The film is called Haunted Castle, and its release is shrouded in controversy. The 3-D computer-animated feature—about a rock musician's temptation by the devil, who wants to buy his soul—is set to open this week in 24 theatres across North America. But Toronto-based IMAX, the industry giant whose name is synonymous with the large-screen 3-D theatre systems it makes, has asked exhibitors to post warnings that the film is violent, if they decide to screen it at all. An IMAX system is required to get the full 3-D effects of Haunted Castle. “Its absolutely insane what IMAX did,” argues Haunted Castles Belgiumbased director Ben Stassen. “My film
is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Academy Association, and it’s the only 3-D movie being released in 2001.” But IMAX senior executive Mary Pat Ryan counters that IMAX customers “have been weaned on family-friendly shows and they have an expectation of films associated with us.” Ultimately, the decision is up to exhibitors, and most plan to show the movie. Famous Players spokeswoman Joanne Fraser says her company will screen Haunted Castle in its six IMAX venues. “We need product to show in our theatres, and we’ve always relied on the classification boards when telling the public what they can or cannot watch.”
Tony Ffauser says he is rarely intimidated by the challenge of taking a revealing picture of a performing artist. After all, he observes, compared with, say, businessmen, the actors, musicians and dancers he loves to shoot tend to wear their vulnerabilities “more on the surface”—there for his camera to capture. But the 56-year-old photographer admits that setting out to shoot the famously eccentric pianist Glenn Gould did make him nervous. “Everybody said to me, ‘You can’t shake his hand, he’s very peculiar.’ But I got to his studio and he stuck out his hand—no gloves,
nothing. Fie was such a lovely, warm person. Not crazy.” His 1975 portrait of Gould is a highlight of a National Archives show of 52 photos of Canadian arts figures, from dancer Veronica Tennant to actor Brent Carver, taken by the Toronto-based photographer over three decades. The exhibition mns from Feb. 20 to April 13 at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.
Islands of joy
There’s not a tutu or pair of point shoes in sight. Instead, 31 dancers from the National Ballet of Canada wear baggy black suits and heavy street shoes as they clomp noisily about the stage of Torontos Hummingbird Centre. They flow through one another’s ranks like commuters in a hurry. They meet, separate, fling themselves off into sudden hieroglyphics of rejection. It’s as if humanity
has been thrust under a microscope, revealing the basic structures of existence: loneliness, frenetic determination, islands of brief joy. The Comforts of Solitude is a moving new work from Montreal's Jean-
Pierre Perrault, one of Canada’s top choreographers. With a moody, original score by Bertrand Chénier and a darkly beautiful backdrop designed by Perrault, the piece drew a mixed response on opening night. A few people walked out. Most offered polite applause, while a minority stood and cheered. When it comes to exploring new territory, the National’s audience is clearly a house divided.
The cultured ape
Ever since 1758, when Carl Linnaeus shook religious orthodoxy by classifying people with higher primates, humanity’s claim to uniqueness in the world has been eroding. Now, in The Ape and the Sushi Master (HarperCollins), Frans de Waal takes aim at the concept’s last prop: humans alone live by culture rather than instinct. De Waal, one of the world’s leading primatologists, contends that apes do not rely on natural impulses alone for their social organization. Instead, they learn from watching their elders—as an apprentice sushi cook learns from watching his— and transmit learning from generation to generation. In short, apes have a culture, too. The implications of this concept are profound, argues de Waal, pointing to a natural rather than artificial origin for morality and casting the entire question of human evolution in a new light.
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