Hot Docs 2014: Fire Followers

Posted by John Munshour April 26, 2014 0 Comment 3943 views

Fire can be both destructive and generative, wiping out the past and clearing ground for new growth. It also has connotations of excitement, energy and passion, three things sorely lacking from Karolina Bregula’s poorly-paced, visually-bland new film, Fire Followers.

Fire Followers is set in an unnamed European town whose historic wooden architecture is susceptible to devastation by fire. These fires have occurred throughout the town’s past and each has wiped out huge sections of the town’s historical records and repeatedly forced inhabitants to start anew. Local inventor and designers have come up with eccentric ways of fighting and preventing fires, from giant, water-hurling catapults to structures with built-in water-pockets.

However, this isn’t the actual focus of the film. It switches to talking about the local art scene and the effects of constant upheaval and rebuilding on discourse because oooooohhhhhhhh….it’s a symbol. (Just to clarify, in spite it’s inclusion in Hot Docs, Fire Followers is a fiction film not a documentary.  The director refers to it as a  “staged documentary” which it is not, that’s an entirely different sub-group of non-fiction films. Hot Docs refers to it as a ‘hysterical pseudo-doc,’ which–again–it is not, though the pseudo part is true.)

If you’re into shots that linger on nothing for long periods of time or storytelling so oblique you need to read the director’s synopsis to understand that there was an attempt at a story, than Fire Followers is for you. That doesn’t mean there was nothing interesting in the movie; there’s a scene where someone feeds a carrot to a gerbil while being interviewed, and I tell you, that gerbil’s pretty cute. Unfortunately, it made me realize I’d rather watch 48 minutes of gerbils eating carrots than this.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Screening Times for Fire Followers

TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 Sun, Apr 27 9:00 PM
Scotiabank Theatre 7 Tue, Apr 29 2:00 PM

Watch the Fire Followers Trailer



About John Munshour

John Munshour is an artist residing in Brooklyn, NY. His primary medium is book arts, where he combines writing and visual art to disguise the fact that he’s not particularly good at either. He is currently involved in a long-term, emotionally volatile relationship with his haircut. He sometimes tweets about songs he likes  @jdmunshour

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