Author Archives: thirtyfourflavours

About thirtyfourflavours

Canadian. South Asian. Lifestyle Writer. Master of Arts. Total sweetheart.

#HotDocs22 @hotdocs: The National Film Board of Canada’s “Bill Reid Remembers by Alanis Obomsawin” (April 29, 2022)

In her 54th film, Alanis Obomsawin pays tribute to her friend’s remarkable life and rich legacy. Despite spending his early life away from his nation’s culture, renowned Haida artist Bill Reid always kept Haida Gwaii close to his heart. While working for CBC Radio, he started learning how to make jewelry, then later sculpture, using Haida techniques and images, a move that would forever change his life and the Canadian artistic landscape. Reid’s powerful narration in the film—interspersed with Obomsawin’s own—recounts his complex childhood, his emergence as an accomplished artist, and his profound connection to his homeland. Decades after his passing, Bill Reid remains an enduring force and one of Canada’s greatest artists.

Review: You can’t go wrong with any National Film Board of Canada offering. “Bill Reid Remembers by Alanis Obomsawin” will bring you closer to the art of Bill Reid. It will also make you look closer at the toonie in your pocket. We reflect on the importance of the trees, the land and wildlife and how they play important roles in the welfare of the human spirit. Brimming in insight into the Indigenous worldview, culture and spirituality – Bill Reid narrates Haida resiliency into this poetic documentary. Resplendent. Inspirational.

Thirty Four Flavours Rating: 5/5   

#HotDocs22 @hotdocs: Images of a Nordic Drama (April 29, 2022)

A persistent art collector (Haakon Mehren) faces unexpected resistance while championing the work of an unknown Norwegian artist after finding a cache of paintings in a barn. Despite success abroad, the undiscovered work of Aksel Waldemar Johannessen, an admired contemporary of Edvard Munch, takes nearly three decades to launch. The painter’s oil depictions of prostitutes and drunks living in miserable poverty offend the bourgeois aesthetics of Norway’s art establishment and challenge the canon to the point of sabotaging his rediscovery. Will rejection by the curatorial staff at the National Museum and gatekeepers of the Munch Museum diminish Johannessen’s work? An invaluable insight into art world politics, cultural institutions’ ties to big business and the power of exposure, IMAGES OF A NORDIC DRAMA shows Johannessen’s pieces repetitively throughout the film, to the point of familiarity, to demonstrate how contact with works of art cultivate appreciation and memorability, and how essential access is to making or breaking an audience for an artist’s oeuvre.

Review: “Images of a Nordic Drama” is a slow and contemplative documentary worthy of a quiet weekend afternoon watch at the festival between heavier films. “Images of a Nordic Drama” does a wonderful job of walking the viewer through beautifully curated visuals from Norwegian artist, Aksel Waldemar Johannessen. The narration and wisdom extended by art collector, Haakon Mehren, will move you and leave you feeling that perhaps you were looking at art wrong all this time. Resplendent. Inspirational.

Thirty Four Flavours Rating: 4.5/5

#HotDocs22 @hotdocs: Rojek (April 29, 2022)

The Syrian Democratic Forces, mostly Kurdish, as well as the international coalition, have succeeded in dislodging the Islamic State from their last stronghold and ending their project of establishing a caliphate in Syria. Today, thousands of Islamic State members, along with their wives and children, end up in prisons and camps under the supervision of the Kurds. With extraordinary access, we travel through Syria and inside makeshift prisons, where detainees speak candidly about their motivations, experiences and loyalties, offering an incredible range of perspectives on the formation, rise and defeat of the Islamic State. (Mariam Zaidi / Hot Docs)

Review: “Rojek” is one of the best documentaries of the Hot Docs film festival. The viewer is provided with portraiture with a heartbeat. Deeply personal interviews with Islamic State members’ that at times reluctantly details their life trajectory are revealed. We learn more about their faith, culture and lived experiences that shaped their sense of selves. Their narratives are painted in bold colours for the viewer to consider. There are also darker shades which challenge our worldviews as a western audience. “Rojek” is a documentary that you will be hard pressed to find chronicled in a book, magazine or online. The viewer is walked through rubble streets, destroyed homes and faces of individuals whom have lost everything but their lives. “Rojek” provides an opportunity to reflect deeply and also quietly encouraged to learn more.

Thirty Four Flavours Rating: 5/5   

#HotDocs22 @hotdocs: Pleistocene Park (April 29, 2022)

A Russian scientist on the border between genius and madman, a vanished ice-age ecosystem, a climatic time-bomb and a crazy plan to save the world. Pleistocene Park is a major initiative that includes an attempt to restore the mammoth steppe ecosystem, which was dominant in the Arctic in the late Pleistocene. The initiative requires replacement of the current unproductive northern ecosystems by highly productive pastures which have both a high animal density and a high rate of biocycling. Moreover grazing ecosystems in the Arctic promote climate cooling through series of ecological effects. Experiments with animal reintroductions were begun in 1988. Currently, Pleistocene Park consists of an enclosed area of 20 square kilometers that is home to 10 major herbivore species: reindeer, yakutian horse, moose, bison, musk ox, yak, kalmykian cow, sheep, camels and goats.

Review: Pleistocene Park will remind you of what it means to envision a world that is restorative, ambitious and rooted in love and care.Within the heaviness of our world,Pleistocene Park will make you smile, giggle and consider what you need to do to combat climate change. Energetic. Inspiring.

Thirty Four Flavours Rating: 4/5   

#HotDocs22 @hotdocs: ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught) (April 28, 2022)

“It is important to us that ᎤᏕᏲᏅ includes the perspectives of western and eastern Giduwa (Cherokee) people. Although our communities are separated by distance, our collaboration on this film offers a balanced perspective of what reciprocity means to our people and how it’s actualized in our lives.”
– Brit Hensel, director, 4th World Media Lab Fellow, 2022 Tulsa Artist Fellow, and works on the series Reservation Dogs on FX

ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught) explores expressions of reciprocity in the Cherokee world, brought to life through a story told by an elder and first language speaker. The film circles the intersection of tradition, language, land, and a commitment to maintaining balance.

Review: A beautiful piece of poetry which simply encourages settlers to appreciate those living things that have been here far longer than us. We are encouraged as guests, to reflect upon the earth and consider how we may respect it with an open heart and mind. “What They’ve Been Taught” is a film festival must see. Meditative. Serene.

Thirty Four Flavours Rating: 5/5

#HotDocs22 @hotdocs: Beautiful Scars (April 28, 2022)

Beautiful Scars is a poignant narrative crafted by an indigenous director. Through intimate, detailed interviews with Wilson, Belcourt unpacks an astounding story about a secretive upbringing, self-destructive music career and the moments that led to the discovery of the shocking, stranger-than-fiction lie Tom Wilson was fed his entire life.

The film traces back in time to unravel Wilson’s biographical history and eventually follows him to the Kanawahke reserve, where he explores his Mohawk heritage and meets for the first time the birth family that didn’t even know he existed.

“Making this movie was a transformative and revitalizing experience for my mother and I,” says musician and visual artist, Tom Wilson. “It freed whatever old ghosts that were hanging around our attics and stirred up the sludge at the bottom of our lakes. My mother and I were victims of a heartless colonial system but in the end we won.”

Beautiful Scars blends a hybrid of visual styles, animation and archival photos set to motion. The soundtrack, pulled from Wilson’s extensive catalogue, drives the pace and story development.

Review: “Beautiful Scars” is a special documentary with twists and turns that will make your heartache and your soul sing out. I appreciated that the film challenged the viewer to partake in storytelling, luxuriate in music and consider moments of reflection through the sharing of poetry. A nice change to your film festival pace.

Thirty Four Flavours Rating: 4/5

Ticket Giveaway: The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival Ticket Giveaway! (Apr 28–May 8, 2022) #HotDocs22 @hotdocs

Every year Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival gets better and better!   This year the film festival is jam packed with the most diverse, emotional and enlightening films yet.  If you haven’t been – don’t miss out this spring!

Thank you to our friends at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival for gifting Thirty Four Flavours with a stack of 16 #HotDocs22 tickets to get you out there in the sun and ready to catch some wonderful documentaries! Yes, FREE Hot Docs 2022 Tickets! I will be giving away a pair of tickets per film listed below.

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and #HotDocs22 Ticket Giveaway?

Simple! Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet, Instagram DM or email ( telling me which #HotDocs22 Ticket Giveaway film you are interested in listed below. The films that follow are pretty special and will be sure to move and inspire you. Check out the screening guide for film summaries here,

Deadline for the Thirty Four Flavours and #HotDocs22 Ticket Giveaway is Thursday April 28, 2022.

Aftershock 5/5/2022 5:30pm Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema                             

Boycott 5/5/2022 8:30pm Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema                                  

Band 5/3/2022 9:30pm Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema        

Sirens 5/4/2022 8:30pm Isabel Bader Theatre                                                      

Myanmar Diaries 5/4/2022 5:45pm Isabel Bader Theatre

Anonymous Club 5/6/2022 8:15pm Isabel Bader Theatre   

Midwives 5/1/2022 8:15 PM Isabel Bader Theatre                                              

Riotsville, USA 5/5/2022 8:30pm Isabel Bader Theatre                                       

Nelly & Nadine 5/5/2022 5:30pm Isabel Bader Theatre 

Handle with Care 5/3/2022 8:30pm Isabel Bader Theatre                                  

Don’t Come Searching 5/2/2022 5:45pm Isabel Bader Theatre                         

Pleistocene Park 5/6/2022 8:15pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1     

A Symphony for a Common Man 5/4/2022 5:15pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1      

A House Made of Splinters 5/7/2022 5:45pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1                    

Museum of the Revolution 4/28/2022 5:45pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Nothing Compares 5/7/2022 8:45pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 1     

Happy Hot Docs Film watching!

Review: The Princess Bride in Concert at the TSO (March 4th and March 5th/2022)

Have you ever watched The Princess Bride? Well let me tell you about it. While homesick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love.

It’s been two years and it was time to leave the house.

If you have time on Saturday March 5th at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., get into the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and watch the Princess Bride in Concert. It was glorious, relaxing, funny and just what my body, mind and soul needed after a tough work week. The symphony orchestra performs Mark Knopfler’s unforgettable score live to picture!

Tonight’s performance wasn’t too busy, all the health and safety precautions were adhered too and we were even able to grab a drink or two and snacks while watching The Princess Bride. It was time to get off the Netflix train for the weekend and get stuck into some wonderful music.

The film is timeless and a perfect respite from the heaviness of the last few years. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra makes us feel at home and cared for whenever we catch performances at the wonderful Roy Thomson Hall.

Grab your tickets fast as tomorrow are the last two performances and they are sure to sell out. Tell me what you think!