Path Alias: 

Bitter Seeds (Globalization 3)

(2011, 88 mins, Computer Output)
A FREE panel discussion on Globalization with filmmaker and special guests will take place Sunday May 19, 8:30pm. See note below.


With industrial agriculture seemingly thriving in India, why have a staggering 250,000 farmers committed suicide in the past 16 years? Touching down in Telung Takli, intrepid documentarian Micha X. Peled traces the roots of this epidemic to an all-too-familiar villain: biotech giant Monsanto. Furthermore, he discovers that he’s not the only investigator on the case. Also seeking answers (and solutions) is aspiring journalist Manjusha Amberwar. Having lived through her father taking his own life, she now wants to stop other farmers—including her distraught uncle—from meeting an identical fate. Her quest not only requires her to knock on doors but also to break through India’s glass ceiling for women.

After his scathing exposés of big box retailers (Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town) and sweatshops (China Blue), Peled completes his "globalization trilogy" with a film that’s not only a stirring piece of investigative journalism but also a gripping life and death drama.

"The crisis depicted in Bitter Seeds is all the more dire when you consider that half the world’s population are farmers. Peled could have turned his cameras… to any place that industrial agriculture has driven out the little guys. One reason the tiny Indian community of Telung Takli makes sense is Amberwar—a compelling central character whose personal story raises additional issues about gender, class and non-farming employment opportunities." Peter Debruge, Variety

“Films like this can change the world.” Alice Waters

“A tragedy for our times, beautifully told, deeply disturbing.” Michael Pollan

Filmmaker Micha X Peled is our guest to introduce specific screenings and participate in a FREE panel discussion exploring these issues on Sunday May 19, 8.30pm. The panel will be moderated by Charlie Smith, Editor of the  Georgia Straight.

Panelist include:

Tzeporah Berman, Environmental activist and author of This Crazy Time,  . Considered "Canada's Queen of Green."-Readers Digest, Tzeporah Berman has been successfully designing and managing green campaigns for nonprofits for the last two decades, leading Bill McKibben to call her "a modern environmental hero."  She currently works as a strategic advisor for dozens of environmental organizations, First Nations and philanthropic advisors on clean energy, oilsands and pipelines.  She is the former co-director of Greenpeace International's Global Climate and Energy Program,  Executive Director and Co-founder of PowerUp Canadaand Co-founder and Campaign Director of ForestEthics.

Gerardo Otero is Professor of sociology and an associated professor of the School of International Studies at Simon Fraser University. His latest edited book is Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America (University of Texas Press, 2008, reissued in paperback in 2010), which is forthcoming in Spanish as La dieta neoliberal. His latest article, “The Neoliberal Food Regime in Latin America,” was published in the Canadian Journal of Development Studies in 2012. In co-authorship with Gabriela Pechlaner and Efe Can Gürcan, he has a forthcoming article September 2013 in Rural Sociology: “The political economy of ‘food security’ and trade: uneven and combined dependency.”

Micha X Peled has made documentaries for broadcasters in the USA, Britain, France and Germany, winning over 20 awards along the way. His films were released theatrically in the U.S., Europe and Japan, and on DVDs in eight languages (officially). Micha made his first film in 1992, when his mother sent him the manuscript of her life story, which became Will My Mother Go Back to Berlin? When celebrated Los Angeles Times critic Charles Champlin wrote “it’s a damn good movie,” Micha believed him, quit his job to become a fulltime filmmaker, and never looked back. Not that it was all smelling the roses – he got out of Iran shortly before being exposed for filming illegally, in China his crew was arrested and his footage confiscated, and his shoot in Bombay’s central train station was cancelled when a terrorist group started shooting first. In New York the audience shouted, “Traitor” at the premier of You, Me, Jerusalem, which he co-directed with a Palestinian filmmaker. His Globalization Trilogy began in the U.S. with Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town about a small town fighting to keep out the world’s largest retailer. It was followed by China Blue, the story of a teenage Chinese girl who leaves her village to get a job in a jeans factory and descends into sweatshop hell. After a fiction short, Delinquent, he completed the final film in the trilogy, Bitter Seeds. The film looks at the farmers' suicide crisis in India, through the story of one farmer who grows cotton exported to China's garment factories.


Mariachi Movie Night

(Ay Jalisco, No Te Rajes!‘ ("Hey Jalisco, Don’t Back Down!"))
(1941, 100 mins, DVD)
In Spanish
CAST Jorge Negrete, Gloria Marin, Carlos Lopez, Evaita Munoz Charchita
Classification: PG
The 5th MARIACHI FESTIVAL CANADA is scheduled from May 15th to May 20th 2013 in various cities and locations in Canada, including a Mariachi Gala in Vancouver on Saturday May 18th 2013. The festival features mariachis, dancers and performers from Mexico, USA and Canada. For a full calendar and information please visit: RATED: PG


In rural Mexico, when a young boy’s parents are killed, he is raised by a farm worker and the town’s barman, who instills a desire of vengeance in him, and as an adult he romances a young woman who is going to marry a rich man to save her father from financial ruin. This 1941 Mexican film classic became an enormous hit and features Jorge Negrete as the first cinematic singing Mariachi. This performance made Negrete - ’el charro cantor’ an international Latin film star and launched the appearance of singing mariachis in films.

As for the famous title song, Walt Disney borrowed the melody and added new English lyrics for his film The Three Caballeros (1944). The song has also been covered by Placido Domingo, Julio Ingelsias and even Senator Ted Kennedy, who apparently serenaded Texan voters with it while campaigning for Barack Obama in 2008.

I Declare War

(2012, 94 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
Classification: PG
Classification: PG Opening night supported by the First Weekend Club (this screening is restricted to those 19+).


Every day after school, two groups of thirteen-year old friends play ’war’ in a local forest. They make their own guns out of sticks, old toys, anything they can find. They play to have fun. One afternoon, the game gets a little out of hand.

One side’s commander, the brilliant tactician PK Sullivan, is clever, ruthless, and committed to the traditional military ideals of leadership, loyalty and victory. PK’s clear-cut world is complicated when Skinner, a loose cannon and enemy soldier, kidnaps PK’s best friend, Kwon, and holds him prisoner. Skinner goes off the deep end, ’removing’ his own commander and taking over the team. He’s obsessed with defeating PK and begins torturing Kwon to get information.

With overtones of "Lord of the Flies", I Declare War is a parable reflecting not only events broadcast nightly on newscasts throughout the world, but a chilling depiction of the capacity for youth - man - to take charge and to win at all costs. I Declare War is a kids adventure film, starring real kids behaving

"Sharp, funny and edge-of-your-seat chilling, this darkly provocative actioner, starring a startlingly stellar all-kid ensemble cast, turns a neighbourhood woods game of Capture the Flag into a high-stakes round of no-holds-barred jungle warfare – with the rules about to be broken. The fantasy-tinged film nails the ferocious intensity of children’s games (the imaginary world feels real in the moment) while it plays with cinema conventions (coming-of-age stories, war tales, etc). An after-school special you won’t want to miss." 4 stars Globe & Mail

"I Declare War is everthing The Hunger Games attempts to be, but better - it says more with less, goes farther while staying smaller, and finds reality in a more fantastical scenario… A Lord Of The Flies for a new generation, I Declare War deserves to be seen by adults and needs to be seen by kids. We don’t often get action films of any kind that have this much to say, much less films that are this delicately balanced between mainstream appeal and realistic intensity. Smart, touching, and exciting, I Declare War is sure to be one of your favorites of this year or next." Renn Brown, CHUD


(2011, 89 mins, DCP)
In Spanish
CAST Voices: Mabel Rivera, Tacho Gonzalez, Álvaro Guevara


By turns moving and funny, Ignacio Ferreras’ animated tale of two elderly men who become friends at a care facility for the aged is based on Paco Roca’s multiple award-winning graphic novel of the same name. Combining an honestly come by poignancy with bursts of caustic humour, this is an extraordinarily involving work for adults that earns it laughs even as it generates a profound sympathy for the unforgettable Emilio and Miguel.

Formerly a bank manager, Emilio is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s and is disoriented by his new surroundings at the care facility. His roommate Miguel, a care-facility veteran and a brazen trickster, turns out to be an unexpected source of support. Emilio—like all the the "clients" at the home—fears being moved to the dreaded top floor, nown as the floor for "lost causes." Miguel, naturally enough, hatches a wild plan to make sure that doesn’t happen…

"It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s sweet, it’s heartbreaking. It’s brilliant."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

"One of the most accomplished Spanish films, from any genre, of recent years." Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

"Wrinkles, an exceptional comic book, an outstanding film"

Gregorio Belinchón, El Pais

Beyond the Hills

(Dupa dealuri)
(2012, 152 mins, DCP)
In Romanian
CAST Cosmina Stratan, Cristina Flutur, Valeriu Andriuţă, Dana Tapalaga


After his nailbiting drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, Cristian Mungiu employs a slow-burning brand of suspense in this riveting account of a nun torn between her devotion to God and her loyalty to a lifelong companion. Having found her calling at a remote Romanian monastery, Voichita (Cosmina Stratan) is taken aback by the arrival of Alina (Cristina Flutur), who insists that they flee to Germany together. When the devout nun demurs, Alina comes apart at the psychological seams, leaving the monastery’s authoritarian priest (Valeriu Andriuta) convinced that she’s possessed. As Aline’s rescue attempt cedes to the priest’s relentless efforts to save her soul, Mungiu’s technical brilliance transforms Beyond the Hills into an equally captivating and disconcerting experience. His masterful long takes not only draw us deeper into the women’s trials, they also leave us with no avenue of escape from the mounting tension of his latest provocative tragedy. Based on a true story, the film refuses easy answers, recognising that horror emanates from love as easily as it does from evil.

"A quintessentially praiseworthy festival film: weighty in intent, unfamiliar enough in setting, rigorously masterful in execution… But what is remarkable about Beyond the Hills and the unexpected interrogations it awakens is the lingering sense of doubt it leaves you with. Not merely as to the virtues of organized religion—that would be too simple—but just as much the facile condemnation of it… It is a work that forces you into the not entirely pleasant yet oddly rewarding territory of moral uncertainty."—Joumane Chahine, Film Comment

"If you long for the bleak intelligence of an Ingmar Bergman film, where humankind is deeply flawed and God is indifferently silent and the landscape is cloaked in perpetual winter, then Beyond the Hills promises to be your cup of despair." 3 stars Rick Groen, Globe & Mail

"Riveting to watch and fascinating to think about afterwards." Philip French, The Observer

Return to Reichenbach

(2012, 56 mins, Digital Betacam)
In English, German with English subtitles
Introduced by filmmaker Maureen Kelleher and author Lisa Birnie Koerner (In Mania’s Memory).


Return to Reichenbach weaves the story of two women from opposite sides of Hitler’s Third Reich, who accidentally met in Toronto in 1977 when Mania, orphaned by the regime, hired a cleaning woman. Mania recognized the German woman, Johanna, as the guard who had protected her as a child in the Reichenbach concentration camp.

Through a delicate dance of conversations seeking closure, the film intimately explores their war experiences and witnesses their reunion on the site of the abandoned camp near the German-Polish border more than 50 years after the war.

When Director/Producer Maureen Kelleher first heard about the incredible coincidence of Mania and Johanna meeting in Toronto, her mind overflowed with questions. Was she really that guard? And if so, did she protect young Mania as a political act of resistance against a murderous regime, a moral awakening from the straightjacket of duty? Or was it something more personal— perhaps a reminder of a child she lost in the war?

Return to Reichenbach is the first documentary to capture together the experiences of a Jewish girl and an everyday German woman during Hitler’s reign — a survivor searching for closure over half a century later and a German woman who paid a huge price for ideals she supported or was too terrified to rebel against. A short discussion with the director will follow the screening.

Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams

(2011, 100 mins, DCP)
CAST Stevie Nicks, Dave Stewart, Lori Nicks, Sharon Celani, Waddy Wachtel, Glen Ballard


Decadent rock star, ’70s survivor, gypsy songbird, white-winged dove—the inimitable Stevie Nicks has entranced millions of fans worldwide with her poetic lyrics, sultry singing and featherand-lace style. In 2010 Nicks embarked on the recording of a new solo album, In Your Dreams, produced by former Eurythmics mastermind Dave Stewart. With cameras in tow, documentarian Stewart and diva Nicks set up shop in her home studio and reveal their collaborative creative process. Shifting dynamically among video formats, painstaking recording sessions and revealing interviews, this magic-tinged musical journey is a loving and tuneful portrait of the eternally bewitching Gold Dust Woman.

Directors’ Bios

Stevie Nicks is a singer-songwriter best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and an extensive solo career, which collectively have produced over forty Top 50 hits and sold over 140 million albums.

A multimedia entrepreneur, Dave Stewart’s career spans three decades and 100 million album sales, best known as a co-founder of Eurythmics.


(1996, 242 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
CAST Kenneth Branagh, Kate Winslet, Richard Briars, Julie Christie, Derek Jacobi, John Gielgud, Charlton Heston, Rufus Sewell, Timothy Spall, Robin Williams, Michael Maloney.


"One of the tasks of a lifetime is to become familiar with the great works of Shakespeare," wrote Roger Ebert, in his 4-star review for Kenneth Branagh’s acclaimed, unabridged film of the Bard’s most enduring tragedy. He continued: "Branagh’s version moved me, entertained me and made me feel for the first time at home in that doomed royal court…. His ’’Hamlet’’ is long but not slow, deep but not difficult, and it vibrates with the relief of actors who have great things to say, and the right ways to say them."

Transforming England’s opulent Blenheim Palace into the Danish court, and shooting on 70mm (DP Alex Thomson shot Alien 3 and Cliffhanger), Branagh gives us an interior epic of dazzling surfaces and dynamism. His Prince is anything but the typical man of inaction; he’s restless, anguished, and pulled this way and that - but always a compelling and charismatic figure, we hang on every word and gesture. He’s supported by a remarkable cast, eclectic (Robin Williams and John Gielgud, together at last!) but often enough inspired. And while the decision to give us the full, uncut text makes this a considerable commitment for the audience as well as the filmmakers, the pay-off is a much fuller and more rounded understanding of the play’s political context - the state of Denmark emerges as a key theme - and what may well be the definitive Hamlet of our times.

"Not only the best filmed adaptation of Hamlet I have ever seen, but the best cinematic expression that I have come across of any of Shakespeare’s plays." James Berardinelli, Reelviews

"As star and ringmaster, Branagh gets to the heart of Hamlet and goes to admirable lengths to take his audience there, too." Janet Maslin, New York Times

"100% Shakespeare and 100% cinema." Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel

(2011, 86 mins, DCP)
CAST Diana Vreeland, Richard Avedon, Twiggy


In her own words, Diana Vreeland (1903-1989) had the “extraordinary luck to be born in Paris,” a fitting birthplace for a woman who went on to dictate the sartorial zeitgeist for much of her lifetime. Both the inventor and embodiment of the term "pizzazz", Vreeland cut a striking figure with a distinctive bob, almost masculine features and an inimitable drawl.

Starting out as a columnist for Harper’s Bazaar in the late 1930s, Vreeland’s flamboyant, tongue-in-cheek column “Why Don’t You?” quickly established her irreverent, extravagant persona. Going on to on to become the magazine’s fashion editor, and later making Vogue what it still is today, she would shape the fashion landscape of the 20th Century, and in doing so, reshape the way women thought of themselves.

Featuring luminaries such as David Bailey, Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta, Anjelica Huston and many more, this tribute to one of our greatest style mavens, directed by her granddaughter-in-law, blends archival material, interviews and animation with a chic, assured hand that would have met with the firm approval of its elegant subject.

Italy: Love It or Leave It

(2012, 75 mins)
In Italian
CAST Luca Ragazzi, Gustav Hofer


In this amiable documentary hit, Italian journalists/filmmakers Ragazzi and Hofer wonder if those roads leading to Rome don’t also look like escape routes. There is an opportunity to move to Berlin - where rents are a third of the price, there’s less unemployment, and less homophobia too. Also Berlusconi doesn’t live there. Even so, Luca is loathe to leave. So they hop into a vintage FIAT 500 and set off to take stock of "the real Italy", with a pilgrimage to visit George Clooney’s Lake Como villa on the side.

"Effervescent." John Anderson, Variety

*** (3 stars out of 4) Rick Groen, Globe & Mail