The life of beloved opera soprano Maria Callas is explored, mostly in her own words, in the documentary Maria by Callas, showing at The Vic Theatre from Nov. 9-15. YouTube

KATHY KAY: Film as art on display this month

From Frankenstein to Maria Callas, these independent offerings show people from the inside out

The traditional notion, well conceived, is it’s better to see a painting in person rather than on a screen or in a book. The size, the brushstrokes and the curator’s context will all become measures of the impact.

Perhaps what film offers is a deeper dig, from unique angles to more in-depth stories to perspectives that might not strike you in the moment, or even days later. Film is an art that can interpret another art and at times makes it pulse in a different way.

It seems like a natural connection and Victoria has a plethora of options coming up.

National Theatre’s Frankenstein, with the ubiquitous Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, is a bring back to Victoria that will be playing at Cinecenta Oct. 30 and 31, just in time for a high-brow Halloween. The film experienced an incredibly popular run the first time around, it’s well worth a revisit or take the opportunity to see it for the first time.

Now that theatre is covered, Maria By Callas takes on the world’s greatest opera diva, Maria Callas. Larger than life barely begins to cover her imperious manner, but when she took the stage, she could make nuns cry. This doc takes a different route and there is no modern commentary. It’s Callas in her own words and though there are several older documentaries about the singer, this one has some surprises in store.

Moving to the visual art world on offer is The Price of Everything. This one is FUN.

The director, Nathaniel Kahn (My Architect, about his father, the remarkable architect Louis Kahn) goes in with an open mind and lets the artists and story take him where it needs to go. This film isn’t just for the art enthusiast; it is such a fascinating look into people, money and art. I can’t recommend this one enough.

And the final treat is what I would consider film examining its own, as Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Eileen Atkins and Maggie Smith get together for a chinwag. These great actresses, as always, blow up the screen with sheer force of style. As they dish confessions, rock profanity and just have an all-out fun time, you know there is Nothing Like a Dame and thank goodness!

Kathy Kay is director of the Victoria Film Festival.

Independent film

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