The film looks at the life of Montreal-based Josh Dolgin, otherwise known as 'Socalled.' This man is a true and willing artist, open to possibilities as they arise. A magician, filmmaker, visual artist and musician, Dolgin has his fingers in a little of everything, and his curious romp has lead to healthy success. A non-religious gay man gets in touch with his Jewish roots to find new sounds for his live music/hip hop fusion act. It sounds like an HR director's diversity initiative gone awry, but 'The "Socalled" Movie' surprised me to no end with how enjoyable it was to watch.
The film looks at the life of Montreal-based Josh Dolgin, otherwise known as 'Socalled.' This man is a true and willing artist, open to possibilities as they arise. A magician, filmmaker, visual artist and musician, Dolgin has his fingers in a little of everything, and his curious romp has lead to healthy success.
Endlessly pursuing his needs as an artist, Dolgin is quite willing to explain himself, armed with confidence and a light humbleness. A perma-smirk rests on his mug, his hair wild, dark, curly and balding on the top, and his eyes dart around freely behind a varied cast of geeky glasses. Whether explaining the science behind his beat choices and sampling Yiddish hymns, or noting his love of a certain kind of lover, Dolgin is endlessly fun to listen to and genuinely a funny guy.
Between performance footage from both Europe and North America, we meet Dolgin's band-mates, parents, and his musical mentors. His ongoing relationship with singer Katie Moore adds a nice frame to 'Socalled' as well. As she says in the film, '"His compass points to a different North than most people's."
Nothing found in his personal back-story seems to stop Dolgin from bulldozing through his next project or pushing forward the ideas that come to him. One very notable moment in the film has our hero and his band playing a vintage gay-porn theatre in Montreal, as the ensemble soundtracks a classic film that ranks high within his favourites. The experiment of sight, sound and group experience works well, as hundreds make their way into the theatre to be dazzled - Who knew Klezmer chants mixed with fresh beats and porn could be so groovy?
While his audience varies in size, ethnicity and age during his festival concerts, 'Socalled' seems to draw in a predominantly young Jewish crowd during hometown shows in Montreal. It's nice to imagine that through the creative direction of Garry Beitel, and the distribution power of the National Film Board of Canada and Hot Docs, 'Socalled' will be an even bigger name to look out for when he comes to your town.
'The "Socalled" Movie' screens on Sunday, May 2 at 9:15 pm at the Bloor Cinema and screens again on Tuesday, May 4 at 11:30 a.m at the ROM.
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