Path Alias: 


Program Running Time 93 min.

Jun 29 06:30 pm

Films in Program

Directed By: Grímur Hákonarson
(Iceland, 2015, 93 mins, DCP)

One of the hits of VIFF last year, this tale of Icelandic sheep farmers beset by disaster is a sleeper hit. Gummi and Kiddi are siblings and neighbours who have not spoken to each other for decades, but when one of their flock goes down with disease the stakes go sky high. The film is funny, raw, and surprisingly lean. It begins as absurdist comedy but winds up closer to existential tragedy.


(2015, 108 mins, DCP)
In Spanish with English subtitles
CAST Ricardo Darín, Javier Cámara, Dolores Fonzi
Classification: 19+


Jun 29 08:20 pm


Two of the Spanish-speaking world’s finest actors, Ricardo Darin and Javier Camara, team up for this moving, wry film about friendship, family, and last wishes. Julian (Darin) is dying, but doing his best not to make a big deal of it. Unexpectedly, his old friend Tomas (Camara) shows up on his doorstep (all the way from Canada). He can only stay for a few days, but Tomas means to make them count, whether Julian likes it or not. All the latter seems to care about is what to do about Truman, his beloved dog…

"Gay’s wise, wistful and well-observed film about two friends enjoying a final reunion in the shadow of impending death, is by turns amusing and affecting — and quite often both at once — as it focuses on a middle-aged actor’s efforts to put his affairs in order before he faces the final curtain. It should travel far beyond the fest circuit, and find receptive audiences wherever and however it is shown, for it speaks, gently yet directly, in a universal language." Joe Leydon, Variety

"Masterful… well paced, consistently engaging… extremely accessible." Robert Bell, Exclaim!

Emotionally direct… a clean-lined, sensitively-written and beautifully played two-hander that tackles complex issues in a refreshingly straightforward, downbeat way." Jonathan Holland, Hollywood Reporter

Sunset Song

(2015, 135 mins, DCP)
CAST Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Kevin Guthrie, Ian Pirie, Niall Greig Fulton
Classification: 19+


Considered a seminal Scottish novel, Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s 1932 classic, Sunset Song, sounds echoes of Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence in its bracing tale of a farmer’s daughter enduring all that life can throw at her in the World War I era. Realistic and romantic, it dovetails naturally with Terence Davies’ work (The House of Mirth; The Deep Blue Sea; The Long Day Closes) in its compassionate identification with a strong but struggling woman, and unsentimental view of an ignorant, patriarchal working class family.

After her mother suffers a tragic breakdown, it is left to Chris (luminous newcomer Agyness Deyn) to put aside her aspirations and care for her younger siblings as well as her domineering, angry father (Peter Mullan). Respite comes in the courtship of a sympathetic neighbor, Ewan (Kevin Guthrie), but the outbreak of the Great War comes hard on the heels of their wedding, and while the conflict seems a million miles away from their rustic existence, pressure mounts on Ewan to enlist…

Shot in 65mm widescreen, Davies’ stately, composed aesthetic harks all the way back to DW Griffith and John Ford; old fashioned, perhaps, but tapping into vast reservoirs of feeling.

"A grand-scale melodrama compressed into the quietly burning point of a single soul." Richard Brody, New Yorker

"Extraordinary visual grace… lyrical and harrowing." Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent

"A lyrical triumph." Mark Kermode, The Guardian

The Fits

(2016, 72 mins, DCP)
CAST Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Antonio A.B. Grant Jr.
Classification: PG


Jun 28 08:40 pm
Jun 30 06:30 pm

"This visually lush and uncommon coming-of-age story pivots on Toni (Royalty Hightower), an 11-year-old who tags after her older brother during his trips to the boxing gym of a neighborhood rec center. One day, Toni spies young female dancers practicing a routine that’s fiercer than any slugfest, and is wholly transfixed. She signs up, joining a sorority that initiates her into a surprisingly, satisfyingly complex femininity. Beat by beat, thrilling move by move, the director Anna Rose Holmer — making an impressively assured feature debut — proves that the his-and-her spaces of the boxing ring and dance floor are more multilayered than they seem." Manohla Dargis, New York Times


(2015, 108 mins, DCP)
In English, Tamil with English subtitles
FEATURING Dayananda Saraswati
Classification: G


Jun 28 06:30 pm
Jun 30 08:00 pm

In vivid and sensuous detail, Gurukulam follows a group of students and their teacher as they confront fundamental questions about the nature of reality and self-identity at a secluded forest ashram in southern India. Daily chores, meditation, rite and rigorous study are woven together, connecting the natural and spiritual worlds in moments of surprising revelations. The richly layered soundscape by Ernst Karel (Sweetgrass, Leviathan), the intimacy of images recorded by J.P. Sniadecki (Iron Ministry, Foreign Parts), the seamless editing of Mary Lampson (Harlan County U.S.A., Kimjongilia) combine to bring us into a place of extraordinary beauty and simplicity. From Swami Dayananda’s first lesson: ’Saying is only an expression of what you see’, Gurukulam is a rare invitation to look, listen, and experience a contemplative rhythm of life as old as the Bhagavad Gita and as new as present-day India.

Gurukulam is a rich and engrossing documentary about a way of life that is rooted in ancient texts and wisdom…You can apply the lessons to live a more fulfilling life whether you reside in a major metropolitan bustling city in the West or a tranquil village in the Himalayan foothills.”

Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, author and professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School

“An intense and rich experience. Gurukulam provides a strong antidote to Western reflexes that separate the practice of yoga from its erudite intellectual context. It is not merely a documentary, but also a means of teaching philosophy…” Andrew Gow, Professor of History and Religious Studies at University of Alberta

Neon Bull

(2015, 101 mins, DCP)
In Portuguese with English subtitles
CAST Aline Santana, Maeve Jinkings, Carlos Pessoa, Juliano Cazarre
Classification: 19+


Wild, sensual and utterly transporting, Brazilian writer-director Gabriel Mascaro’s second fiction feature unfolds within the world of the vaquejada, a traditional exhibition sport in which cowboys try to pull bulls to the ground by their tails. Neon Bull explores the vaquejada through the eyes of Iremar, a handsome cowboy who works the events. While he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, Iremar’s real dream is to design exotic outfits for dancers…

“The astonishing second feature by the Brazilian documentarian director Gabriel Mascaro, is a movie about animal smells. An intoxicating reflection on the interconnection of taste, scent, instinct and desire, the film, gorgeously photographed by Diego Garcia (Cemetery of Splendour), immerses you in the intensely pungent world of vaquejada…Neon Bull is a profound reflection on the intersection of the human and bestial.Throughout the film, the line between human and animal behavior is blurred. Sex is always in the air. But without much fuss, Neon Bull exalts carnal passion in beautiful, almost sculptural love scenes filmed from a middle distance." Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Mascaro’s vibrant depiction of Brazilian cowhands delivers a detailed look at a nomadic universe that’s simultaneously flamboyant and gritty. Lyrically involving and deeply sensual, Neon Bull showcases a full-bodied artist in command of his form… [It] provides a striking response to questions surrounding the precise nature of the movies. It’s a cinematic achievement that works on its own terms, beyond any semblance of marketplace pressure, and speaks to the unique power of the medium. Mascaro offers a window into a world that not only promises an original milieu, but invites viewers to become a part of it." Eric Kohn, Indiewire

"Stately, earthy, graphic, riveting… almost always beautiful." Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

Courted (L'hermine)

(2015, 98 mins, DCP)
In French with English subtitles
CAST Fabrice Luchini, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Eva Lallier
Classification: 19+


In this elegant courtroom drama, the outcome of the case playing out before the jury gradually slips into the background as Christian Vincent instead focuses on the courtship between the presiding judge (Fabrice Luchini, from Gemma Bovery and Cycling with Moliere) and one of the reserve jurists (Sidse Babett Knudsen from The Duke of Burgundy and TV’s Borgen). Improbable (and unethical) as such a relationship might appear in North American, there isn’t any hand-ringing in this typically sophisticated Gallic confection, just a witty, subtle and ultimately poignant romance between two mature adults brought together by circumstance. Imagine an especially polished episode of The Good Wife, augmented with a certain savoir faire.

"Humane, mellow, droll… honed to melancholic comic perfection." Guy Lodge, Variety


(2015, 93 mins, DCP)
CAST Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson, Charlotte Bøving
Classification: 19+


Jun 29 06:30 pm

Odds are you won’t go into Rams with particularly strong feelings about Icelandic sheep farmers. Yet Grimur Hakonarson’s funny, pungent, oddball drama has been one of the buzz titles on the festival circuit since it surprised many by picking up the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes a year ago.

Brothers Gummi and Kiddi occupy neighbouring hillside farms but haven’t spoken to each other for 40 years. When one of Kiddi’s flock is judged the best ram in the valley, Gummi can barely hide his disgust. When he reports his suspicion that the beast in question may be infected with scrapie, some feel it is just sour grapes. But if confirmed, the valley’s entire livestock may have to be put down. The brothers’ antagonism only deepens in this crisis. But perhaps deep down these stubborn loners are more alike than they care to accept…

This deceptively small movie turns out to be a model of lean storytelling, edging almost imperceptibly from absurdist comedy to existential tragedy.

“Every moment in writer-director Grímur Hákonarson’s strange and wonderful film is imbued with mystery and revealing dignity.” Chuck Bowen, Slant

“A wonderfully wry, charmingly understated comedy. Touching, beautiful and poignant.” Variety