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.
Powerful music, a gripping story and a tragic end: Puccini’s ever-popular Tosca performed with a fabulous cast. Among the star singers in this revival are Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel. Jonathan Kent’s detailed production draws to the full on the historical backdrop of Rome in 1800, an atmospheric backdrop to the love of the beautiful diva Tosca, the idealism of her lover Cavaradossi and the deadly, destructive obsession of the malevolent Chief of Police, Scarpia.
Arguably the most popular building site in the world, the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona is still a work in progress, 125 years after the first stones were laid. Designed by the controversial Catalan genius Antonio Gaudi, the Sagrada is a testament to Faith… Faith in God, in the natural forms that so inspired the architect, and also in man, for Gaudi always knew this work would have to be completed long after his life-time.
"This film is more than a documentary, it tells the story using beautiful and quiet images of the transformation of ideas, talks of human endeavour for perfection and in so doing, illustrates that the essential meaning of this edifice lies in its creation process and not only in its completion.
This creative process is illustrated in varying perspectives from inside the incomplete church as well as the complex structure of the exterior parts of the church.
The film gives cause for self-reflection on how the past and present are related, portraying people and destinies involved in the construction of the church and ultimately proves that something incomplete also has its own significance." Jury citation, Erasmus Euro Media Awards
"Both exhaustive and astounding in its detective-like exploration of the history of the impossibly ornate Catalonian house of worship." Jackson Scarlett, 7x7SF
A hitman for the Sicilian Mafia, Salvo is solitary, cold and ruthless. When he sneaks into a house on an assignment, he discovers Rita, an innocent young blind girl who must stand by powerlessly while her brother is assassinated. What follows is an intense exchange fueled by adrenaline and fear between the killer and his witness, one that changes their two lives in an instant. The darkness is lifted from Rita’s eyes just as Salvo decides, against his murderous instincts, to spare her life. From then on, both haunted by their brief encounter, these two damaged souls will attempt to navigate their dangerous next steps side by side.
“Moody… fully immersive… effortlessly intense.” Boyd van Hoeij, Variety
"A soulful romance, an existential action flick and something of a miracle movie - the appealing slow-burner "Salvo" hovers at the crossroads of genre." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"A sparse and languid Italian thriller that carries a debt to Melville." David Parkinson, Empire
Discovered by a wood cutter inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl lights up the life of this childless peasant and his wife - even though they’re perplexed by the lightning speed with which she grows into an exquisite young lady. Their "little princess" enthralls everyone she meets, and bestows such bounty on the family that they wood cutter moves them to a city mansion, where she is courted by the most eligible bachelors far and wide. A gem of a film from Studio Ghibli’s other master, Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies).
“Princess Kaguya has the feel of a true Takahata film, from its unshrinking emotional fidelity to its sudden, exhilarating leaps into fantasy […] There is a deep wisdom in this film, but a deep sadness too. If it is Takahata’s farewell, it’s one that will have a long echo, just like his 1,000-year-old source.” Mark Schilling, Japan Times
"A visionary tour de force." Maggie Lee, Variety
A pinnacle of animation in the new millennium." Matt Patches, IGN Movies
Fifteen years and 9 Antarctic winters in the making, Powell’s film gives a glimpse into what it is like to spend a full year living and working in the harshest place on the planet, presenting a never-before-seen insider’s view of the frozen south. It’s a dazzling movie, but never more so than in long, endless nights of the Antarctic winter, when the sun never rises, time stands still, and the aurora australis puts on a private show of heavenly dimensions. "An extraordinary achievement that reinvigorates our sense of wonder about the natural world." NZ Herald
You’ll think twice before using that overworked word “awesome” again after seeing Anthony Powell’s film […] There are moments when what Powell’s cameras have captured will bring you to tears. Which is why you need to see it in the dark, on a big screen." Helene Wong, The NZ Listener
Keenly poised between compassion and violence, this gripping slice of Nordic noir is a suspense drama that doubles as a character study. It’s also a rare crime thriller with a sympathetic female protagonist at its heart. Released from prison 9 years after a fateful shooting, Jenny tries to put her life back on the straight and narrow - but past associates have other ideas. A tour de force from writer-director-editor-cinematographer Ommundsen, and from his wife, Salomonsen.
"Stylish... Impressive... Delicate and brutal." -- Hollywood Reporter
When a homicide detective makes the fateful decision to cover up a hit-and-run accident which kills a man, he invites karmic retribution on a grand scale in this wickedly ingenious suspense thriller.
“A masterclass in throat-squeezing, stomach-knotting suspense loaded with smart plot twists, dark humor and high-gloss visuals." Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
“A masterclass in throat-squeezing, stomach-knotting suspense loaded with smart plot twists, dark humor and high-gloss visuals. . .A Hard Day is full of smart surprises and darkly funny lurches." Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
"A total blast." Jessica Kiang, Playlist (Indiewire)
One of the most popular movies at this year’s VIFF, this is both an acute psychological study and a deadpan comedy of manners, a portrait of a family riven by the father’s instinctive act of cowardice in the face of an avalanche during a skiing holiday. For all his attempts to pretend that nothing has happened, everything has changed. But what to do about it?
"An ice cold knockout. Brilliantly perceptive and frostily funny." Aaron Hills, Village Voice
"Damning, frequently hilarious study of imploding male ego." AV Club
"Visually stunning. Emotionally perceptive." Variety
Legendary Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer and political dissident Fela Kuti is brought to life in Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s (Taxi to the Dark Side) stirring evocation of the man and his music. Kuti’s raw charisma, many wives, mesmerizing musical performances and political aspirations and persecution have been covered before, but Gibney’s decision to fold in behind-the-scenes documentation of the 2009 Broadway musical Fela! makes this kaleidoscopic film as protean and rousing as Kuti himself was.
"There’s nothing like seeing Fela himself - blowing his sax, expressing his unbridled sexuality and living a life like no other." New York Daily News
VIFF Vancity Theatre and the Cinematheque join together this weekend to celebrate the centenary of a cinema landmark. In the Land of the Head Hunters was the first feature film made in B.C. and is the oldest extant feature made in Canada. It’s also the first feature made with an entirely indigenous North American cast and arguably the first ever documentary feature. A portrait of the Kwakwaka’wakw (formerly Kwakiutl) people of northern Vancouver Island and the central coast, it was directed by Edward S. Curtis, the renowned American photographer of First Nations life.
Just in time for Christmas … the noirest of the noir and the last extravaganza that Orson Welles directed for a Hollywood studio, Touch of Evil is considered to be one his greatest movies achievements. There is a lot of plot, but it’s more of a character story about the grunting, wheezing detective Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles), a man who is truly in hell. The concept of borders and "crossing the line" is essential to Touch of Evil as many taboo topics are addressed in this baroque nightmare of a south-of-the-border mystery.
How does a 16-year-old evolve into a bank robber?
"Vital, thoughtful, and deeply personal, first-timer Darius Clark Monroe’s autobiographical doc stands as a testament to the power of movies to stir empathy. At age 16, honor-student Monroe had dabbled in employee-theft at the Venture store where he worked after school. Next, restless and foolhardy, he set his criminal sights higher, corralling a couple of friends and busting into a Stafford, Texas, Bank of America. Monroe wore a skeleton mask, one accomplice wielded a sawed-off shotgun, and a couple hours later Monroe’s mother found a shoebox on her bed filled with thirty grand. Monroe’s film is an inquiry into who he was becoming — and who he became during a five-year prison sentence." Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Tacoma garage rock band Girl Trouble has always traveled on their own unique and idiosyncratic musical path. For over 30 years, they have been standard- bearers for the collaborative spirit and do-it-yourself aesthetic that the Northwest’s indie rock scene was founded on. Director Isaac Olsen weaves together the band’s treasure trove of treasured memorabilia with present-day interviews with the band’s numerous collaborators, including Neko Case, Calvin Johnson, and Art Chantry. But ultimately, Olsen wisely lets the band members tell the story of their journey from self-proclaimed “weirdos” to Tacoma’s local champions and defenders of rock and roll.
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago follows various pilgrims, from ages 3 to 73, as they attempt to cross an entire country on foot – with only a backpack, a pair of boots and an open mind. Driven by an inexplicable calling and a grand sense of adventure, we witness the Camino’s magnetic and miraculous power to change lives. Each pilgrim throws themselves heart and soul into their incredibly challenging trek to Santiago de Compostela, and most importantly, their personal journey to themselves.
100% Fresh, Rotten Tomatoes
"Driving both the filmmaker and her subjects is wonder and wanderlust. Their enthusiasm for the Camino is contagious …" Diana Clarke, Village Voice
Roger Ebert wasn’t just the most popular North American film critic of the late twentieth century, in part by seizing the opportunities afforded by TV, he was also one of the most insightful and articulate, a wonderful writer with an insatiable curiosity about the world, deep knowledge of cinema, and the passion to communicate it. This acclaimed film from Steve James (Hoop Dreams) captures yet another side of Roger: how he blossomed in the loving family he found late in life, despite the terrible struggle with cancer that ravaged his body and left him unable to speak.
"Life Itself is a work of deftness and delicacy, by turns a film about illness and death, about writing, about cinema and, finally, and very movingly a film about love." Geoffrey O’Brien, The New York Times
A slippery Texan corkscrew thriller in the tradition of the Coens’ Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men, this has Michael C Hall shooting a burglar and then dealing with the fall out when the victim’s father (Sam Shepard) shows up in town. Don Johnson is also on hand with a scene stealing turn as private eye.
"One of those movies that arrives every now and then with no fanfare but a canny sense of how to grab our attention and hold it in a tightening grip." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"A character-driven thriller with more twists than an off-the-map dirt road, awards-quality performances from the three leads, a rare sensitivity to the after-effects of horror and a sure directorial hand." Kim Newman, Empire
"It is a brutal, beautifully shot movie that starts out to be about revenge but then becomes something more, something even more primal and disturbing." Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
"The biggest crime story of the century!" That’s how Sam Fuller described WWII, a typically punchy declaration from a guy who knew what he was talking about: Fuller was a tabloid reporter and crime novelist before joining the infantry in time for D-Day. He returned to Hollywood and made noir thrillers (Pickup on South Street; Underworld USA), war pictures (Verboten!; Steel Helmet) and B westerns (40 Guns) with singular conviction. This is his story - as told by his daughter Samantha. Samantha Fuller will join us for a Q&A after this screening.
"If you don’t like Sam Fuller, you just don’t like cinema.” - Martin Scorsese
"Those intrigued by an indelibly influential persona that combined showman-like flamboyance, old-school masculinity and die-hard personal integrity to disarming and intoxicating degrees, will find much to chew on here." Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
Toothy Texan noir (with a tip of the hat to pulp master Jim Thompson), this tale of three teenagers who find themselves on the wrong side of big trouble when a foolish prank backfires announces an exciting new talent (or two) in the Hawkins brothers, who combine an evocative sense of place, a shrewd grasp of character and an unerring eye for suspense.
"A crackling small town thriller that deserves to be sought out." — James Marsh, Twitch
"This juicy tale of a reckless robbery and its spiraling bloody aftermath is enjoyably overripe pulp, steeped in grubby textures and flavorful atmosphere." — David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men; The Road) may be the hardest boiled writer in contemporary American letters, and James Franco certainly wasn’t making things easy for himself in taking on his third novel, a bleak depiction of a violent social outcast who lurches from disaster to catastrophe.