here are great fans of Moore and I'm happy to say that Wolfwalkers is another wonderful film from the Irish animator. Interestingly, Wolfwalkers seems to take a lot of structural cues from The Secret of Kells. It's set during the 17th century and deals with the Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland, with the main character being the daughter of a wolf hunter brought over from England. As is expected now, the animation is stunning. The way that he fla
  12. Thanks, Jeremy! Really appreciate you watching and your comments about it resonating with you. Yeah, that is definitely something that has kept in my mind, because although it's such a small niche, I think that if it actually does find the audience, it's hopefully extra resonant for those people. We'll see what the future brings!
  13. I'll probably take in a film or two if the in-person festival ends up happening, but it'll be absolutely bizarre, to say the least. I have no interest in the online stuff. TIFF's website infrastructure is so bad that I have no trust in them handling a streaming service. CBC Gem and Crave (two Canadian-only streaming services) are bad enough when it comes to quality and buffering. I don't trust a cash-strapped organization like TIFF actually handling the online portion.
  14. I rewatched The Last Wave last night after watching it for the first time back in June when I was knocking off some Peter Weir blindspots. What a beguiling film, one that percolated around my head for the past month, which is what prompted me to put it on again. Not surprising that I liked it even more the second time. In many ways, the film hits some familiar notes in its general conceit about a white man trying to do right by a colonized people. Richard Chamberlain's David Burton has a bit of a white saviour complex (a colleague even calls him out for his bourgeois attitudes towards the
  15. That's a nice little blurb. I think Weir is perpetually under-appreciated. I'm always down for more discussion of his work. Hopefully I can knock off the rest of my blindspots of his work in the next few weeks.
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