Forget the Troubles and get your "Teenage Kicks" instead! Set in 70s Belfast, this is an appropriately unconventional biopic dedicated to the gregarious godfather of Northern Irish punk, record shop entrepreneur Tom Hooley - the man who launched The Undertones (then gave them away for an autograph).
"An impasssioned, funny and monumentally likeable myth-making comedy." Time Out
Their family names alone evoke horror: Himmler, Frank, Goering, Hoess. Hitler’s Children is a film about the descendants of the most powerful figures in the Nazi regime: men and women who were left a legacy that permanently associates them with one of the greatest crimes in history. What is it like for them to have grown up with a name that immediately raises images of murder and genocide?
"Quiet, simple and soaked in sorrow." Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
"Hitler’s Children was a film that had almost everything. It informed, it surprised, it made me think. Is killing just one or two people more acceptable than killing seven or eight? Where are the boundaries of love and forgiveness? Are there any, even?" John Crace, The Guardian
Dario Argento’s follow up to 1977’s Suspiria is one of the most dazzling horror movies ever made. A poet in New York, Rose (Irene Miracle) becomes convinced that she is sharing living space with one of the mythical Three Mothers, the Mother of Darkness. Indeed, the further she explores the building, the darker things become. Logic itself seems to bend as the rational world gives way to supernatural fears, forebodings, and sudden, violent death.
"Inferno is a masterpiece of absolute film, perhaps the most underrated horror movie of the 1980s." Kim Newman, Nightmare Movies
Maestro Federico Fellini died just over 20 years ago, 31 October 1993. His passing - and the star-studded funeral that followed three days later - inspired one of the first great media events of the new electronic age, a circus of celebrity, culture, imagery and emotion that Fellini probably enjoyed from on high. This new documentary brings those moments back to life again with the help of Fellini’s friends, colleagues and admirers.
Filmed in a documentary style in Rome’s high security Rebibbia prison, the movie chronicles a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar performed by the inmates just a few miles from where the Roman emperor was assassinated. The actors are real life murderers, mafiosi and drug dealers, and their performances slip subtly between Shakespeare’s text and their own contemporary argot, blurring the lines (literally) between past and present, art and life… But complicating things even further, the Tavianis scripted everything, off-stage as well as on, so what we take for "reality" is every bit as artificial as the play itself - and just as true.
Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” usually runs about two-and-a-half hours uncut. Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s tale of a prison-based production of the classic runs 74 minutes. Yet the film gets on screen not only the play’s bloody, double-dealing, hungry essence, but the redemptive potential of art […] Such is literature’s power that the cast is more at ease portraying ancient Romans than speaking as versions of themselves. Muses the man playing Julius Caesar, “To think I found this so boring in school.” Farrah Smith Nehme, New York Post
"At once ancient and dangerously new." Anthony Lane, New Yorker
ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL OPENING NIGHT GALA
The opening night gala for the inaugura Vancouverl Italian Film Festival includes an exhibition of drawings by Federico Fellini inspired by his love of food; live music by Roy & Rosemary; catered reception with Italian wine and food, and the Canadian premiere of the documentary short Federico of the Spirits, plus a special screening of one Fellini’s most beloved masterpieces, Amarcord, in 35mm.
Fellini exhibition: Live music (Roy & Rosemary). Wine, hors d’oeuvres
6.00, 6.30 FEDERICO OF THE SPIRITS (20 min)
7.00 Introductory remarks + film screening: AMARCORD
9.15 Catered reception. Live music.
Shortly after turning 50 and at the height of his career, Federico Fellini returned to the seaside town of Rimini, where he grew up, to make Amarcord (a neologism that suggests "mi ricordo" in the Emiliano-Romagnolo dialect: I remember).
Set in the 1930s, the film has the free-wheeling form that became one of Fellini’s hallmarks. It allows him to swing back and forth between ribald comedy, fantasy and melancholy.
"Amarcord is the least grandiose and most immediate of the maestro’s later films and deserves to be rated among the finest screen memoirs of the 20th century. It offers an extraordinarily lyrical and vivid succession of vignettes, inside the most subtly rigorous narrative structure of Fellini’s career. […] Although the figure of the boy Titta is obviously his alter ego, Fellini builds a generously fractured mosaic that belongs to no one central character or even the on-screen narrator… Like many autobiographical tales written or filmed, this one weaves the innocent, limited viewpoint of children into its wider social context, which here heralds the reign of fascism in Italy in the 30s. Poignant indeed is the gap, gradually revealed to the viewer, between the hints of violence and social exclusion to come (especially in relation to the Jewish population), and the life-affirming antics of youth. […] Fellini’s comedy, refreshingly, goes to the outer limits of vulgarity in a number of hilarious scenes. His style is streamlined here into a pure, exalted poetry of mist, flowing camera movements, pastel colours, and lightly artificial set design. A triumph of artistic form, its emotions are direct and affecting." Adrian Martin
A sparklingly original comedy that casts Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren in three different stories set throughout Italy. In Naples, they are poor but resourceful, selling black market cigarettes on the streets. In Milan, Loren is costumed in Christian Dior and debates her preference for a Rolls Royce or her husband. And in Rome, Mastroianni is an industry scion who helps Loren’s prostitute set a wavering priest back onto the spiritual plane. Witty and unforgettable, this gem from master filmmaker Vittorio de Sica (Two Women, Marriage Italian Style) is picture-postcard beautiful and effortlessly hilarious.
When an elderly Sicilian fisherman rescues a boatload of African immigrants, he must decide whether to do what the law demands or what he knows to be right. A political powder keg sparks intense drama in Emanuele Crialese’s compelling and relevant piece of humanist filmmaking.
"Crialese is a sentimentalist at heart, but a fine one, and his compassion for the wretched of the earth is thrillingly amped by the movie’s ecstatic imagery. Like his neo-realist forebears before him, the director turns everyday activities and furtive acts — tending to a rotting boat, beating desperate refugees away from a tiny vessel, the tender ablutions of those same refugees on the shore — into a theater of danger, cruelty and sensual delight." Ella Taylor, NPR
"A stirring commentary on our better angels." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
Barbara Steele became an icon for horror fans with her double role in this Mario Bava’s unforgettable debut feature. She plays both the innocent Katia, and the witch-vampiress Asa Vajda, who returns to life in 1830, 200 years after she was tortured and executed.
Shot in black and white by the former cinematographer, this gothic classic has an extraordinary creepy atmosphere and shots that imprint themselves on the back of your skull, almost with the force of that mask of death which gave the film its original Italian title.
"One of the movies that remain with me probably stronger than anything is Black Sunday… there’s a lot of old films – [Bava’s] in particular – where the vibe and the feeling is what it’s about… [t]he feeling’s a mixture of eroticism, of sex, of horror and starkness of image, and to me that is more real than what most people would consider realism in films…" Tim Burton
Set in Venice and Verona on the verge of Garibaldi’s expulsion of the Austrians in the 1860s, this has Valli as a countess seduced by feckless charmer Lt. Franz Mahler (Granger) into betraying everything she believes in. This classy, operatic melodrama enacts a ferociously unstable, masochistic relationship, a recurring pattern in Visconti’s work (see also The Damned and Death in Venice). Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles are among six credited screenwriters.
When Cardinal Bergoglio became Pope Francis last year, it was an expression of the humility and love he admired in Saint Francis of Assisi - which also happens to be the subject of this beautiful, sweetly spiritual and unexpectedly whimsical film written by Federico Fellini along with the pioneer of neo-realism, Roberto Rossellini, who also directed.
“I’ve never seen the life of a saint treated on film with so little solemnity and so much warmth.” Martin Scorsese
In this quirky ensemble comedy a wealthy but lonely man (Castellitto) creates his own family Christmas by writing a script and hiring professional actors to play it out. It’s the ultimate game of charades, a play for an audience of one.
Domenico Modugno (played by Giuseppe Fiorello) charmed the world with his serenading voice, his songs becoming the symbol of the Italian grandeur in the 60s. Modugno had a multi-faceted and prolific career. From a very young age he was driven to perform. Together with Johnny Dorelli, Modugno launched his career with the timeless song “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (better known as “Volare”), a song that received two Grammy Awards with sales above 22 million copies, and represented Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest. Other songs “Piove” (also known as “Ciao, ciao bambina”), and “Dio, come ti amo” followed, while his hit song “Io” was sung by Elvis Presley in English under the title “Ask Me.” This tribute to the late, great Domenico Modugno charts the incredible artistic and human journey of a boy from the south of Italy who produced some of the world’s most recognisable songs.
In this hit documentary, Italian journalists/filmmakers Ragazzi and Hofer wonder if those roads leading to Rome don’t also look like escape routes. There is an opportunity to move to Berlin - where rents are a third of the price, there’s less unemployment, and less homophobia too. Also Berlusconi doesn’t live there. Even so, Luca is loathe to leave. So they hop into a vintage FIAT 500 and set off to take stock of "the real Italy", with a pilgrimage to visit George Clooney’s Lake Como villa on the side.
"Effervescent." John Anderson, Variety
*** (3 stars out of 4) Rick Groen, Globe & Mail
Equal parts drama, comedy and thriller, The Landlords is a riveting film from actor-turneddirector, Edoardo Gabbriellini with a sensational cast including legendary real-life singer Gianni Morandi making a return to the big screen after 40 years. Cosimo (Valerio Mastandrea) and Elia (Elio Germano) are two young brothers dreaming of success in the construction business. They travel from Rome to a remote Apennines mountain village where they have been contracted to rebuild a villa for the retired singer Fausto Mieli, a divisive local figure who is planning a comeback concert.
The provocative Italian filmmaker Elio Petri’s most internationally acclaimed work is this remarkable, visceral, Oscar-winning thriller. It’s the Kafkaesque tale of a Roman police inspector (a commanding Gian Maria Volonté) investigating a heinous crime—which he himself committed. .
"A provocative political thriller that is as troubling today as when it came out in the 1970s." Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"The movie survives beautifully both as an elegant thriller and as a study of the twisted infantilism that shapes the fanatic heart." Ella Taylor, LA Weekly
"Its portrait of a loner and his lusts comes up frighteningly fresh, and the whole conceit would collapse without the muscular, rousing presence of Gian Maria Volonté in the central role. He, as much as Petri, hauls the movie into the realms of Kafka." Antony Lane, New Yorker
Six year old Olo is sent away from Tibet to India by his mother so he can get an education. Now a student at the famed Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala (founded by Jetsun Pema, sister of the Dalai Lama), he has to make his way in a world quite different from his own. Director Hisaya Iwasa takes a creative and intimate approach to telling this true story.
Classified for youth: PG (please note this film has somber and sometimes harrowing content.)
Set in Japan during WWII, the film focuses on Seita and his little sister Setsuko. After their mother is killed in an air raid, and with their father serving in the navy, they are forced to fight for survival in the devastated Japanese countryside. Probably the least seen Studio Ghibli masterpiece (at least in North America), this is also one of the most affecting animated films ever made. Roger Ebert described it "as an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation," adding: "It belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made."
“Grave of the Fireflies” is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation… It belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made." Roger Ebert
A mysterious and engaging journey through sound, song, story, ritual, performance, nature, tradition and Japanese Buddhism… A fearless merging of medieval and modern, beautifully filmed with a variety of cinematic techniques on location in Japan. “Kanzeon” is another way of saying Kannon (Chinese: Kuanyin), the embodiment of compassion, and can also be written in Japanese as “to see sounds.”
"Stunning to look at… mesmerising musical sequences”
Frances Morgan, Sight and Sound
"A stunning new British documentary.”
Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye
Japan, France, Iran
The latest from master director Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy; Close Up; A Taste of Cherry) is a strange, seductive and beguiling love story set in modern Tokyo. Akiko is a beautiful student who moonlights as a prostitute, unbeknownst to her boyfriend. A liaison with an elderly academic brings all manner of complication to all their lives…
"Every shot — everything you see, and everything you don’t — imparts a disturbing and thrilling sense of discovery." AO Scott, New York Times
"A sly, teasing riff on the heart’s irrational stirrings… You emerge elated and slightly dazed…. But the movie’s sense of immutable desire resonates well after the lights have come up." Scott Foundas, Village Voice