Set in Germany from 1925-45, this Oscar and Palme d’Or winning film adaptation of the acclaimed Gunter Grass novel is the story of Oskar Matzerath. Born with an adult’s intelligence, Oskar throws himself down a flight of stairs at age 3 to stunt his growth in protest at the crazy hypocrisy of the adult world, and forever after marches to the beat of his own drum.
Guest Presenter Ken Wallace is a painter and retired associate professor.
Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, this is a contemporary story imbued with the rich, tangy flavour of Celtic mysticism. Ben is a lousy big brother to six-year-old Saoirse — he’s resentful that she can’t (or won’t) speak, and can’t forgive that his mum died during childbirth. Their dad (voiced by Brendan Gleason) hasn’t gotten over it either, but still their life together on the lonely island where he’s a lighthouse keeper seems infinitely preferable to the conventional upbringing their gran has in mind for them, living with her in Dublin. What none of them understands is how fundamentally Saoirse is connected both to her mother, and to the sea ... Dazzling kaleidoscopic imagery and a soulful approach make Song of the Sea is a magical experience, recommended for all ages.
"A quite delightful piece of magical animation ... a bewitching, moving and often enchanting film." — Mark Adams, Hollywood Reporter
"Song of the Sea is a wonder to behold. This visually stunning animation masterwork, steeped in Irish myth, folklore and legend, so adroitly mixes the magical and the everyday that to watch it is to be wholly immersed in an enchanted world." — Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"If I had to recommend the best children’s film out there for all ages, this one, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, would easily top the charts." — Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
Pasolini was a Marxist and an atheist, but above all he was a poet, and his film of the life of Christ gives us the feeling that we are there, with Jesus, cinema-vrite style. This is also the most contemplative film about Christ.
Guest Michael Audain is chairman of Polygon Homes, Chair of the Audain Art Museum and the Audain Foundation. He is also the first Honorary Chairman of the Vancouver Art Gallery, a past Chair of the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Vancouver Art Gallery Foundation.
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
Once upon a time in Vancouver, there was a baseball team called the Asahi, This was in the 1930s, when the city had a small Japantown on the downtown wharves, and the team was formed by the Canadian-born kids of immigrants. Smaller, and weaker, than the Caucasian teams, they struggled at first — but then they figured out a smarter way to win ... Like a Fred Herzog exhibition brought to life, this is a lavish historical piece, a more philosophical type of sports movie than we’re used to in N America, but something that we can recognize as part and parcel of our own cultural heritage.
"From a Vancouver perspective it’s a fascinating film. Beautifully shot, it recreates a lost world in Japantown, when Powell Street was all Japanese businesses and the Powell Street Grounds (today’s Oppenheimer Park) was a baseball park filled with throngs of Asahi fans." — John Mackie, Vancouver Sun
Documentary about the Portuguese singer Camané and the process of creating one of fado’s key works, revealing a rigorous search that allows him to achieve masterful interpretations. Featuring music by José Mário Branco, Raul Ferrão, Frutuoso França, Sérgio Godinho, Alfredo Marceneiro, Alain Oulman.
"Sexy, sunny and sweet-natured, this lovely animation by film-maker Fernando Trueba and artist and designer Javier Mariscal is a 1940s love story with all the brassy passion of a Barry Manilow number, set in the nightclubs of Havana and New York." — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"The year’s best musical and one of the year’s finest animated films, this utterly delightful Spanish movie is an affecting, funny, historically accurate and at times pleasingly erotic story." — Philip French, Observer
"A delightful riot of colour, design, emotion and music." — Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight
"Mr. Harris’s film is a family memoir, a tribute to unsung artists and a lyrical, at times, heartbroken, meditation on imagery and identity. The film is always absorbing to watch, but only once it’s over do you begin to grasp the extent of its ambitions, and just how much it has done within a packed, compact hour and half ... Mr. Harris marshals an impressive collection of scholars, artists and photojournalists to help us understand what we see ... He is a wise and passionate guide to an inexhaustibly fascinating subject." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"A sweeping narrative that traces from the 19th century to the 21st how African-Americans presented themselves in their own photos." — David Gonzalez, The New York Times online
"An extraordinary new documentary by filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris, is at-once a deep, rich dive into the history of African American photography and — transcending the subject at hand — a master class in visual literacy." — Mia Tramz, Time Magazine
For many, stand up comedy reached its highest expression one night in December 1978, at a theatre in Long Beach, California. In a performance of such authority and control it will astonish anyone who only knows him from his movie roles, Richard Pryor channels searingly candid autobiographical tales of pain, hurt and humiliation into gales of hilarity.
The screening will be proceeded by a half hour set performed by stand up comic Dino Archie.
"Probably the greatest of all recorded-performance films. Pryor had characters and voices bursting out of him ... Watching this mysteriously original physical comedian you can’t account for his gift and everything he does seems to be for the first time." — Pauline Kael
"I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at a stand-up act, and I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much about comedic influences in one sitting." — Michael W Phillips
Like 50 Feet From Stardom this is the story of unsung heroes, the session musicians who made the 60s swing. Guaranteed, you will never hear pop from that era the same way again. Touching on everyone from the Beach Boys to Elvis, Sinatra to Sonny & Cher, this is an astonishing glimpse behind the scenes at the hey day of American pop. "Wonderful, touching and hilarious." — Elvis Costello
"A treasure trove of witness-at-creation anecdotes and enduringly potent ’60s pop classics, The Wrecking Crew is a well-nigh irresistible treat for aficionados of music from the era when acts like the Beach Boys, the Association and the Monkees were topping the charts. Pic celebrates a loose-knit group of largely unknown (except by industry insiders) session musicians, many of whom supplied the defining licks and backbeats — and in some cases, actually played instruments for band members — on legendary recordings." — Joe Leydon, Variety
First shown in theatres just once, in 1970, this landmark documentary chronicles the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama, and culminating with his assassination in Memphis in 1968. It features dramatic readings by Harry Belafonte, James Earl Jones and Paul Newman, among others, with archival newsreel footage to create a comprehensive record of Dr King’s work with the Civil Rights movement.
"History of immense power." — Los Angeles Times
In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras was in the process of constructing a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four,” who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her.
"The documentary of the year may also be its most hair-raising thriller." — Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"This patient, beautiful, painful, engrossing film pits husband and wife against each other and their world in a series of extended conversations/confrontations." — Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
"Tense and frightening ... a primal political fable for the digital age." — New York Times
Belle star Gugu Mbatha-Raw is marvellous as the extraordinary young singer who is propelled in to a rollercoast career in pop by her ambitious mother (Minnie Driver). The movie chronicles how the music industry remakes Noni in its own highly sexualized image, but suggests (with an element of wish fulfillment) that there is a way out, and true love can save the day.
"One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I had this year." — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"Magnificent ... On its surface [it] seems to be a candy-colored pop fantasy about the love between a beautiful hip-hop superstar and a hunky cop. To be fair, it’s not not that. But how bracing today to have a film that’s at once fun, patient, romantic, and real… Beyond the Lights is a deft, gorgeous movie ... As we watch this dreamy, colorful piece of musical and romantic wish-fulfillment, we get the distinct sense we’re watching real life unfold." — Bilge Ebiri, New York magazine
Presenting one of the most popular romances of recent times in a less than wholesome new light, this is the Valentine’s Day show for anyone who can’t get date, doesn’t want one, or has partnered up with someone as cynical, bitter and sardonic as themselves. Whether you love The Notebook, hate it, hate that you love it, or tell anyone who will listen that you’ve never seen it, come vent your "frustrations" at the saccharine love story that set the bar for romance at an unattainable height and unleashed Gosling fever upon the universe with a no-holds-barred text takedown. Bring your drinks into the theatre, leave your phone on, flex your thumbs, stretch your wit, and heckle until your sides split.
Download the iOS MuVChat app to your iphone or send texts through your regular texting service.
Belle star Gugu Mbatha-Raw is marvellous as the extraordinary young singer who is propelled in to a roller-coaster career in pop by her ambitious mother (Minnie Driver). The movie chronicles how the music industry remakes Noni in its own highly sexualized image, but suggests (with an element of wish fulfillment) that there is a way out, and true love can save the day.
"Magnificent ... On its surface [it] seems to be a candy-colored pop fantasy about the love between a beautiful hip-hop superstar and a hunky cop. To be fair, it’s not not that. But how bracing today to have a film that’s at once fun, patient, romantic, and real ... Beyond the Lights is a deft, gorgeous movie ... As we watch this dreamy, colorful piece of musical and romantic wish-fulfillment, we get the distinct sense we’re watching real life unfold." — Bilge Ebiri, New York magazine
"One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I had this year." — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
Yogananda was the Hindu Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. Paramahansa Yogananda authored the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers and yoga enthusiasts today. This unconventional documentary has won critical plaudits everywhere it has screened.
"Fittingly enlightening, Awake: The Life of Yogananda is a vivid, elegantly assembled portrait of the savvy guru with the cherubic face and penetrating gaze who brought meditation to the West." — Michael Rechtschaffen, LA Times
"Gentle sitar music, languorous camerawork and soothing narration ... This could be a good movie to do yoga by." — The New York Times
Micah Smith’s 2013 Honor Diaries “is the first film to break the silence on ‘honor violence’ against women and girls. Honor Diaries is more than a movie, it is a movement to save women and girls from human rights abuses around the world.” This event is $5 and includes a panel discussion/Q&A and snacks/beverages.
Directors Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott’s 2013 film “chronicles ‘America’s leading environmentalist,’ Bill McKibben, in a David-vs-Goliath battle to fight the fossil fuel industry and change the terrifying math of the climate crisis.” This event is $5 and includes a panel discussion/Q&A and snacks/beverages.
Meet "the happiest sound in jazz" — and maybe the brightest mentor, too. Clark Terry was Dizzy Gillespie’s favourite trumpet player, but he’s also an inspirational teacher — the antithesis of the character played by JK Simmons in Whiplash. At 93, Terry is still teaching, taking blind 23-year-old piano prodigy Justin Kauflin under his arm, just as he did with Quincy Jones and Miles Davis before him.
"Consider it this year’s “Rocky” of documentaries: a heartfelt, uplifting tale that celebrates the joy of life and the triumphs of succeeding against all odds. The film stands as a loving tribute to the affable 93-year-old Terry, who performed in the bands of both Count Basie and Duke Ellington and seems to have influenced just about every jazz giant on the planet ... One need not be a jazz aficionado to enjoy this film. All that’s required is a smile." — David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
“Keep On Keepin’ On is ultimately an examination of the pursuit of greatness. It is a grueling and demanding endeavor, for sure, but also, for Mr. Terry and anyone lucky enough to enter his orbit, a source of unending joy." — AO Scott, New York Times
"As joyful as a jumping jazz riff, Keep on Keepin’ On is an inspiring story of devotion, dedication and multi-generational friendship." — Linda Bernard, Toronto Star
The first Iranian Vampire Western ever made, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype, and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave.
"Amirpour has crafted a beguiling, cryptic and often surprisingly funny look at personal desire that creeps up on you with the nimble powers of its supernatural focus. The director combines elements of film noir and the restraint of Iranian New Wave cinema with the subdued depictions of a bored youth culture found in early Jim Jarmusch ... The comparisons go on and on, but the result is wholly original." — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
"A wildly inventive Iranian vampire movie that grabs you by the throat with its dark, moody style, pulsating soundtrack and offbeat love story." — David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle