Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Documentary Delirium

When I was a kid my parents bought a set of Encyclopedia Britannica which included a set of children's volumes. Each of the books had a specific topic: fairy tales, nature, science, etc. The worn, faded cover of the "Famous People" volume with the pages falling out was a testament to my fondness for my favourite. Yup! Red Riding Hood and Rupunzel were tossed in favour of Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad, Susan B Anthony and her fight for women's rights and "Give me liberty or give me death" Patrick Henry. Simply put, I was a cynical child who found fairy tales frustrating and childish, and true stories totally satisfying. Did I mention I didn't smile until I was seven?That has not changed (except for the part about me not smiling), and extends to my taste in films as well, especially documentaries. Real life is simply more riveting (to me).

I have been on a bit of a documentary roll lately, and enjoying every minute of it. Last night my daughter joined me downtown for a preview screening of Pink Ribbons, Inc. The film examines a myriad of issues around breast cancer and the corporate pink ribbon marketing phenomenon -- pinkwashing. “We used to march in the streets; now we run for a cure.” When the lights came up Harmony and I sat quietly in our seats, absorbing what we had experienced and regrouping. The film left an indelible mark and so much to discuss. What causes breast cancer? How can it be prevented? Where do the dollars raised go?  Who, if anyone, is spearheading the search for a cause/cure for this devastating disease? What about the hypocrisy in companies running pink ribbon campaigns that sell products containing toxins linked to cancer? How can we affect change in women's health care? Who is in charge?

If you have breasts and/or have ever donated to breast cancer research, you should see this film.  It was named one of the TOP 10 Films when it premiered at TIFF in September and when it opens in theatres February 3rd I hope people flock to see it. It is an important film. And hey - you need something to gnaw on when you are lying in bed with your insomnia! [steps off soap box]

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