Wild, sensual and utterly transporting, Brazilian writer-director Gabriel Mascaro’s second fiction feature unfolds within the world of the vaquejada, a traditional exhibition sport in which cowboys try to pull bulls to the ground by their tails. Neon Bull explores the vaquejada through the eyes of Iremar, a handsome cowboy who works the events. While he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, Iremar’s real dream is to design exotic outfits for dancers.
Krista Loughton’s very personal, very moving approach to the story of four of Victoria’s street people may make you look at the homeless with renewed compassion and respect. Gabor Mate and Krista Loughton Q&A.
Vancouver film scholar Michael van den Bos follows up his 2015 Reel Jazz show with an all-new compilation of red-hot and blue jazz performances from the movies. This pulsating program features clips from live-action features and animated cartoons spanning the hot jazz of the early 1930s, through the swinging syncopation of the World War II big band era, to the post-war sounds of the soloists. Features Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller, Lester Young.
Follow Larry Weinstein (Inside Hana’s Suitcase) as he explores the origins of Adolphe Sax, the creator of the saxophone 175 years ago and the role the sax has played over time and borders. Did you know that the saxophone was banned from the Earth by the Nazis? Saxophones were burned and saxophonists were jailed and exiled.
This BC-made survival thriller follows two couples who come across coordinates to what promises to be a fortune in stolen gold. The only catch? It’s buried deep in the winter wilderness, a tricky terrain that will test not only their resourcefulness, but also their loyalty…
Filmmakers in attendance!
Attawapiskat is a name we are hearing more often: it’s the community that has been riven with a horrific spate of suicides this past year, and the same community which Stephen Harper implied was some kind of mis-managed money pit for Canadian tax payers (misleadingly, as it turns out). Vicky Lean filmed there from 2008 to 2013, a period which saw the much-heralded arrival of a new neighbour for Attawapiskat in the form of a De Beers diamond mine, just 90 miles away. Her film may be the most pressing portrait of Canada you will see all year.
This free show presented in association with our neighbours The Gathering Festival and Cineworks features a program of locally produced short films, live music, and the world premiere of a 26 minute short film, The Sound We See: A Vancouver City Symphony, made by 10 young people on 16mm black and white film, with musical accompaniment by Martin Reisle.
This entrancing, poetic, political documentary from the director of Nostalgia for the Light is a potent reminder of the abuses committed by the Pinochet regime, and a vivid essay on the stunning Patagonian Archipelago. "By turns lyrical, impressionistic and profound." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
Another film of immense ambition and scope from leading Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke (A Touch of Sin; The World). Set over three decades, from the turn of the millennium to 2025, the film charts the ranging fortunes of two men and the woman they both love (Jia’s muse, Tao Zhao). This is a film about China’s embrace of capitalism, but told with an unforced poetic simplicity and rueful conviction.
Written and directed by Irishmen in Havana, Cuba, this is an outsider’s outsiders’ story, the irresistible tale of an 18-year-old wannabe-drag artiste learning to put over a song and ultimately winning over his homophobic ex-con father. It’s a little bit Billy Elliot, and a little bit Pedro Almodovar, all shot in what one character calls, "the most beautiful slum in the world."
When the man they knew as their father passes away, brothers Gabriel (David Dencik) and Elias (Mads Mikkelsen) are in for a shock: turns out both were put up for adoption by their real dad, Evelio Thanatos. Taboo, or not taboo? This outrageous, philosophical farce crosses Hamlet with The Island of Dr Moreau, and perhaps a smattering of Step Brothers… Call it what you will, it’s a wildly unorthodox comedy which couches some deep thinking about genetics, nature vs nurture, and bestial behaviour in slapstick pratfalls, dumb and dumber jokes, and good old fashioned sibling rivalry.
Evocative of both The Virgin Suicides and Lorca’s House of Bernarda Alba, this (French-made) Turkish drama is the tale of five young, free-spirited sisters, house-bound and married off, one by one, at the insistence of their conservative muslim uncle and grandmother. Rich in character, nuance and beauty, Mustang has won international acclaim everywhere it has shown. Nominee: Academy Awards, Best Foreign Language Film
In this elegant, witty courtroom drama, the outcome of the trial gradually slips into the background as Christian Vincent instead focuses on the courtship between the presiding judge (Fabrice Luchini, from Gemma Bovery and Cycling with Moliere) and one of the reserve jurists (Sidse Babett Knudsen from The Duke of Burgundy and TV’s Borgen). Witty, subtle and ultimately poignant, this is like an especially polished episode of The Good Wife, augmented with a certain savoir faire.
The high cost of living goes through the roof in Ben Wheatley’s nightmarish vision of a very 70s British utopia, JG Ballard’s High-Rise. Tom Hiddleston stars as the upwardly mobile surgeon who has no idea what is store when he moves into his sleek new apartment building, a class-stratified designer paradise which comes to resemble hell on earth. With Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Jeremy Irons. Enter at your peril…
Considered a seminal Scottish novel, Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s 1932 classic, Sunset Song, sounds echoes of Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence in its bracing tale of a farmer’s daughter enduring all that life can throw at her in the World War I era. Beautifully photographed, Terence Davies’ film is a heartbreaking melodrama about emancipation, poverty, and life during wartime.
GB, Italy, France
Once upon a time Italian director Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah) decided to film a trio of medieval fairytales with the gusto and lustre of a modern day Fellini, and an international cast including Salma Hayek, John C Reilly, Vincent Cassel and Toby Jones. The results were ravishing, gleefully mischevious, and definitely not for kids…
One of the hits of VIFF last year, this tale of Icelandic sheep farmers beset by disaster is a sleeper hit. Gummi and Kiddi are siblings and neighbours who have not spoken to each other for decades, but when one of their flock goes down with disease the stakes go sky high. The film is funny, raw, and surprisingly lean. It begins as absurdist comedy but winds up closer to existential tragedy.
The Girl’s House deals with issues facing Iranian women while telling the story of two female university students who try to solve the mystery surrounding the murder of one of their classmates.
Conservative media have slammed the film for being against “traditional and family values” and despite a number of revisions, it has not received a permit for public screening in Iran.
Winner of the Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor awards at the Fajr International Film Festival, Bodyguard has proven a big commercial hit in Iran, a breakthrough for the director of 2004’s Bitter Dream.
Bodyguard, which stars some of the biggest stars of Iranian cinema – including Parviz Parastuyi, Merila Zarei, Babak Hamidian, Mahmoud Azizi, Amir Aghayi and Sheila Khodadad – tells the story of Heidar, a bodyguard for the country’s high officials and a moral idealist, who is led to suspicion and doubt the more he faces the dark challenges of his position.
Documentary celebrating Izzat Majeed Sachal Studios, a recording space for traditional South Asian music. A smash jazz/South Asian album caught the imagination of Wynton Marsalis.
"Like Buena Vista Social Club set to the beat of traditional Pakistani music, Song of Lahore is a feel-good exploration of making music as an act of defiance and the unifying property of love of the arts. Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who won her second Oscar this year for the short doc A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, directs with Andy Schocken." Toronto Star