Saturday, October 12, 2019

Sorry, VIFF! Plus Assholes: A Theory

I didn't get very far in my intended VIFF blogging this year. Between having very little freetime and a wife keen to watch Season 9 of The Walking Dead; and given some unexpected opportunities to write for pay for the Straight - one interview and the first three record reviews I have done in maybe five years - I saw exactly one and a half films this year: the documentary Assholes: A Theory, which was amusing but underwhelming, and a documentary on Escher, which for some reason Erika and I couldn't finish.

I didn't get to a single film, otherwise. There were several I was curious about, like Blood Quantum, but the time just wasn't there. Here's what I did get written, about Assholes: A Theory. Would have published this on its own, but it just wasn't enthusiastic enough:

The most curious thing about the film Assholes: A Theory is that it chooses to only indirectly implicate Donald Trump from its arguments. With sections devoted to Wall Street, social media haters, sexists, and political leaders like Silvio Berlusconi, the film seems almost an indirect portrait of Trump, calling out his privilege, his egregiously bad behaviour, and his sense of his own righteousness, even though it only occasionally references him (usually somewhat obliquely). The Canadian content in the film involves Sherry Lee Benson Polodchuk, a whistleblower who suffered sexist and demeaning behaviour as a part of her boys-club job with the RCMP, which intensified after she refused to lie to protect a colleague; the section makes the point that assholism is not necessarily just encountered individually. Other figures interviewed about their encounters with assholism include Italian trans public figure Vladimir Luxuria, and of course the author of the book Assholes: A Theory, Aaron James, who seems to have, surprisingly, encountered the idea for his book while surfing. The film is light and entertaining, an engaging look at the bad behaviour of people who consider themselves entitled. It was exactly as enjoyable as I figured it would be from the VIFF description - no more, no less, but worth a look, if the subject matter appeals.

No comments: