Author

Paul Watkins

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We Can Never Tell the Entire Story of Slavery: In Conversation with M. NourbeSe Philip

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M. NourbeSe Philip is an Afrosporic Caribbean writer/poet, novelist, playwright, and essayist known for her dedication to social justice, as well as for her experiments with literary form, particularly her well known 1989 text, She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks. In all of her work she examines themes of gender, race, colonialism, and the effects of language, playing with words with...

Long Live the New Flesh: David Cronenberg’s Evolution

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A progenitor of a genre typically referred to as body horror, Toronto-born and world-renowned auteur David Cronenberg remains one of the most audacious narrative directors working in cinema. Citing literary influences as diverse and incendiary as Vladimir Nabokov and William S. Burroughs (Cronenberg adapted Burroughs’s Naked Lunch), Cronenberg’s films continually blur the line between...

A Mushroom Trip Worth Taking: A Review of Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England

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Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England (2013) is a British historical (although revisionist) thriller shot entirely in black-and-white and set during the mid-17th century English Civil War. The film is a gumbo concoction odyssey that breaks free of the historical thriller genre through the use of experimental film techniques: mixing humour, horror and hallucination, with a dissonant kaleidoscopic...

“Forgive Us Our Trespasses”: A Review of Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners

Prisoners is the English-language debut from Quebeçois auteur Denis Villeneuve, known for the Oscar nominated film Incendies (2010), as well as Polytechnique (2009), Maelström (2000), and Enemy (2013, which debuted at TIFF this year). Prisoners is an engrossing thriller situated in a small town in America gripped by recession and despair. The film is carefully crafted, full of religious fervor...

Finding Community in Music: Hillside Festival Celebrates its 30th Birthday

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Camping, spontaneous drumming, a smorgasbord of musical variety, an artisan market, and so much more —Hillside is a place where people forge communities united in the transformative power of music. The three-day Hillside Festival has gifted Guelph and the world with amazing music over the last 30 years. The festival is known for pioneering (primarily Canadian) talent as some of the biggest acts...

Coming Home through African-Canadian Literature: George Elliott Clarke’s Directions Home

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Reviewed in this essay: George Elliott Clarke’s Directions Home: Approaches to African-Canadian Literature. In 2011, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford dismissed Margaret Atwood’s rally to protect some 99 library branches, adding insult to injury when he said, “I don’t even know her, if she walked by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is.” Assumingly then, neither of the Ford brothers could...

Da Vinci and The Circle at Hot Docs: Science, art, and the imagination

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Reviewed in this essay: Da Vinci and The Circle at Hot Docs. “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” So states the Albert Einstein epigraph that prefaces Bram Conjaerts’s documentary The Circle, which is currently playing at the Hot Docs festival in a double...