“The artistic, experimental side of TIFF gets drowned out in the rush to the next sighting of a Clooney or a Cruz … but you know, that’s unfair. Some of the films consigned to obscurity by the massed media are just as powerful, and just as heartfelt, as anything with a studio logo on the poster.” — Norman Wilner Original Article
“Hoffman’s absorbing debut feature builds parallel tracks out of two lives lived a century apart. One section tells the story of 19th-century First Nations activist Nahneebahwequa, who married a white man and pleaded her people’s case to Queen Victoria; another section meditates on the more recent experiences of George Lachlan Brown, a British expatriate who came to Canada, fathered a child and descended into poverty and mental illness.” — Norman Wilner Original Article
“Could this be the same Philip Hoffman who has been making highly personal films in Canada for more than 30 years, has had two anthologies of criticism written about him, and had retrospectives of his work from Cuba, New York, Australia and India as well as at Toronto’s Images festival?” by Liam Lacey (Globe and Mail, September 8, 2009) Original Article
“Over the last thirty years, Phil Hoffman has often been called Canada’s pre-eminent diary filmmaker. The release of his first feature film, All Fall Down (2009) offers one an opportune chance to reconsider his body of work, his diaristic practice and its relationship to documentary. Revisiting Hoffman’s diverse oeuvre is a revelation: it quickly becomes apparent that Hoffman is one of Canada’s most important documentary filmmakers, full stop. To make this case, one only needs to look at the current ubiquity of ‘hybrid documentaries’ and the critical and ethical debates surrounding their emergence. The term itself is of recent provenance, yet Hoffman has been making what would now be considered ‘hybrid’ documentaries since his first film in 1978, On the Pond.” by Scott MacKenzie – POV magazine, Issue #76 Download as PDF
Hailing Hoffman: Legendary experimental filmmaker a focus of local WNDX Festival – “Philip Hoffman, one of Canada’s most critically respected filmmakers, is coming to Winnipeg to attend a retrospective of his short works and a screening of his first feature. Known for his distinctly personal approach, Hoffman has made over 18 short films, has had more than a dozen retrospectives of his work across the world, teaches film production at York University and is the founder of the Film Farm, an experimental filmmakers retreat. He will be screening his new film, All Fall Down, which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to terrific reviews, at WNDX (Winnipeg’s festival of film and video art) this week.” by Ryan Simmons
Beyond the blockbuster: Legendary experimental filmmaker a focus of local WNDX Festival: by Aaron Graham (Uptown Magazine, Winnipeg’s Online Source for Arts, Entertainment & News)
Philip Hoffman’s latest production, All Fall Down (2009, HDV) screens as part of the Berlinale’s Forum Expanded program, a series exploring traditional image formats in the digital age.
The feature-length film is an experimental documentary that juxtaposes the lives of two people separated by a century but linked by a farm house in Southern Ontario. It explores the characters through a variety of archival materials: diaries, landscape paintings, photographs, heritage films, poems, phone messages, maps, historical reenactments and songs that express the complexity of time and the politics of land.
AFICI was born in 1999 and has ever since grown to become one of the most prominent film festivals in the world, placed as it is in a privileged position on the international film agenda. The Festival is renowned as an essential means of promotion for the independent film output, where the most innovative, daring and committed films can be shown.
“The fact that All Fall Down is a film in which the theme and central question is how to build a film character might be the reason for this story about writer George Lachlan Brown being so fascinating. Philip Hoffmann had endless answers for that question, but he understood his character didn’t fit in the usual systems of society, which would demand an approach that would not just settle with first person storytelling or archive footage, but would tear down those barriers and pose a perspective that –as critic Michael Sicinski said– oscillates between the intimate and the distant. As it occurs with powerful films, it’s hard to define its most relevant topic: family and loneliness, imagination and reality, Art and everyday life, the local and the global, the time’s passing and weight, comedy and tragedy. It’s hard to ask this unforgettable film for more.”
Special Presentations: ALL FALL DOWN
Auditorium, Library and Archives Canada
“One of Canada’s pre-eminent experimental filmmakers and a pioneer of the diary film, Philip Hoffman has been working and teaching in sound and images for over 30 years. ALL FALL DOWN, Hoffman’s first feature length film, is in some ways the culmination of his ongoing formal and thematic concerns related to history, family and memory. The film weaves together a diverse array of material in its memory work: archival documents, diaries, landscape photography, family photo albums, heritage films, poems, cartography, and the interstitial moments that linger in the in-between. In asking the question, “What has been here before?,” the film “weaves together a complex temporal structure that juxtaposes the lives of two figures, one historical (Nahneebahweequa: a nineteenth-century aboriginal woman and land-rights activist) and the other contemporary (an ex-pat drifter and father of the filmmaker’s step-daughter), across 200 years.”
A sensitive and probing first person perspective travels over and within the images, linking the fates of farms in Southern Ontario to far-reaching issues related to Canada’s colonial history. Reminiscent of the genre-bending essay films of world cinema giants Jean-Luc Godard and Chris Marker, ALL FALL DOWN is an emotionally moving and thought-provoking cinematic excursion into the archaeologies of memory and place: the place of memory in the contemporary world. Must-see cinema.” – Tom McSorley. Presented in collaboration with the Available Light Screening Collective.
Philip Hoffman and co-writer Janine Marchessault will be in attendance to introduce and discuss their film