This short film takes a rather unconventional approach to the city symphony genre, which often depicts the rhythms of the city from morning to night and relies on the symphonic composition of shots that, like in musical symphony, build through various movements until their final conclusion. "This Town of Toronto…" extends its temporal dimension past the span of one day to 108 years, by including some of the earliest motion picture documentations of Toronto: the Great Fire of 1904 and the traffic scene on Bay Street, including horse-drawn fire trucks and firemen rushing to extinguish the fire, all captured by George Scott & Co.; various street scenes of Toronto from 1917 to 1935, documented by TTC (Toronto Transit Commission); the amusements during 1929-1930 at the Toronto’s Islands Hanlan’s Point, also obtained by TTC; and the Nathan Smith family home movies, which include various activities of its youngest family members and life in the city during 1931-32. By including this archival footage, which was captured by several filmmakers, helps introduce more than one perspective of the experience and the feel of this city, thereby conveying the spirit of city life as plural and ever changing. Finally, what this film continues—and hopefully furthers—in the tradition of city symphony films is the emphasis on rhythm and tone, and, more importantly, it adopts from music the technique of polyphony to its visual composition. "This Town of Toronto…" juxtaposes the past energies of the city with those of the present, and, in facilitating tension from this collision, it hopefully engenders deep resonance in the viewers.
“This Town of Toronto…” was commissioned by WNDX Festival of Film and Video (Winnipeg, Manitoba) as part of “The Situated Cinema: A Mobile Micro-Theatre in Public Space,” supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.
This Town of Toronto… is distributed by the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (cfmdc.org/node/16177).
Electric Visions Symposium, Ryerson University, Toronto (2013)
Images Festival, “Before Our Eyes,” Toronto (2013)
WNDX Festival of Film and Video Art. “The Situated Cinema: A Mobile Micro-Theatre in Public Space,” Curated by Sol Nagler, Winnipeg (2012)
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