SODEC Soci?t? de d?veloppement des entreprises culturelles ? Qu?bec
Conseil des Arts du Canada Arts m?diatiques
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Qu?bec Arts m?diatiques
Office national du film du Canada (ONF) Aide au cin?ma ind?pendant (Canada) - ACIC
Technicolor Services Cr?atifs
En anglais seulement
As a boy growing up in Greece, Peter’s mother made him apprentice with a jeweler, setting his watch-repair career on its course. “I had eyes like a hawk and she was smart to put me on this path,” he says. In his own words, he was always “good-looking” and had his choice of women.
Today Peter runs an urban anomaly; a tiny watch-repair counter tucked into the corner of a barbershop. Next to the whir of hairdryers and scissors Peter sits hunched over repairing watches. But business is slow — rather than repairing an old watch, customers would often prefer to buy new. And Peter’s eyes are giving him trouble, a sure problem for a profession so dependent on razor-sharp eyesight. As the camera rolls, Peter is going through a lot and often uses the camera as a confessional. Yes despite the setbacks, he often surprises with his dreamy optimism.
Norman’s Regent Studio is old-fashioned and quiet, decorated with wedding, graduation, communion photos from the seventies, when Norman was in his prime; an ode to kitsch and happy milestones.
Norman himself comes from a long line of portrait photographers; his father and grandfather had the same careers in Poland years ago. Today he spends most of his days with Johnny, an oafish character who Norman relies on for nearly everything. The two are like an old couple, puttering around the studio, waiting for the occasional passport photo.
Norman is a relic from the old world. He likes to expound on his ideas of marriage and the conventions of relationships — the cornerstones of his business and thus his life. He is soft-spoken and a perfect gentleman.
Jae-Gil grew up in Seoulin her mother’s hardware store. From a young age she was a tomboy, riding a motorcycle and sporting short hair-dos. At 17, she learned to be a locksmith. Her sassy looks and prowess at the job earned her the nickname “Miss Key,” the subject of many glowing magazine articles and news reports back home.
Now Jae-Gil runs a small hardware store in a sleepy part of Montreal, which to her dismay is increasingly surrounded by big box stores. As sales at her store slump, she has to find ways to make a go of it. Despite her struggles, Jae-Gil is driven, committed to her family, and perennially cheerful.
Charming, witty and very human
(An) aesthetic feast that gives us an intimate glimpse into the ordinary lives of interesting characters
Elle filme ses personnages avec respect, s'incruste dans leur récit comme un témoin privilégié, leur pose les vraies questions, utilise l'humour pour atténuer le désespoir qu'ils n'osent exprimer, la douleur qu'ils occultent et la noblesse d'esprit qui, par respect, ils refusent d'afficher. (…) Avec Small Wonders, Tally Abcassis réaffirme avec vigueur son engagement social, à la fois politique et humaniste.
Corona Cork Film Festival Irlande 2010
DOXA - Vancouver Documentary Film Festival 2010
Hot Docs 2010
Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montr?al (RIDM) 2009
Rendez-vous du cin?ma qu?b?cois (RVCQ) 2010
Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival 2011
URBAN-TV Madrid 2010
DOXA Festival : Sunshine Coast 2011
En anglais seulement
Small Wonders is a project that was inspired by my father, a man with big dreams. He ran a home-renovation business, not unlike Jae-Gil’s, who appears in the film. A few years ago, the first Reno-Depot in Quebec opened up shop exactly across the street from my father’s store. On opening day, it was so busy that the police had to direct traffic. Customers parked in my father’s parking lot to walk across the road to the home renovation giant. When he finally set foot inside, he found them selling doors and windows cheaper than he himself was buying them from his supplier. I started Small Wonders with him in mind, following three small businesses for a then-undetermined period of time.
You could say that I have small stores in my blood. In addition to my father, my mother’s whole family worked in a small vegetable store in England in the 30’s and 40’s. I suspect that this led to my fascination with Montreal’s own Warshaw, the subject of my first documentary, Warshaw on the Main. I have always loved these special microcosms created by commerce; in today’s cities they are more than just places of business, they are a part of our culture.
Small Wonders is an ode to a disappearing place and an authenticity that is hard to find in our world of franchise restaurants and chain boutiques.
Sur un ton intimiste, Small Wonders suit trois petits commerçants sur une période de dix ans et témoigne de la résilience de la nature humaine.
Small Wonders is an intimate film about the people who run the small businesses in our neighbourhoods. Following three small store-owners over the course of ten years, the film is also about the resilience of human nature and how we bounce back despite the obstacles life puts in our path.
You will meet Peter, the watchmaker who doesn’t want to grow old, Norman, the professional photographer who has never touched a digital camera and Jae-Gil, the hardware store owner surrounded by 12 big box stores. Their stores all defy categorization and follow no “business model” that you’ve ever seen. You pass places like these every day on your way to work and think they will always be there, until one day… they aren’t.
Three beautiful portraits on growing older, making a living and sometimes not, but mostly, about how we learn to move forward and press on.