Are 4 wheels better than 2? Director Fredrik Gertten (Big Boys Gone Bananas!*) investigates the daily drama of traffic worldwide and the bicycle as a tool for change. Travelling from São Paulo, Los Angeles and Toronto, where cyclists fight daily for their right to the road, to Copenhagen, where forty percent of the population commutes by bike, Gertten meets activists and thinkers who are working for revolutionary changes. Bikes vs Cars is an intimate and powerful look at how to move away from car-centric models and toward livable cities.
The first feature from Scott Weatherall, a Canadian-born filmmaker who now lives and works in Taipei, Formosa Boulevard is a brash, snappy black comedy - The Hangover meets Snatch. Otis (Andy Gourley) is an unapologetic, alcoholic, freeloading foreigner, who lives for himself and he does what he wants. Danny (Mark Nielsen) is his opposite: he has played by the rules and lived his life to please everyone else… But on the day of his wedding, something in him snaps and he runs. On this particular night, Otis’s past will catch up with him and Danny will get caught up in the crossfire.
Introduced by writer-director Scott Weatherall.
In 1971, a group of friends sail from Vancouver into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world’s imagination. The Greenpeace story is vividly and dramatically told in Jerry Rothwell’s riveting documentary, a movie that reminds us of the central role Vancouver played in the foundation of the modern environmental movement, as well as the often difficult path that movement has followed over the years. Featuring candid interviews with Paul Watson, Patrick Moore and Rex Wyler, never-before-seen archival footage, and the music of Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Jodi Mitchell, Brigitte Bardot, Country Joe Mcdonald & The Fish and Can.
Valorized with great skill and insight by John Vaillant in his Governor General’s Award–winning book The Golden Spruce, Grant Hadwin’s journey from logging scout to eco-terrorist now becomes a powerful non-fiction film. Artfully reconstructing a life in the wilderness, Sasha Stone reminds us how much is at stake here, in our own backyard, and give a fair-minded account of a highly contentious individual.
This satisfying, ingenious mystery thriller finds unexpected new notes in some old tunes. Aki (Ayako Fujitani) is a conflicted Japanese crime novelist who flees a press junket in Tokyo and hops a flight to San Francisco. She meets a handsome young man in the hotel bar, but his susden disappearance propels her into a noir-tinged murder mystery worthy of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
"Feed me!" Levi Stubbs from the Four Tops provides the vocal chords for Audrey, a personable plant with vampiric tendencies in this irrepressibly dark but gleefully funny musical comedy. Steve Martin has a show-stopping turn as a sadistic dentist, but even he is upstaged by Bill Murray’s masochistic patient - while Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene are unexpectedly, genuinely, touching as the lovers caught up in mayhem. Showing here in both the darker, Director’s Cut (late show, 19+ only) and the original PG 13 theatrical release (Saturday matinee).
“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” So begins Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, based on the biography of real-life mobster Henry Hill and his brutal but seductive life of organized crime. Starting at full throttle and speeding towards a life of flashy cars, gold watches, women, cash and crime, Goodfellas gives us the best performances of every actor in the cast with an unforgettable sound track. Introduced by Melanie Friesen. Guest presenter: saxophonist Cory Weeds.
In what could be construed as a cry for help, John Travolta made it his mission to bring Scientology leader L Ron Hubbard’s sci-fi novel to the screen. He succeeded only too well. The movie was a big budget disaster. Travolta stars as a 9 foot tall alien (a Psychlos) lording it over the humans in a Rasta wig and KISS boots. Fortunately Vancouver’s own Barry Pepper is on hand to win the world back for mankind.
Copresented with Northwest Comedy, this screening will be shown in Hecklevision: allowing you, the audience, to text your running commentary, barbs, put downs and snark up there on the screen.
A furrball of a comic book movie, Catwoman was originally mooted as a spinoff for Michelle Pfeiffer after 1993’s Batman Returns. A decade, several actresses, and 28 screenwriters later, Catwoman emerged as an entirely new conception, a meek graphic designer, Patience Phillips, working at a large cosmetics company run by Lambert Wilson and Sharon Stone. Their latest product line is anti-aging cream - yep, that’s what this movie is about. As Den of Geek put it, this is a "weird mish-mash of The Crow and The Devil Wears Prada", with PG-13 friendly leather s/m trimmings. Miaow!
“We’ve come this evening to bring you some joy, happiness, inspiration, and some pos-i-tive vi-brations,” Mavis Staples tells concertgoers at the opening of this irresistible portrait of the irrepressible gospel/soul legend – a vow the movie delivers aplenty. Guided by her father, Pops, The Staples Singers married gospel and delta blues in the 50s; sang Freedom songs for the civil rights movement in the 60s; and topped the Billboard charts with “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There” in the 1970s. Interviewees include Bob Dylan and Jeff Tweedy but it’s Mavis’s huge voice that does the real talking. You’ll have a blast.
“One of the year’s best films. An urgent, illuminating dive into the headwaters of second-wave feminism. Wise, moving, upsetting, and sometimes funny. That defiant sisterhood changed the workplace, our sexual politics, our language. She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is the best filmed account of how that happened you could ever expect to see.”
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Join noted curator and Prelinger Archives content editor Bill Taylor as we take a trip through the heyday of industrial films, with a special emphasis on music! The novel idea of phone colors is introduced in "Once Upon A Honeymoon", "In My Merry Oldsmobile" is a Fleischer Studios animated salute to the car, featuring many ribald ideas you couldn’t get away with today; The 1956 Motorama, Models, and Music gleefully collide in the loopy “Design For Dreaming”, The Swingin’ 6 sings about the groovy new thing called the “Zip Code”, and this salute concludes with one of the beautiful industrial short films ever made, the Jam Handy Studios salute to the American Automobile worker, “Master Hands”.
When a drifter discovers a very special pair of sunglasses, it gives him a whole new perspective on life. See, these are a kind of x-ray specs. They reveal the true nature of the world we live in: the power elite is in fact an alien race, feeding off our apathy through the promotion of rampant consumerism. Far-fetched? Tell that to Donald Trump…
"Like Breaking Bad in real life," (Newsweek), Cartel Land plunges us into the heart of darkness, the front lines of Mexico’s narco wars, where the Knights Templar wreak havoc on anyone who opposes them, and into Arizona’s "Cocaine Alley", where paramilitaries vainly attempt to bolster the border patrols.
Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.
Steve Jobs went from computer nerd to entrepreneur, rock star, genius, and guru, and reshaped the world we live in while he was about it. But for all his accomplishments, does he really merit his near-universal acclaim and adulation? Alex Gibney (The Armstrong Lie; Going Clear) reveals the dark side of the Apple founder: his ego, ruthlessness (even when dealing with friends and loved ones), and dubious business ethics.
Scorsese’s hallucinatory nightmare of New York at its seediest, sleaziest 70s nadir is a potent, even toxic work, but a cinematic classic all the way. In an iconic role, De Niro is Travis Bickle, a neo-noir Viet-vet trying to rise up above the scum lapping up on the streets by any means necessary.
A man (played by avant garde filmmaker James Benning), father of two sons by two wives, calls his fractured family to his disheveled home. He informs them of his state of health, and requests their help in committing suicide. The film reveals the impact on the family as they confront their father/husband. The means by which this evoked is visual and poetic, expressed tonally rather than as plot.
American filmmaker Jon Jost is an uncompromising artist whose work stands apart not only from the Hollywood mainstream, but also from the off-Hollywood pseudo-independent sector. Jost has been remarkably prolific since switching from 35mm film to digital video in the late 90s - his website lists 20 feature length works in as many years. Distribution of this late work has been piecemeal at best, but judging by the two films we are screening this evening it deserves to be widely seen, enjoyed, and discussed. Both are narrative features, and even if Jost employs very different storytelling strategies from those we are used to these remain direct, accessible portraits of the emotional landscape in the American heartlands, distilled and dissected with singular clarity and insight. We are delighted to welcome Jon Jost to VIFF Vancity Theatre for these shows and acknowledge the support of Cineworks.
The most electrifying and influential American actor of the Twentieth Century, Marlon Brando never wrote an autobiography, but he recorded a vast archive of tapes: memories, ruminations, philosophy and personal observations, which have never been made public - until now.
"Listen to Me Marlon is the greatest, most searching documentary of an actor ever put on film, and it’s no coincidence that it’s about film’s greatest and most searching actor." David Edelstein, New York Magazine