Problems at the CBC; and What to Watch at FIN (the Atlantic Film Festival)

Second week in the CBC Radio 1’s new flagship program Sunday Magazine and I think it is running dangerously close to predictable and easy.  I never thought I’d want Michael Enright back – but at least he had some uppity guests.  And he got stroppy himself—especially when he couldn’t control the guest!! 

In the first episode of Sunday Magazine last week, new host Piya Chattopadhyay wrung out a discussion with experts about the future of a Covid vaccine, and how to get Canadians to trust the science of a new vaccine.   Hate to say it—but the interview with the panel was like listening to paint dry.

Today, Piya fawned over the Liberals’ go-to antidote for anything: Bob Rae.  Now newly appointed Canada’s ambassador to the UN, on Piya’s show, he exhausted himself (and we listeners) with platitudes.  We have to lead, but not be leaders; we have to show the world, but not get in the face of the Americans (my touch here); we have to support human rights, but never say the word Palestine let alone mention Palestinians (me again—for proof about the CBC’s absolute paranoia about mentioning the word Palestine, recall that in August, Duncan McCue temporary host of The Current was raked over the coals for daring to say the word Palestine). 

Back to Bob Rae — the truth is, Rae said none of that – he merely made pious expressions of hope, and worn talk about  the UN’s creation ‘out of the ashes of World War II’.   He mansplained the fragility of the international scene.  I hate to admit that I switched off Radio 1 for Radio 2 when Rae said that today our world is more “peaceful” than it was in the wake of World War II.  

By the way, I ended switching to Choral Concert on Radio 2, which is not my favourite show.

What to Watch: FIN

This week I urge readers to buy the $99 pass to watch scores of new films that are featured at FIN, formerly known as the Atlantic Film Festival.  The pass is a great deal, no waiting, no greasy popcorn (unless you pop it at home), no syrup-lite soft drinks, and no queues.  Now you can watch new Canadian cinema and more from your laptop in the comfort of your own living room.

On my list of must-sees are:

Little Orphans:  this is a feature film made in St John’s about three 30-something sisters who have reunited because the youngest is getting married.  From the start, the viewer feels the tension and anger just under the surface of the relationships – Kay lives a life of loose ends, no job, and no prospects in Calgary. 

Still from Little Orphans

Gwen has a job in a bar in Toronto where she endures a quiet life with no drama.  Janet, the bride-to-be, is a dedicated nurse who was raised by a foster mother, while the two older sisters all but raised themselves.  Here’s the trailer. The acting is first rate, the script is excellent, there is suspense and also there is a thread which helps make the story believable and enervating.

The New Corporation

The New Corporation, the Unfortunately Necessary Sequel.  Many of us have seen The Corporation, the original one from 2004.  The original film was a breath of fresh air.  It exposed the excesses of capitalism, the role of US imperialism in the world and the poverty of spirit which afflicted many Americans.  The New Corporation is more of the same.  I managed to sit through just over an hour of it.  Bombastic and relentless in showing the misery capitalism has created, the film doubles down on corporate leaders and exposes their duplicity and their shameful lies.  It ain’t pretty.

The best part of the film is right at the start!  The film shows the checklist of five characteristics which typically define what a psychopath is—and many corporations (and their tops guys– act as psychopaths. Since the original film, a sixth trait has been added. The New Corporation explores this trait – and traces it in big corporate life and in political life.  The trailer is here.

[Psychopaths]–The interpersonal traits include glibness, superficial charm, grandiosity, pathological lying and manipulation of others. The affective traits include a lack of remorse and/or guilt, shallow affect, lack of empathy and failure to accept responsibility…

From Psychology Today:

The Atlantic Shorts are all worth watching.  In Shorts 3, I watched an interesting short film about a hoarder. In Queen of Chaos  the penny dropped for me, when I saw the hoarder reject that moniker.  She said that gathering meaningful things makes her a successful and independent human being. 

Squeaky Wheels

Alex Peeler’s short documentary called Squeaky Wheels is a good look at disability.  The documentary focuses on Vicky Levack, a 29 year old woman who lives in a long term care facility in Halifax. She’s great and very capable, except she is physically disabled due to cerebral palsy.

Her heart and spirit are alive; she is funny and demanding more of life than living in a long-term care institution. I’m honoured to say she’s a friend of mine.

Vicky Levack

Peeler’s earlier 15 minute film All Access is here, and well worth seeing.    Peeler, who had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, lived in Bridgewater NS and ran Squeaky Wheel Productions, until his untimely death at age 27 – only three months ago. 

Alex Peeler, as a toddler

Atlantic Shorts 2 has at least two great finds.  The Mad Scientist of Hubbards is a delightful vignette about a man who is creative, wild and makes life as full and funny as he can. 

Inceldom or Why Are The Angry Men Angry is a 12 min. drama which portrays two incel men.  It’s frustrating but very real – and another warning about men and  misogyny.  The acting is good and the script is dynamite.


Featured Image: from The New Corporation, courtesy of

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