Spies kidnap a child to ensure their secrets are not spilled by the father. Hitchcock liked this yarn so much he filmed it twice. But the original UK version has all the pep and originality of youth - and Peter Lorre in a pre-Hollywood role.
Revolution is in the air in David McVicar’s production of Mozart’s brilliant comic opera, starring Erwin Schrott and Anita Hartig with conductor Ivor Bolton.
"It’s a fine revival, beautiful and touching in equal measure, as Figaro always should be." The Guardian
All tickets $18
British documentarian Phil Grabsky followed concert pianist Leif Ove Andsnes for four years as he wrestled with Beethoven’s five piano concertos. Concerto is more than a portrait of a famous musician on tour; it is an exploration into Ludwig van Beethoven’s life as revealed by these five masterworks. The relationship between the composer and his world is mirrored by the relationship between the pianist and orchestra in these concertos.
Phil Grabsky will be in attendance.
Following on from his explorations of Beethoven, Mozart and others, Phil Grabsky investigates the life and work of the great Russian composer. "Told mostly through letters sent by the Polish wunderkind (many to or about the love of his life, britches-wearing novelist Georges Sand), the intensely piano-centred film features astute comments and even better illustrations from the likes of Daniel Barenboim, Lars Vogt, and Leif Ove Andsnes." Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight
Filmmaker in attendance
Robert Donat stars as Richard Hannay, a Canadian in London, another of Hitchcock’s wrong men, embarrassed by the dead woman lying across his bed with a knife in her back. Ducking foreign spies, Hannay heads north by northwest to Scotland, but soon he’s running from the legitimate police as well as fake ones, and handcuffed to a disgruntled blonde for good measure. Arguably the highlight of the director’s British career, this witty, romantic thriller provided a model he returned to many times.
1945. Concentration camp survivor Nelly (Nina Hoss) makes her way back to Berlin to track down her husband Johnny. But her face has been reconstructed and he sees only a resemblance to the woman he believes is dead. Instead he proposes that she pose as his wife so that they can claim her inheritance. Imagine Vertigo crosswired with one of Fassbinder’s post-war melodramas. One of the most compelling and complex movies you are likely to encounter this year.
Community Partner · WIFTV
Nesrin is an urban, middle-class woman recovering from a divorce. She’s quit her office job, abandoned her house in Istanbul, and come to the village house of her deceased grandmother to finish a novel and live out her childhood dream of being a writer. When her conservative and increasingly unhinged mother turns up uninvited and refuses to leave, Nesrin’s writing stalls and her fantasies of village life turn bitter as the two are forced to confront the darker corners of each other’s inner worlds.
One of the best reviewed releases of the year is actually six years old, the fourth feature by Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi (whose fifth, A Separation, went on to win the Academy Award in 2011). Several middle class friends meet up for a long weekend at a beach house on the Caspian Sea.The younger Elly has been invited along as a possible match for one of the friends, whose marriage recently fell apart. But things don’t go according to plan…
This masterly film from the director of A Separation and The Past exposes the faultlines buried deep within modern Iranian society.
Banned from making films in Iran, Jafar Panahi continues to do just that, this time while moonlighting as a taxi driver, a camera mounted to his dashboard. Operating somewhere between documentary and fiction, he picks up passengers in situations that lie ambiguously between the scripted and the naturalistic. "One of the most humane and imaginative practitioners of the art currently working…[has made] one of the most captivating cinematic experiences of this year." AO Scott, New York Times
An Israeli woman seeking to finalize a divorce (gett) from her estranged husband finds herself effectively put on trial by her country’s religious marriage laws in this powerhouse courtroom drama from sibling directors Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz. Winner of the Israeli Film Academy Ophir Award for Best Picture.
Italy, France, Belgium
In Rome in 1975 outspoken filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini was found dead on a beach, arousing suspicions that continue to this day. Director Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant) offers a kaleidoscopic view of the last day in the artist’s life (played by a sublime Willem Dafoe).
"Ferrara has come up with something pretty special here: a subtle, seductive, lamp-lit hymn to one artist’s talents from another in the process of rediscovering his own." Robbie Colin, The Telegraph
In this tasty mix of noir and comedy, a thirst for the genius of Italian winemakers transforms a shy bank clerk into a powerful wine writer, lothario and…possibly murderer.
Vincenzo Amato, Erika Blanc, Stefano Cassetti, Lambert Wilson
A luscious portrait of the great Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi (Elio Germano), from his days as the toast of Florentine literary circles to his death in the Neapolitan countryside.
Winner: Best Actor, David di Donatello Awards
Satirizing small-town life and politics while telling the touchingly comic story of friends at an impasse, this film follows two founders of a manufacturing cooperative who discover oil on their factory’s property. Noted Italian actors Luca Zingaretti and Pasquale Petrolo shine as the two co-op leaders while John Turturro brings an effortless comedic polish to his role as a consulting mining engineer from the US who arrives with dollar signs in his eyes.
Pier Paolo Pasolini traveled to Africa, Nepal, and the Middle East to realize this ambitious cinematic treatment of a selection of stories from the legendary The Thousand and One Nights. This is not the fairy-tale world of Scheherazade or Aladdin, though. Instead, the director focuses on the book’s more erotic tales, framed by the story of a young man’s quest to reconnect with his beloved slave girl. Full of lustrous sets and costumes and stunning location photography, Arabian Nights is a fierce and joyous exploration of human sexuality.
Arguably Bernardo Bertolucci’s most perfect film, this adaptation of Alberto Moravia’s novel is one of the most visually dazzling movies ever made (DP Vittorio Storaro went on to shoot Apocalypse Now and most of Bertolucci’s subsequent epics. Jean Louis Trintignant is the existential anti-hero, pressed into a political assassination by Mussolini’s security apparatus. w. Stefania Sandrelli, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Clementi.
Visconti’s mid-70s drama stars Burt Lancaster as a retired American professor whose quiet life in a Roman palazzo is turned upside down when he rents out the upper floor to a vulgar marchesa and her companions, her lover, her daughter, and her daughter’s boyfriend.
With Helmut Berger, Silvana Mangano
An epic tragicomedy from director Lina Wertmuller (Seven Beauties), Love and Anarchy plumbs the depths of fascist Italy from the perspective of a simple farm boy (Giancarlo Giannini) sent to kill Mussolini. w Lina Polito, Mariangela Melato
Winner: Best Actor, Cannes Film Festival
"One of the screen’s great portrayals of the hell-raising and malaise of young men in their 20s, hit Italy like a comic thunderbolt when it was released there in 1953 — and it struck the American art-house audience in much the same way when it premiered here in 1956. Now it returns, and unlike its five aging-boy protagonists, Fellini’s movie hasn’t lost its first youth." Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
w. Alberto Sordi, Franco Fabrizi, Franco Interlenghi
A big hit at last year’s VIFF, this intense thriller shows the moral struggle facing two wealthy brothers and their wives after their teenage children brutally beat a homeless man. Winner of four prizes at the Venice Film Festival.
w. Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Alessandro Gassman, Luigi Lo Cascio