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
Fans of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, it’s time to expand your horizons! This beautiful, sweet modern day fairy tale is the latest animated feature from Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars). Wolf Children is exquisite, a fantasy about a single mom, Hana, and her two kids, who are half human, half wolf. When they get excited, they spout bushy tails and long ears. Hana retreats to a remote farm to keep them safe from prying eyes until they are old enough to decide their own path.
"Mamoru Hosoda’s deeply moving and astoundingly contemplative work touches on the fleeting nature of life. Though devastating and gut-wrenching, the process of love, family and eventual moving on is considered a thing of beauty and something to be appreciated during the brief moments for which it lasts. 9/10" Robert Bell, Exclaim!
"An enchanting film, perfect for family viewing." Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film
Set in Yokohama in 1963, the latest animated feature from Studio Ghibli is a poignant teen love story, graceful, understated but full of feeling. Written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his son Goro, the movie tells the story of a lonely high school girl who becomes involved in the fight to save a delipidated boys’ club house.
"With its beautiful visuals and songs, Poppy Hill finds a deserving place among its Studio Ghibli peers."
"A beautifully artful, wistfully nostalgic coming of age romance!"
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
VANCOUVER PREMIERE - The school of Japanese asceticism called Shugendo is a blend of Shinto, Daoism and Buddhism. Followers practice arduous rituals in wildernesses and are deeply committed to protecting the natural environment. The film is a poetic and intimate journey into a rarely seen world between the developed and the wild, between the present and the infinite.
“Beautifully filmed, aesthetically pleasing, and religiously challenging." Paul Swanson
This portrait of deaf-blind Korean poet and essayist Young-chan is one of the most life-affirming films you will see - it’s a film about the communication of the senses, and the magical symbiosis of a loving marriage.
"Planet of Snail is simple, direct and magical. The warm, intimate story of a singular couple, it won the top prize at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, and it will win you over as well if you give it the chance." Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"A love story of uncommon loveliness and simplicity." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
"A perfect date movie." Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
In rural Mexico, when a young boy’s parents are killed, he is raised by a farm worker and the town’s barman, who instills a desire of vengeance in him, and as an adult he romances a young woman who is going to marry a rich man to save her father from financial ruin. This 1941 Mexican film classic became an enormous hit and features Jorge Negrete as the first cinematic singing Mariachi. This performance made Negrete an international Latin film star and launched the appearance of singing mariachis in films.
Joy and sorrow: These are the first words uttered in Huezo’s film, and the emotional key notes in one of the most moving documentaries of recent times. On the surface The Tiniest Place is the story of Cinquera, a village literally wiped off the official map during El Salvador’s 12-year civil war. But on a deeper level it is a story about the ability to rise, to rebuild and reinvent oneself after a tragedy.
"A profound expression of the twin powers of life and death…The subject of the Central American wars of recent decades has rarely received such a level of artistic treatment onscreen." Robert Koehler, Variety
"Unforgettable…One of the finest docs I’ve seen over the past year." Howard Feinstein, Filmmaker Magazine
"Superb. 10/10." —Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
Between 1982 and 1996, the Ixil and Quiché people took refuge in the mountains as a last resort to save themselves from the massacres carried out by the Guatemalan Army, which took the lives of more than 200,000 indigenous people. After those fourteen years, the communities ended up settling in the northeastern part of the range, an area currently under siege due to the wealth of natural resources to be found there. Lessons for a War is a celebration of the resistance of people preparing to defend themselves against another coming war. A chant of hope of a community that will not give up.
This special event features film, music, painting, prayer and hot chocolate, all in honour of Mexico’s traditional holiday, "Dia de los Muertos."
From 6:15 p.m. Art exhibit and Altar with photos of deceased loved ones.
7:00 p.m. Film introduction and explanation of the day of the dead custom.
Followed by Film screening: Macario This 1960 classic of Mexican cinema is based on a novel by B. Traven (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre), itself based on a folk tale. Ignacio Tarso plays a peasant who goes on hunger strike in the hope of a turkey dinner. He gets more than he bargained for when the Grim Reaper (Enrique Lucerio) strikes a deal with him.
8:40 p.m. Hot chocolate and prayer for the departed.
Followed by a short set of traditional songs performed by Mariachi Los Dorados.