Welcome to the yowLAB Film Festival discussion for our sixth film, Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock. Our reviewer this month is yowLAB co-director Sarah Gelbard. Her review/synopsis is included below.

Instructions:

  • If you have not yet watched the film, it is available on iTunes and at OPL.
  • To contribute to the discussion, please feel free to use the comment section following the review.
  • You are also welcome to post links to your own reviews if you prefer to publish on your blog or website. Please make sure to link to this page on your end.
  • We also welcome guest contributions. Please contact us at info.yowlab@gmail.com if you would like to submit a review to be posted to the yowLAB blog.
  • Or tweet your comments @yow_LAB #yowLABFilmFest or on the Facebook event page

We hope you enjoy the film and the discussion. Without further ado. . .

As is to be expected of a Hitchcock classic, the plot of Rear Window has found itself spoofed many times in pop culture. Even if you’ve never seen the film, you’ve probably seen a few dozen tributes without knowing it. The Simpson’s episode “Bart of Darkess” is an especially well recognized one, but I also of course always think of Due South’s Letting Go episode.

Without specifically considering the timing of this month’s selection, I coincidentally found myself caught in my own version of Rear Window – though admitedly far less thrilling. I’ve recently moved from Ottawa to Montreal and was initially quite thrilled that my new apartment looks out on a shared courtyard. With my movers delayed, I’ve found little to do in my empty apartment but look out the window – especially during the couple days without so much as an internet connection for distraction. And to add to the verisimilitude, I pulled a hamstring and while not confined to a wheelchair, I have been limping around the apartment.

IMG_1585BvZuP_HCAAEWErH

With a clear view out onto 35 apartments across the courtyard from where I’m sitting, staring competitions with my cat have been far more entertaining. Nearly all the drapes are drawn with only the occasional blue flickering light of a TV. There hasn’t been any spark with which to let my imagination run wild, to start constructing fantasies about the lives of my neighbours.

The communal courtyard is supposed to be the cure to the inhospitable, dead, urban city block. It should create familiarity and a sense of community with your nearest neighbours. In theory. But there’s a coldness to the unobstructed view across the yard. I also suspect the concept doesn’t scale up well to accomodate the 100s of apartments and 7-12 storey buildings surrounding my particular yard. But at the same time, no one could accuse my new neighbourhood of being dead – a little slummy maybe. So what exactly is the courtyard attempting to “cure”.

I was also disappointed to discover that when the sales rep assured me that I would have access to the courtyard as a tenant, what he meant was there is a self-locking emergency exit into the courtyard but no way back in. Well of course it’s going to be a dead space if tenants can’t truly access it. The development’s desire to be inward looking instead of participating in the street life of the larger neighbourhood is pretty apparent in the fact that all street level access to the courtyard is also gated and locked. I suspect the developers were hoping for a faster turn around on the gentrifying effect.

I keep wondering how I would re-write one line from the film:

We’ve become a race of peeping Toms. What people aught to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change.

We certainly still are a race of peeping Toms. Though we now achieve it through our tv’s, computers, and smartphones. Perhaps what we aught to do is get outside our digital homes and connect with the people and spaces on our block.

Care to share stories and observations about what you see out your rear window?

#yowLABFilmFest goes fiction for the summer.* The third of our three selections for the season is:

Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window
Online review: to be posted Aug 21

A wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

*as a distributed film festival, the idea is to watch the film on your own (or with friends) before the posted date. Details for shared online reviews and dialogue will be posted here soon. The posted date also coincides with the next yowLAB PubNight for those who want to discuss in person.

DVD are available from:

Ottawa Public Library 
London Public Library

Online rentals available from:

iTunes
YouTube
Google Play

Special announcement about our Fall lineup coming soon!

Sarah Gelbard:

yowLAB break-off Impromptu Playground are at it again!

Originally posted on Impromptu Playground:

Impromptu Playground sets the stage for the 2014 edition of Musical Underground! Thanks to Awesome Ottawa.

setstage

Sunday, July 27 noon to 4pm
O-Train path and Queensway underpass [see map]

Musical Underground Ottawa is joining forces with members of Impromptu Playground to create a pop-up temporary outdoor venue.

Musical Underground is a grassroots project that originated around the idea of “reverse busking”. Passer-by musicians stop by to play a tune and sing a song. This year, in addition to offering a chance to win the guitar at the end of the season, we’re offering a public stage!

In keeping with the tradition of busking, part of the spectacle is the disruption and transformation of everyday space.

Set the Stage will be a whacky contrast to the drab hard concrete; a the playful, colourful and soft place for the audience. It will be near impossible to miss!

Think…

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Welcome to the yowLAB Film Festival discussion for our fifth film, Synecdoche, NY, written and directed by Charlie Kaufman. Our reviewer this month is yowLAB co-director Sarah Gelbard. Her review/synopsis is included below.

Instructions:

  • If you have not yet watched the film, it is available on iTunes and at OPL.
  • To contribute to the discussion, please feel free to use the comment section following the review.
  • You are also welcome to post links to your own reviews if you prefer to publish on your blog or website. Please make sure to link to this page on your end.
  • We also welcome guest contributions. Please contact us at info.yowlab@gmail.com if you would like to submit a review to be posted to the yowLAB blog.
  • Or tweet your comments @yow_LAB #yowLABFilmFest

We hope you enjoy the film and the discussion. Without further ado. . .

Synecdoche, NY not to be confused with Schenectady, NY – or perhaps it is meant to be.

A synecdoche (/sɪˈnɛkdək/, si-NEK-də-kee; from Greek synekdoche (συνεκδοχή), meaning “simultaneous understanding”) is a figure of speech[1][2] in which a term for a part of something refers to the whole of something, or vice versa.

Wikipedia

I briefly discussed this film with a few different people this past week. Everyone had roughly the same first comment: “It’s a really great movie but it does drag on a bit.” I hadn’t gotten around to rewatching it yet to write the review but I remembered that was my feeling when I first watched it shortly after it came out in 2008. I was completely blown away and enthralled and confused and distracted, and like being on a road trip, the thought “are we there yet” kept popping up in my head. Finally, I broke. I paused the movie, thinking it must be almost over, only to find out there was still another 20-30 minutes left.

And even with everyone’s warnings and my own memories of the experience, last night as I watched the movie, I hit my breaking point and had to check to see how much longer was left. Once again it was at about 20-30 minutes from the end. I don’t know if it was a self-conscious cue or not but it came just after the line:

I’m aching for it to be over.
The end is built into the beginning.

It’s just one of many examples where it feels like the movie is interrupted to talk to you, the viewer. You’re sucked in to the crazy and disoriented layers of the play within the play. As annoying as it is to feel the movie drag on, it somehow feels like that is what brings you into it the more it makes you want to get away. You empathize with the actor who asks:

When are we going to get an audience in here? It’s been 17 years.

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Thursday July 24
7pm
Les Brasseurs du Temps

Special edition: Sarah’s Montreal send off
Newcomers welcome!

For those who haven’t been, yowLAB meetings are informal; part social, part networking, part brainstorming. It’s an opportunity for people with an interest in architecture, urbanism, and design to meet over a few pints.

We aim to try a different venue each meeting, generally somewhere central. This month, we’re taking advantage of bike and patio season to jump across to the other side of the River at Les Brasseurs du Temps.

RSVP (and update if it changes) so we know how many people to reserve space for. You can RSVP on our Facebook event page or leave a message in the comment section below.

Sarah Gelbard:

I’ve been slow to come up with my reply post. I promise it will come soon. In the meantime, enjoy Brian’s review of our architecture and bike adventure!

Originally posted on OttawaVeloOutaouais:

For the second instalment of Architects on Bikes Checking Out Buildings I asked Sarah Gelbard to recommend buildings she admires within our region, and she accepted! Sarah is a graduate of architecture at Carleton, and is heading off to McGill to do her doctorate on Urban Planning in the Fall. She’s very active within the local design community, as evident in her YOWLAB initiative. She’s also one of this year’s organizers of Architecture Week AND she loves to cycle! My architect-sister-Sue had so much fun on our first instalment of Architects on Bikes Checking Out Buildings, she jumped at the occasion to come along on this ride.

Sarah’s first choice was The Sister’s of Notre Dame campus off Heron Road, while her second choice was The Old City Hall on Sussex Drive. We met up at Art Is In Bakery in City Centre early Saturday morning and headed…

View original 433 more words

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