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 Post subject: Dave Suzuki
PostPosted: September 12th, 2010, 9:27 am 
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Got to see the new movie about Dave Suzuki, "A Force of Nature", and was impressed. The film explores his life's experiences and their relationship to his drive for a better world. I have known that he and his family was interned during WWII, but didn't know that they were sent back to Japan (Hiroshima, of all places), then made their way back to Canada, and grew up in Leamington (a local "swamp was his escape from the injustices of his world), before he went to the US as a research scientist. Worth seeing!

The movie opens on October 1 in Theatres in TO and Vancouver(?), we were told.

Quote:
TORONTO - "I've always seen myself as the messenger, not the message," says David Suzuki, as a faint flush appears on his familiar features. Though he is, at this point in time, a household name, a leading authority on climate change and the host of one of the longest-running programs in Canadian TV history, Suzuki just isn't used to being a "star."

Yet, here he sits, in his jeans and fleece, in the midst of the craziness called the Toronto International Film Festival. As the central subject in Force of Nature, a new feature from award-winning Canadian director Sturla Gunnarsson that makes its international premiere here Saturday, Suzuki says, despite his decades spent before the camera, he found himself in a surprisingly novel situation.

"To have the focus on myself was something else," says Suzuki, author, scientist, philanthropist and host of CBC's The Nature of Things. "I guess it goes back to my Japanese roots. The Japanese say, if a nail sticks out of the floor, you pound it down. They don't like it when you stand out, and yet . . . I am a sh--- disturber."

It's a paradox Suzuki still wrestles with, because there are so many powerful forces working against the health and sustainability of the planet, and too much at stake to keep quiet.

"My father said to me early on - shortly after I was elected president of the student body in (high school) - that if you're going to stand for anything, people are going to get mad at you. If you want everyone to love you, you aren't going to stand for anything at all," says Suzuki.

"But it's very painful. I don't like having people pissed off at me. In all the years we fought the fishing fleet and the forest industry, people got mad. And I didn't like that. People shot a bullet through my window."

Suzuki doesn't doubt the importance of the work he did. He doesn't doubt the approach he took in order to make a difference. He's simply trying to reconcile the many different parts of his life as he moves toward the mortal window.

For Gunnarsson, the internal dramatic tension was too much to ignore.

"To begin with, we started talking about ideas and the big history of life on the planet, but, as time went by, I found myself more fascinated with David himself," says Gunnarsson, the director of Such a Long Journey and Air India 182.

"I think this is a very unique time in David's life. He's talking about stuff he didn't really talk about before. He's taking stock and thinking about mortality. There's this retrospective feeling in him right now," says Gunnarsson, looking to Suzuki for the nod, which comes.

"It feels weird talking about David when he's in the room, but there was real kismet to this thing. His grandson was about to be born on Haida Gwaii . . . and David was looking to the future, as well as his own past. In so many ways, it all became a search for home," says Gunnarsson.

Suzuki nods quietly with an almost Buddhist look of knowing acceptance.

"When I wrote my autobiography, I was going to call it The Outsider, because that's how I felt most of my life. Even when we were in the (internment) camps (during the Second World War), most of the other kids spoke Japanese - but I didn't. I can't say I ever really felt like I belonged to anything," says Suzuki.

"I think what this has done, and what Sturla's desire to pull things out of me has done, is make me question (my own life and) if I am looking for some place where I belong. I never really thought of it that way."

Gunnarsson nods his shock of icy blond hair and offers up one of his favourite Suzuki quotes:

"It's all about these evanescent tendrils of attraction that some people call love."

Gunnarsson isn't just talking about Suzuki and the human condition. He's quoting Suzuki on the nature of the universe - which prompts the TV science personality in Suzuki to explain.

"Even after the Big Bang, as all these tiny particles were hurtling away from each other at great speed, the universe was still filled with the forces of attraction, as each particle exerted a tiny pull on the other," says Suzuki.

"We think of space as empty, but really, it's filled with these forces of attraction. We all have to come to grips with that. The reality of all life is extinction: 99.9999 per cent of all species on this planet have gone extinct. It's part of what evolution demands."

At 74, Suzuki says he's happy for the meditative state that comes with age. "Years ago, I was driven by testosterone and the urge to get laid and pass on my DNA. Now, I can go for hours and hours without thinking about sex at all."
....

http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertai ... story.html

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 Post subject: Re: Dave Suzuki
PostPosted: September 13th, 2010, 3:04 pm 
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Here's an interesting review of the film - why it's even interesting to film buffs that may otherwise be quite disinterested in another documentary about something eco-related...
Quote:
Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie
Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson
By Robert Bell

Most Canadians recognize David Suzuki from his long-running TV show, The Nature of Things, being somewhat of a CBC staple for all things environmental and scientific. He holds over 20 degrees from various universities, has published nearly 50 books and stands as one of Canada's most significant and cherished figures. Because of this, a documentary detailing his legacy lecture in British Columbia sounds, in concept, like it might be a little slice of nationalistic hokum, but it's nothing of the sort.

Gunnarsson's documentary takes a linear approach to his subject, starting out with Suzuki detailing his childhood as a Canadian-born Jap, ignored by the whites and teased by Japanese kids because of his inability to speak their language. He revisits old homes, discussing his upbringing and parents, describing teen life as the first family of racial difference in Leamington, ON, implying that social isolation and racial confusion led to his fascination with science.

While none of this comes as particularly surprising, giving us some interesting context for such a driven and ambitious man, it's the less comfortable subjects that compel and make this documentary so appealing. Being divorced and spending most of his time working, Suzuki acknowledges his limitations as a family man, sounding far more passionate when discussing environmental peril and implicit human stupidity.

Combined with his upbringing as a partial social outcast and his university years as a hardcore hippie, his limited home life creates a sense of loneliness that remains dominant throughout the film. Because of this, his comparison of human beings to maggots and bacteria — gaining sustenance from each other's waste and being too stupid to recognize impending crisis — comes off as surprisingly character defining.

It is this tendency to mix Suzuki's likeable presence with humanizing disdain and psychological guardedness that makes this potentially twee doc something of substance. While not perfect, it's far more fascinating than I thought it would be going in. (eOne)

http://www.exclaim.ca/motionreviews/lat ... fid1=49432

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