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The Continental

(2013, 95 mins)
Director:

Showtimes

TICKET PACKS
* VIFC Guest + Volunteer Passes are not valid for Best Of Hot Docs Series

In 1968, homosexuality was illegal in NYC. Gay bars were dark, dirty, dangerous and mostly controlled by the syndicate. But then along came Steve Ostrow, opera singer and entrepreneur, with a grand vision. From the minute Ostrow opened the elegant Continental Bath and Health Club in the legendary Ansonia Hotel, it was a beacon for the hip, the beautiful and the infamous. With a cabaret stage featuring red hot performers like Bette Midler and Labelle, straight high society, celebs and hunky men in towels jammed into the same room, bringing gays into the open and ultimately playing a critical role in overturning anti-gay laws. Director Malcolm Ingram deftly weaves Ostrow’s astonishingly frank stories with those of luminaries like author Edmund White, singer Sarah Dash from Labelle, Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn, and house music inventor Frankie Knuckles into a smart, steamy and political history of the hypersexual culture in the era before AIDS. (Lynne Fernie)

"Documentary gold. 4 stars." Glenn Sumi, Now magazine

"Intimate and fascinating… a slice of social and pop history that demands to be consumed." David Voigt, Examiner

"It’s a great story made even greater by Malcolm Ingram’s first-rate feature." Greg Klymkiw.

I Am Breathing

(2012, 73 mins)
Directors:

Showtimes

TICKET PACKS
* VIFC Guest + Volunteer Passes are not valid for Best Of Hot Docs Series

Neil Platt has a lovely life. He’s popular and funny; he has wonderful friends and a fulfilling career. He meets a beautiful, talented woman who loves him. They build a home together and have a gorgeous baby boy. Shortly after his son’s birth, Neil notices a slight difficulty when walking. Within a year, he transforms from a healthy young father to being completely paralyzed from the waist down. Knowing the disease will progress, Neil attempts to create a memory box for his son while he still has the ability to speak, but how can he anticipate what his son will need in a future that’s quickly being taken away? As Neil contemplates the final moments of his life against the first few of his son, we’re a privileged witness to his remarkable serenity, insight and humour. His extraordinary and artful exploration of his own years illuminates the fragile power of ours that remain. (Sarafina DiFelice)

"Among the year’s most moving films." Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter

"Alternately heartbreaking and disarmingly sardonic." Basil Tsiokos, Indiewire

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty

(2012, 93 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Terence Nance, Namik Minter, Chanelle Pearson, Talibah Lateefah Newman, Dexter Jones

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"You’ve just arrived home after a bad day. You’re broke and lonely, even though you live in the biggest and busiest city in America. You do, however, have one cause for mild optimism: you seem to have captured the attention of an intriguing young lady. You’ve rushed home to clean your apartment before she comes over. In your haste, you see that you’ve missed a call. There’s a voice mail; she tells you that she won’t be seeing you tonight. How would you feel?"

With arresting insight, vulnerability, and humor, Terence Nance’s explosively creative debut feature documents the relationship between Terence and a lovely young woman (Namik Minter) as it teeters on the divide between platonic and romantic. Utilizing a tapestry of live action and various styles of animation, Terence explores the fantasies, emotions, and memories that race through his mind during a singular moment in time. One of the most original and singular movies you will see all year, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty heralds the arrival of an exceptional new talent, maybe the most exciting young black filmmaker since Spike Lee.

"A visually dazzling ode to romantic angst […] Oversimplification blends animation, freeze-frame stop-and-go effects, mockumentary, and inspired manipulation of light and color into an ocular feast. It’s almost hypnotic in its style and genre promiscuity." Ernest Hardy, Village Voice

"This brisk and self-searching, sharply intelligent and deeply vulnerable romantic comedy is a masterwork of reflexive construction… Romantic obsession has rarely been filmed as sweetly, love’s labors rarely revealed so insightfully as their own reward." Richard Brody, New Yorker

House of Bamboo

(1955, 102 mins, DCP)
Director:
CAST Robert Ryan, Robert Stack, Shirley Yamaguchi, Cameron Mitchell, Brad Dexter, Sessue Hayakawa
Screening in tandem with LONG ARM OF THE LAW in the program "Foreign Spoils / Gangsters Abroad

Showtimes

Curated by photographer Greg Girard, who will introduce the films: House of Bamboo & Long Arm of the Law The Walled City of Kowloon was an amazing and forbidding part of Hong Kong, and who better to introduce these films in which it features so centrally than photographer Greg Girard, whose book City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City is itself now legendary.

HOUSE OF BAMBOO The first Hollywood movie to be shot in Japan after WWII, and also the first film to be shot in CinemaScope in that country, House of Bamboo is vividly alert to places and spaces. One of the iconic film noir hard men, Robert Ryan is an ex GI operating an American crime gang on strict military lines. Robert Stack infiltrates the group, but getting in is easier than getting out in one piece.

Sam Fuller: "I called it House of Bamboo, incorporating into the yarn some features from my story about ex-GIs planning crimes like military operations. I moved the entire shebang to Tokyo, added stuff about Japanese contemporary life, threw in some sexual exploitation and interracial romance, and then, for some unexpected pizzazz, wrote a violent love scene between two hardened criminals. The core of the movie was about betrayal." (A Third Face)

Presenter Greg Girard

Greg Girard is one of the most accomplished photographers working anywhere today. Greg left Vancouver to explore Asia as a young man in the early 70’s, spending much of his career living in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and travelling very extensively throughout the region from Afghanistan during the Soviet war to present day Bhutan. His work examines the social and physical transformations taking place throughout the region, often on the front lines of conflict and economic and social upheaval.

He is represented by Monte Clark Gallery (Vancouver/Toronto) and also works on assignment for publications such as National Geographic Magazine.

"A masterpiece that pinpoints the sublime in Fuller’s sensationalism and earns every inch of its widescreen real estate! Turning the on-location Tokyo streets into the perfect backdrop for a cartoonishly colorful version of hardboiled drama—call it Pulp Art— House of Bamboo keeps its story line about an undercover Army cop (Stack) battling a gangster (Ryan) on the lean and mean side. But the impeccable compositions Fuller uses to detail the lyrical and the lurid give even the most lowbrow elements a high-art feel; it’s like a bridge from the gutter to the museum." - David Fear, Time Out New York

"Some of the most stunning examples of widescreen photography in the history of cinema. Travelling to Japan on 20th Century Fox’s dime, Fuller captured a country divided, trapped between past traditions and progressive attitudes while lingering in the devastating aftereffects of an all-too-recent World War. His visual schema represents the societal fractures through a series of deep-focus, Noh-theatrical tableaus, a succession of silhouettes, screens, and stylized color photography that melds the heady insanity of a Douglas Sirk melodrama with the philosophical inquiry of the best noirs." Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine

Long Arm of the Law

(Sheng gang qi bing)
(1984, 105 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Cantonese with English subtitles
Director:
CAST Lam Wai, Wong Kin, Kong Lung, Chang King, Fong Lit
Screening in tandem with House of Bamboo in the program "Foreign Spoils / Gangsters Abroad

Showtimes

Curated by photographer Greg Girard, who will introduce the films: House of Bamboo & Long Arm of the Law The Walled City of Kowloon was an amazing and forbidding part of Hong Kong, and who better to introduce these films in which it features so centrally than photographer Greg Girard, whose book City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City is itself now legendary.

LONG ARM OF THE LAW In the early 1980’s, Hong Kong’s rapid economic development and Mainland China’s new open policy made the city a new land of opportunity for its neighbours up north. This critically acclaimed crime thriller follows a group of opportunists from China - ex army men - looking to strike riches in Hong Kong, only to experience culture shock and betrayals that will lead to their downfall.

Director Johnny Mak captures the chase between the police and the robbers with terrifying realism, enhancing the impact of the action scenes to beyond simple escapism. Nearly 30 years later, the explosive climatic standoff in the Kowloon Walled City remains one of the best finales in Hong Kong cinema history and serves as an important historical record of a landmark lost to modernity. In addition to two Hong Kong Film Awards and two Golden Horse awards (including Best Director), Long Arm of the Law is often recognised as one of the best Hong Kong films ever made - in fact when the Hong Kong Film Festival compiled a list of the 100 best Chinese films ever made back in 2005, Long Arm of the Law ranked sixth.

Presenter: Greg Girard is one of the most accomplished photographers working anywhere today. Greg left Vancouver to explore Asia as a young man in the early 70’s, spending much of his career living in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and travelling very extensively throughout the region from Afghanistan during the Soviet war to present day Bhutan. His work examines the social and physical transformations taking place throughout the region, often on the front lines of conflict and economic and social upheaval.

He is represented by Monte Clark Gallery (Vancouver/Toronto) and also works on assignment for publications such as National Geographic Magazine.

Round Midnight

(1986, 133 mins)
In English, French
Director:
CAST Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Francois Cluzet, Lonette McKee, Billy Hutcherson, Martin Scorsese, John McLaughlin, Billy Higgins, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter
Introduced by TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival artistic director Ken Pickering.

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Trust the French to come up with the best bebop movie. Sax legend Dexter Gordon is mesmerizing as American horn player, Dale Turner (a thinly veiled amalgam of Bud Powell and Lester Young) trying to shake his demons in 1959 Paris, with loving help from a local fan (Francois Cluzet - Tell No One; The Intouchables) and his young daughter. Plagued by years of alcoholism and drug use, knowing the end is near; he plays every note of his memories and battles with dignity and wisdom, and then returns home to New York. The forlorn music includes early work of Monk and Bird, the standards of Gershwin and Porter. Gordon’s contribution aside, Herbie Hancock is on piano and others such as Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Billy Higgins all figure, with Lonette McKee on vocals. Hancock, who a star attraction at this year’s TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, also composed the film’s beautiful score.

Director Bertrand Tavernier (Coup de Torchon; Life and Nothing But; The Princess of Montpensier) clearly understands jazz, but he also understands the dynamic between the American artist and a young French acolyte - before he became a filmmaker he was a movie publicist in Paris in the 1960s and looked after such legendary Hollywood directors like John Ford and Howard Hawks.

"This movie teaches you everything about jazz that you really need to know… It is about a few months in a man’s life, and about his music. It has more jazz in it than any other fiction film ever made, and it is probably better jazz; it makes its best points with music, not words.." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Caesar Must Die

(Cesare deve morire)
(2012, 76 mins, DCP)
In Italian with English subtitles
Directors:
CAST Giovanni Arcuri, Salvatore Striano,
Classification:

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Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival last year, this powerful, gripping film marks a return to the world stage for the Taviani brothers, whose illustrious art-house career includes Padre Padrone, The Night of the Shooting Stars and Good Morning, Babylon.

Filmed in a documentary style in Rome’s high security Rebibbia prison, the movie chronicles a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar performed by the inmates just a few miles from where the Roman emperor was assassinated. The actors are real life murderers, mafiosi and drug dealers, and their performances slip subtly between Shakespeare’s text and their own contemporary argot, blurring the lines (literally) between past and present, art and life… But complicating things even further, the Tavianis scripted everything, off-stage as well as on, so what we take for "reality" is every bit as artificial as the play itself - and just as true.

Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” usually runs about two-and-a-half hours uncut. Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s tale of a prison-based production of the classic runs 74 minutes. Yet the film gets on screen not only the play’s bloody, double-dealing, hungry essence, but the redemptive potential of art […] Such is literature’s power that the cast is more at ease portraying ancient Romans than speaking as versions of themselves. Muses the man playing Julius Caesar, “To think I found this so boring in school.” Farrah Smith Nehme, New York Post

"At once ancient and dangerously new." Anthony Lane, New Yorker

Crulic - The Path to Beyond

(2011, 73 mins, Digital Betacam)
In Romanian, English
Director:
CAST Vlad Ivanov (voice)
Classification:
Reel Causes will present the screening on June 12.

Showtimes

When Claudiu Crulic, a young Romanian in Poland, was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, he became a pawn in a Kafkaesque miscarriage of justice and went on a hunger strike to protest his treatment in jail. Anca Damian’s documentary is by turns chilling and heartbreaking, and also ironic, with black humour forcing through.

Crulic himself “narrates” the film posthumously, his words voiced by Vlad Ivanov, star of such Romanian New Wave titles as Police, Adjective and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days—but what makes this extraordinary documentary even more compelling is its strong visual style: Damian uses handdrawn, cutout, and collage animation techniques to create a strikingly memorable film.

"Technically a documentary, this brilliant medley of animation and cutouts, with slivers of live action tossed in, is creative interpretation at its most sublime. Crulic has a distinctly Eastern European dry humor, manifest in the drawings and in the rapid, highly detailed voiceovers (mostly in Romanian, with a few observational points made in English)…. Telling a tragic true story with almost lighthearted animation techniques is a brilliant choice that pays off." Howard Feinstein, Filmmaker

"Lean, astute… the variety of animation techniques - hand-drawn, cutout, stop-motion, and collage - indelibly convey the bureaucratic horrors the young man faced." Melissa Anderson, Village Voice

"Visually stunning… Magnificent." Anja Savic, Vancouver Weekly

Pieta

(2012, 104 mins, DCP)
In Korean
Director:
CAST Choo Min-soo, Lee Jung-jin
Classification:

Showtimes

Awarded the Golden Lion over The Master and To the Wonder by Michael Mann’s jury at the Venice Film Festival last year, Pieta is a blistering drama from the celebrated and controversial Korean director Kim Ki-Duk (Bad Guy; Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… And Spring; 3-Iron). In this intense and haunting story, a brutal loan shark is living an isolated and lonely existence when a mysterious woman appears claiming to be his long-lost mother. Suspicious, he subjects her to a series of tests and humiliations, but cannot shake her adoration - a love that opens up the hope of redemption. However, it may be too late to escape the horrific consequences of his past.

Violent and provocative, Pieta is nothing if not extreme, a movie reveling in almost absurdist dichotomies of good and evil. But if you can stomach the challenging first hour, the pay off tells us something unexpectedly poetic and moving about the relative value of money and compassion in today’s capitalist society.

"A master provocateur playing out his own neuroses and obsessions on the big screen…Like Lars Von Trier, his films don’t always work. But when they do … well, when they do Kim is capable of creating work that disturbs and troubles and finds beauty in unexpected places. This is one of those films." Todd Brown, Twitch

"The worst major festival winner since the Palme d’Or for Amour." Christoph Huber, Cinema Scope

"Pieta," a curiously engaging and wickedly twisted tale of crime and punishment on multiple levels, displays its theatrical minimalism like a dour badge of honor. " Eric Kohn, Indiewire

(660 mins)
Classification:

Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival

June 14 - 16, 2013

The Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival returns for its seventh year at the Vancity Theatre with 6 beautiful films which will provide a window into Taiwan for both Taiwanese and non-Taiwanese audiences.

Tickets: $8 (Afternoon) / $10 (Evening)

Tickets will be available soon, via Vancity Theatre (www.viff.org).

Please arrive at least 20 minutes prior to a screening.

For more info, please visit: www.twff.ca

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