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Stacey Tenenbaum’s doc, Shiners, is full of poignant tales and offbeat characters.

4 out of 4 stars

Directed by
Stacey Tenenbaum

Full of poignant tales and offbeat characters, this investigation of the shoe-shining profession delivers all you could ask of the doc experience: It's informative, entertaining, poignant – and globe-trotting, too. Stacey Tenenbaum begins by introducing us to the impoverished shoe shiners of La Paz in Bolivia, some of whom wear ski masks to do their work because they consider it so shameful. At the other extreme is a Tokyo entrepreneur who has turned his craft into a luxury service performed in a cozy parlour where clients enjoy a glass of bubbly while he buffs and polishes with dramatic flourishes. In between, there are stories of personal redemption through manual labour and a lot of smart psychology plied on the dirty streets of big cities.

Shiners opens Feb. 17 at the Royal in Toronto.

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