Path Alias: 

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

(2015, 145 mins, DCP)
FEATURING Courtney Love, Dave Grohl, Nirvana
Classification: 19+


Nov 09 08:30 pm

"It’s been more than two decades since Cobain was found dead at age 27, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head—the intimations of which could be found in his lyrics and were known to his closest friends. In the immediate aftermath of his death, the myth-building began, as it tends to do with artists who leave us too soon. Since then, the narrative of Cobain’s life—on and off the stage and in and out of rehab—has become as familiar and ossified as gospel: the troubled Aberdeen, Wash., teen who started a garage band and vaulted to global superstardom, the sensitive soul swept up in a Sid-and-Nancy-like romance with Courtney Love, the battles with addiction, the overwhelming demands of fame, and the decision to check out. But as Morgen’s brilliant film (which also premieres May 4 on HBO) shows, the narrative was never quite that tidy. Normally I’m suspicious when a filmmaker gets into bed with his subject as Morgen has here. He had the cooperation of Cobain’s family, widow, and daughter. But that access merely allows the director to make Cobain’s story feel not only comprehensive and fresh but revelatory. Morgen gives us the man instead of the myth.

Montage of Heck begins at the beginning, showing us the bright, happy kid who sinks into restless depression (the “teenage angst” that later “paid off well”). He’s shuttled between his divorced parents, never quite fitting in or feeling at home. Through hauntingly animated sequences that bring the young Cobain’s scribbled journals to life, we start to sympathize with the loneliness that eventually led him to form the band that would become his surrogate family. From there, we see Nirvana’s underground success with Bleach, followed by the meteoric, multiplatinum success of Nevermind and all the adulation and attention that followed. Interviews with Love, bandmate Krist Novoselic, and Cobain’s first girlfriend flesh out the portrait and hint at the inevitability of the musician’s tragic path, including the most difficult scene to watch in the film: a home movie where Cobain seemingly nods off on drugs as Love cuts their young daughter’s hair. It’s uncomfortable. It almost feels too private. And some Nirvana fans, who like their icons unblemished, may choose to look away. But it proves that Morgen isn’t interested in hagiography. He wants to show us the real Kurt Cobain, warts and all. A"

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

"A masterful and often deeply moving portrait of a volatile American genius, a portrait that goes far beyond one man, one family and one rain-sodden small town. It depicts the society that nurtured and fed that genius, and that made his unlikely creative explosion possible, as being the same environment that poisoned him — and suggests that the rise and fall were inextricably connected." Andrew O’Hehir,

Movies for Mommies: MILK (Born Into This World)

(2015, 90 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In English, French, Portugese, Tagalog


Oct 19 11:30 am

Through an intimate and artistic lens, Milk brings a universal perspective on the politics, commercialization and controversies surrounding birth and infant feeding over the canvas of stunningly beautiful visuals and poignant voices from around the globe. Inspiring, informative, provocative and sensitive, Milk celebrates bringing a new life into this world with a strong call to action and reflection.

Please note Movies for Mommies screenings are designed for the comfort of young mothers and babies. Lights remain dimmed but not out; sound levels are lower than in regular screenings; changing facilities are available.

“Represents a celebration of life and motherhood ” Toronto Film Scene

“Stuffed with inspiring footage ” The Globe and Mail

Milk rocks ” Now Magazine

Fractured Land

(2015, 80 mins, DCP)


Nov 20 08:30 pm
Nov 21 08:30 pm
Nov 22 08:30 pm
Nov 25 06:30 pm

What would it be like to live alongside one of the shapers of human events, in their youth, before they transformed history? Meet Caleb Behn, a young Dene lawyer who may become one of this generation’s great leaders. That’s if he can discover how to reconcile the fractures within himself, his community and the world around him, blending modern tools of the law with ancient wisdom. As founder, Bill McKibben, puts it, "Anyone who can throw a hatchet and sue you is a force to be reckoned with."

Caleb sports a Mohawk and tattoos, hunts moose, and wears a business suit. His father is a devout environmentalist and residential-school survivor. His mother is a top executive for the oil and gas industry. His people, at the epicentre of some of the largest fracking operations on earth, are deeply divided. How does Caleb balance their need for jobs with his sacred duty to defend their territory? He has arrived at a key moment in history, sees the contradictions, and wants to reconcile them.

Filmmakers Fiona Rayher and Damien Gillis have been following Caleb for four years, capturing hundreds of hours of footage of his development as he goes through law school, begins sharing knowledge with other Indigenous peoples and starts speaking to larger and larger audiences— all the while dealing with deep community divisions and building a movement.

Vancouver: A Distant Mirror (from the City of Vancouver Archives)

(120 mins)
Classification: 19+


Nov 15 03:00 pm
Nov 29 03:00 pm

The latest screening from the City of Vancouver Archives features newly digitized films that focus on the city’s transportation, landmarks, industry, and domestic and public spheres. From Vancouver’s last interurban streetcar ride to its first Grey Cup Parade, from Obon in Oppenheimer Park to barrelmaking on False Creek, spend a Sunday afternoon reliving Vancouver’s past from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Local historian and artist Michael Kluckner will provide commentary during the projection. The silent films will be accompanied live by renowned jazz pianist, Wayne Stewart.

Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World

(2015, 75 mins, DCP)


Nov 20 06:30 pm
Nov 21 06:30 pm
Nov 22 06:30 pm
Nov 23 06:30 pm
Nov 25 08:30 pm

Named Best Canadian Documentary at HotDocs earlier this year, this completes Charles Wilkinson’s triptych of ecological films after Peace Out and Oil Sands Karaoke, all firm favourites at VIFF and Vancity Theatre. If you have never visited Haida Gwaii, then this is a great place to start. Wilkinson’s stunning cinematography vividly captures the raw beauty of this very special part of the world. It is also, of course, a battlefield, though Wilkinson finds reasons to hope that First Nations’ long-view of environmental sustainability can prevail over short-term economic interest. Granted this is a complicated and paradoxical struggle, and Wilkinson hears firsthand from those figuring out their own way forward in practical, not ideological, terms. It’s an inspiring film for that, and a worthy conclusion to a fine trilogy.

"So much more than a profile of this remarkable place and the cast of characters who populate it, this film captures the heart and heartbreak of the clashes it has seen, primarily over logging (in an unforgettable interview, a former police officer, who is Haida, recalls having to arrest his auntie at a protest). And it hints at what’s to come in a showdown over Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. As one resident warns and promises: ’We are ready to fight, believe me.’"—Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail

"A wonderful film about the environment that doesn’t just talk about solutions, but shows people actually putting those ideas to good use."

Toronto Film Scene

"Some of the most important environmental documentaries being made in the world include the work of director Charles Wilkinson"

The Film Corner

American Leafblower

(2015, 86 mins)
Classification: 19+
Filmmaker in attendance.


Nov 14 01:30 pm

This experimental feature from Vancouver-based curator Bill Jeffries has three elements: text, visuals, and score. The visuals consist of 50 long, surprisingly soothing takes of autumn leaves chased from the lawns and sidewalks of our own fair city. The text, appearing as superimposed captions, comes in the form of 50 satirical imagined memos from (it is implied) VP Dick Cheney to President George W Bush, and touch on the major issues of that administration. Meanwhile the soundtrack is given to Mahler, his glorious 2nd Symphony.

Director’s Statement:

The conversations between Dick Cheney and George W. Bush are ‘known unknowns’, as Donald Rumsfeld would have said; their content has to be deduced. American Leafblower extrapolates from the events of the Bush/Cheney era to reveal planning decisions and instructions that have created the world that we live in today. Cheney instructs Bush as if he was an idiot. From global financial instability to global environmental degradation, from globalized corruption and wars in myriad countries, to the current refugee crisis, Bush and Cheney had a ‘solution’ for everything and a hand in creating most of the global suffering we experience today.

Leafblowing is metaphorically invoked as a repetitious, pointless inanity that parallels the Bush/Cheney era in its selfishness and stupidity.Looking at the recent past, Leafblower is a structuralist anti-reverie on Machiavellian power abuse that is ‘narrated’ by Mahler’s 2nd Symphony.

Director’s Bio

Bill Jeffries is a Vancouver-based curator who retired from his post of Director/Curator of the SFU Galleries in 2012. As a BFA student at UBC in the 1970s he worked in both film and video, giving up both in 1983 when he set out on what became a thirty-year career curating exhibitions. His 2014 exhibition Bill C-38 Omnibus Counter-spell was an attempt at conjuring political change by picturing Prime Minister Harper as a colour negative.

American Leafblower is a poetic, experimental movie that should set viewers the question of whether G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney should face criminal prosecution. Recently emerging from retirement, Jeffries is currently the interim Director of the Gordon & Marion Smith Foundation for Young Artists in North Vancouver.