Path Alias: 

Thin Blue Line

Program Running Time 103 min.

Films in Program

Directed By: Errol Morris
(USA, 1988, 103 mins, HDCAM)

Dallas police officer Robert Wood was shot dead in November 1976 when he approached a blue Mercury Comet on the highway. Two men were in the car – who did it? With its Philip Glass score this landmark documentary put Errol Morris (The Fog of War; The Unknown Known) on the map. "Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini.” Roger Ebert

Introduced by David Beers, founding editor of The Tyee.

Cruel & Unusual

Program Running Time 95 min.

Films in Program

Directed By: Merlin Dervisevic
(Canada, 2014, 95 mins, DCP)

In this dark, twisted BC mystery thriller, a man finds himself condemned to a special place in hell, blamed for his wife’s murder – a fact he refuses to accept. His punishment is to eternally re-live that last dreadful day - unless he can prove his innocence…?

Stress Position

Program Running Time 79 min.

Films in Program

Directed By: AJ Bond
(Canada, 2013, 79 mins, DCP)

Two friends make a bet to see which of them can withstand a week of psychological torture at the hands of the other. What starts out as a bizarre but humourous reality TV scenario gradually spirals out of control.

Stress Position is an intelligent, thought-provoking film, which can only become increasingly relevant … the overall effect is a film you both want to see again because of its numerous admirable qualities, and never want to re-endure because the psychological tortures are so convincing and the verisimilitude too unnerving.” Alex Fitch, Electric Sheep Magazine

"A nearly flawless debut feature which jumps head first into psychological terror." Film Bizarro

"Stress Position is an attractive, inventive, creative film well worth seeing." David Jaffer, exlaim

Charles Lloyd: Arrows into Infinity

Program Running Time 114 min.

Films in Program

(USA, 2013, 114 mins, Blu-ray Disc)

Charismatic, ceaselessly evolving and crossing boundaries, reed man Charles Lloyd has been in the vanguard of jazz for over 50 years with his unique, flowing yet swinging sound. This intimate portrait, co-directed by his painter/filmmaker wife, conveys the astonishing range of Lloyd’s career, including his Memphis roots; his counterculture crossovers in the 1960s; seclusion in the 1970s; collaborations with Keith Jarrett, the Beach Boys, Burgess Meredith, Charles Bukowski, Michel Petrucciani etc; and the comeback that began in the late 1980s and is still going strong.

“One of the greatest saxophonists on the planet…never out of touch with his audience.”—BBC Radio 3

Finding Vivian Maier

Program Running Time 83 min.

Films in Program

Directed By: John Maloof
(USA, 2013, 83 mins, DCP)

This extraordinary documentary - one of the most popular films at VIFF last year - shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the life story of the late Vivian Maier, a career nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most accomplished and insightful street photographers.

"Compelling… haunting… captivating." Variety

"Poignant, informative, occasionally disturbing." Globe and Mail

Carmen, from the Royal Opera House

Program Running Time 180 min.

Films in Program

(GB, 2014, 180 mins, DCP)

Don José (Jonas Kaufmann) is a young soldier in the army in Seville. He intends to marry Micaëla, a girl from his home village, but when he meets the sensual and high-spirited Carmen (Anna Caterina Antonacci), his head is soon turned…Spanish heat and gypsy passion are brought to the stage in Francesca Zambello’s vivid production of Bizet’s famous opera.

Sung in French with English subtitles

Acts One and Two will last for about 1 hour 50 minutes, followed by a 15 minute interval. Act Three will last for about 1 hour 5 mins.

The Beautiful Game: Linha de Passe

(2008, 113 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Portuguese with English subtitles
CAST Sandra Corveloni, João Baldasserini, Vinícius de Oliveira


"Amid the ensemble cast of Walter Salles’s sensationally shot, tough-knocks urban drama one face stands out, the kind of face that owns a film and haunts you long after you’ve seen it.

It’s the face of Dario, who dreams of being a professional footballer. The actor playing him has a ravaged magnetism, just about the worst skin you’ve ever seen, and holds the screen with his hopes and surliness, like Jean-Pierre Léaud in Truffaut’s The 400 Blows.

Then the penny drops. Amazingly, this is Vinícius de Oliveira, whom Salles cast as the orphaned urchin Josué in his breakthrough film Central Station (1998).

He’s scarcely recognisable, and the realisation unleashes a shockwave of empathy, making you wonder what he’s been up to for the past decade, how things are working out. Salles and his co-director Daniela Thomas, who worked together on the 1996 movie Foreign Land, made this follow-up to chart the changes in Brazilian society over the past 10 years. But they hold up no better mirror to these than the pitted and pleading face of this no-longer-boy.

De Oliveira grew up as a wannabe soccer star, too, fatherless, with two brothers. Dario has three, from different fathers, and a mother trying her best, played in the film’s most tender and accomplished performance by Cannes Best Actress-winner Sandra Corveloni.

The template for this oddly lyrical inner-city dirge, with each of the four boys struggling to improve his lot, is Italian neorealism - Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers, especially - but it is not a nostalgic piece, and, for me, it’s the better film.

The gifted cinematographer Mauro Pinheiro Jr and that master of darkly keening sound-worlds Gustavo Santaolalla play up poverty and loneliness, the yawning despair of São Paulo’s empty highways at night.

The shame and terror of criminal enterprise hits with more force here than the high-octane machismo of other Brazilian hits."

Tim Robey, The Daily Telegraph

"A beguiling blend of urban poetry and extremely well-observed social realism."Wally Hammond, Time Out

"The film’s title refers to the line of players down which the ball is passed when all are playing properly together. It could hardly be more appropriate for a film that confirms that the unflashy virtues of teamwork are as vital in cinema as they are in life."Paul Julian Smith, Sight & Sound

Best of Hot Docs: An Honest Liar

(2014, 91 mins)


There will be a Q&A over Skype with co-director Tyler Measom after both screenings of An Honest Liar.

James "The Amazing" Randi is an 85-year-old magician and escape artist who’s been enchanted with illusions from a young age. Dedicating his life to learning the tricks of the trade, Randi became a sensation who toured the world, always honest about being a “liar, cheat and charlatan.” When people start using the same tricks but calling themselves "psychics"—like spoon-bender Uri Geller or "faith-healing" like televangelist Peter Popoff—Randi is angry and afraid for the people who are duped. Devoting himself to a new cause, Randi follows the deceivers from city to city, publicly debunking their claims. But when the FBI arrests Randi’s partner of 26 years for identity fraud, the layers of deception become blurred.

"Directors Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom apply the same relentless scrutiny to their subject that Randi brings to bear on the phonies he exposes."NOW Toronto

"(The filmmakers) turn a standard bio-doc about an extraordinary man into a rumination on the blurred line between trickery and truth."Toronto Star

Best of Hot Docs: I Am Big Bird

(2014, 85 mins, DCP)
Classification: PG


I Am Big Bird tells the extraordinary story of Caroll Spinney, the whimsical and endearing man behind Sesame Street’s beloved Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. While inspiring generations of kids for more than 40 years, not much has been known about the man inside the bird. Now, with Spinney approaching 80, we get to peek at how the magic was made. With an epic love story, a life-changing adventure in China and an almost-trip to space aboard the Challenger, both Caroll Spinney and his feathered friend Big Bird have had some incredible adventures and tragedies. Through an extensive collection of home movies and behind-the-scenes Sesame Street footage, the filmmakers capture an intimate portrait. If your heart warmed to the big yellow bird that entertained generations, your heart will melt in this loving portrait of the creative genius who brought him to life. (Heather Haynes)

“3.5/4 stars: thoroughly entertaining…a joy to watch.” Globe and Mail

“The triumphant tearjerker of this year’s Hot Docs film festival…speaks to the heart of a viewer and brings out the softie in everyone” POV Magazine

“One of the most emotionally effective performing arts docs that’s ever been made." Dork Shelf

Best of Hot Docs: Happiness

(80 mins)


In 1999, TV and the Internet came to Bhutan. In the remote village of Laya, perched high in the Himalayas, 900 residents have been waiting patiently for 15 years to get electricity. Eight-year-old Peyangki is one of the only residents who has never left the village, and he eagerly awaits the imminent arrival of the new technologies as a window to the wider world. After her husband’s death, unable to afford all six of her children, Peyangki’s mother sent the boy to the local monastery. Struggling with his new life there, Peyangki is stuck between two worlds, the old and the new. In this strikingly beautiful film, director Thomas Balmès (Babies) allows us to witness huge change through the eyes of this young monk’s life, from leaving the village for the first time to what it means for one of the last remaining villages to become connected. (Charlotte Cook)

"Outstanding… Happiness is a film to cherish." POV Magazine

"This is nonfiction film making at its finest." The Matinee