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Chile

(Ulises)
Cine Chile

Oscar Godoy’s debut feature Ulysses is a classic migrant’s tale; Julio (Jorge Roman) may be a Peruvian man looking for a new life in Santiago de Chile, but Godoy is taking on a universal narrative here. With its alienating city scapes and anonymous shopping malls, Santiago could be any city in the world, likewise Ulysses is mining a cinematic seam which is intriguing, but also very familiar.

China

(Du zhen)
Hong Kong Spirit Films

The French Connection meets The Wire in this exhilarating mainland China cop thriller from Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To. Faced with the death penalty, drug trafficker Timmy Choi reluctantly enters into a partnership with narcotics cop Zhang to break a rich and powerful crime syndicate.

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

VANCOUVER PREMIERE - An intimate look at students and masters living in scattered retreats dotting China’s Zhongnan Mountain range today. These peaks have been home to recluses since the time of the Yellow Emperor. Filmed on location in China with humor and compassion, presenting the hardships and joy of their everyday lives among the clouds.

(Legend of the Black Scorpion)
Vancouver Opera Presents

Composer Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) contributes a lovely score to this visually dazzling Tang dynasty court intrigue starring Zhang Ziyi and Ge You (Farewell My Concubine). Mixing extraordinary pageantry with passionate, balletic martial arts sequences choreographed by the great Yuen Wo-ping, The Banquet is a sexed up Hamlet, a thrilling aesthetic experience in the tradition of Hero and House of the Flying Daggers.

"Highly entertaining costume melodrama on a magnificent canvas." Sean Axmaker, MSN

"Stunningly beautiful." Philip French, The Observer

"As eye-opening as it is thought-provoking… Brings new life to a classic… A true work of art." Bill Gibron, Pop Matters

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

SPECIAL PREVIEW PRESENTATION - A young filmmaker returns to China from study abroad, speaking French on the phone. He journeys from the bustling metropolis of Shanghai to a remote monastery on Tian-Mu Mountain where he’s reunited with his mother after a tragic fire. A subtle, intimate and mysterious study in contrasts that touches on family, loss, guilt and creativity. Here is a China in transition, with confusion and alienation along with the steady beat of Buddhist chants.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Master director Jia Zhangke’s most popular film yet, this Cannes prize-winning drama shows China’s gangsters, massage parlours, vicious bosses and desperate workers drawn into a whirlwind of violence, passion and vengeance. This brilliantly achieved film is a vital state-of-China bulletin, torn straight from today’s bloody headlines.

"A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, "A Touch of Sin" is at once monumental and human scale." Manohla Dargis, New York Times

"A bold, invigorating statement from a director who keeps reinventing himself." Scott Tobias, The Dissolve

"Intensely, consistently gripping." AA Dowd, AV Club

Vancity Theatre Screening

Kung Fu Hustle director Stephen Chow may be the CGI era’s closest ancestor to such subversive cartoon greats as Tex Avery and Chuck Jonze. Here the Hong Kong superstar remains behind the camera, but the mixture of gob-smacking slapstick and breathtaking fantasy is unmistakeably his own, turning the oft-told tale of ancient demon hunters into the kind of rollicking adventure Hollywood can only marvel at.

"Truly magical…[Chow] is like the Quentin Tarantino of kung fu, going back through the history of the Hong Kong genre and tapping everyone from the Shaw Brothers to his contemporaries (Jackie Chan, Jet Li) for inspiration. The result is a wonderfully entertaining work which manages to be both easily approachable for the non-subtitle set as well as true to its roots in ancient Chinese customs and beliefs." Bill Gibron, Pop Matters

"Rarely is it that a CGI-heavy spectacle such as this could be called both entertaining and inspiring in the same breath, but such is the unexpectedly special magic of Journey to the West." Kenji Fujishima, Slant

Denmark

Vancity Theatre Screening

The Audience Award winner at VIFF 2012, Thomas Vinterberg’s modern day witchhunt drama continues to exert a deep pull on audiences, and is now among the five nominees for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Mads Mikkelsen gives a stunning performance as the kindergarten teacher whose life is turned upside down when allegations of abuse surface.

"It is a devastating film to watch, a heedful one, and a tragic reminder that no matter how well a life has been conducted, the mere whiff of such scandalous behavior is condemnation enough." Betsy Sharkey, LA Times

"A powerful, provocative study of mob mentality and the fabric of trust." Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

Vancity Theatre Screening

Can you rewire the brain, just by taking a breath? In 1992 Professor Richard Davidson, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, met the Dalai Lama, who encouraged him to apply the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety to the study of compassion and kindness, those qualities cultivated by Tibetan meditation practice. The results of Davidson’s studies are portrayed in Free the Mind as they are applied to treating PTSD in returning Iraqi vets and children with ADHD. The film poses two fundamental questions: What really is consciousness, and how does it manifest in the brain and body? And is it possible to physically change the brain solely through mental practices?

"Grips your heart from the first moment." Film Comment

"By the end of this documentary, you’ll feel like a kid again, filled with wonder and questions about humanity and yourself." Marco Chown Oved, Toronto Star

"There is something healing about simply watching Free the Mind." Gary Goldstein, LA Times

(Kapringen)
Vancity Theatre Screening

The writer of VIFF-favourite The Hunt fashions a lean, taut, morally ambiguous Scandinavian thriller out of the facts of the hijacking of a Danish-owned cargo boat by Somali pirates (the very incident captured in the documentary Stolen Seas).

96% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes

"No mainstream American thriller could ever be made about this subject that resisted simple-minded narrative clichés the way "A Hijacking" does, or that refused to depict its characters as either heroes or villains." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

"A nail-biter of a thriller." Geoff Pevere, Globe & Mail

Vancity Theatre Screening

Taking his cues from Mozart and Metallica, Daniel Dencik gives us a berth on a three-masted schooner exploring Greenland’s icy northeast coast. On board, a motley crew of artists, photographers, geologists, archaeologists, biologists and mariners. The vistas are stunning, and inspire contemplation of the Big Questions - if they don’t get eaten by Polar bears first ...

“A sublimely idiosyncratic odyssey. While the scientists unearth fascinating details of a lost world, the artists in the group mull over the cosmic, and existential, implications, lending the voyage a Beckett-like sense of the absurd ... But even if the film were silent, its eerie landscapes are so breathtaking, and serenely composed, that we’d still be entranced.”—Brian D. Johnson, Maclean's

"With a mood and setting worthy of a murder story by Jack London, this audience-friendly, atmospheric work could be remade as a thriller, although that’s really what it is already."—John Anderson, Variety

Vancity Theatre Screening

Screening in two feature-length parts, Nymphomaniac is the wild and poetic story of a woman’s journey from birth to the age of 50 as told by the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg). "A ferociously entertaining experience in which one finds von Trier at the peak of his craft, linking together ideas about female sexuality, fly-fishing and artistic creation with equal amounts of playfulness and intellectual rigor." Scott Foundas, Variety

"A ferociously entertaining experience in which one finds von Trier at the peak of his craft, linking together ideas about female sexuality, fly-fishing and artistic creation with equal amounts of playfulness and intellectual rigor." Scott Foundas, Variety

"Hang on to your seat back, your Bible, or the hand of a friend. Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac bludgeons the body and tenderises the soul. It is perplexing, preposterous and utterly fascinating." Xan Brooks, The Guardian

Vancity Theatre Screening

Screening in two feature-length parts, Nymphomaniac is the wild and poetic story of a woman’s journey from birth to the age of 50 as told by the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg). "A ferociously entertaining experience in which one finds von Trier at the peak of his craft, linking together ideas about female sexuality, fly-fishing and artistic creation with equal amounts of playfulness and intellectual rigor." Scott Foundas, Variety

France, Poland, Denmark

Ida
Vancity Theatre Screening

Polish-born, UK-based filmmaker Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love) returns to his native land for this evocative, resonant art film about a novice nun discovering a family secret in the 1960s. Beautifully shot in black and white, this award-winning drama has been compared to the work of Francois Truffaut and Robert Bresson.

"In a very short time, Pawlikowski’s film tells us a powerful, poignant story with fine, intelligent performances." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

"This story of faith and despair is gracefully told, its simple, uncluttered spaces and luminous black-and-white photography harking back to Robert Bresson."JR Jones, Chicago Reader

"It’s absolutely stunning, one of the year’s best films, and a fulfillment of the promise that the director has shown for so long." Oli Lyttleton, Indiewire

Sweden, Denmark

Witches

Vancouver’s Funerary Call performs a new, specially commissioned live score for this mind-blowing 1922 cult classic. Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns and a satanic Sabbath are just a few of the ingredients that make up Benjamin Christensen’s witches’ brew of superstition, sorcery, surrealism and enlightenment.

"A unique film for its boldness in dealing with its taboo subject, for its amazing visual inventiveness, and also for its complex structure." Fernando Martin Pena, Defining Moments in Movies

"A truly unique work that still holds the power to unnerve even in today’s jaded era." Jyotsna Kapur, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

"An amazing experience. The film is overflowing with dark fairytale imagery, incredible makeup effects (especially Christensen himself in the role of a leering Lucifer) and shocking portrayals of torture that still make viewers cringe over 90 years later." Gregory Burkart, Fearnet.com

Denmark, Indonesia

Vancity Theatre Screening

Probably the most radical and powerful film you will experience this year, The Act of Killing is a searing expose of political amnesia and impunity in Indonesia, where the gangsters and thugs behind the murders of millions are celebrated as champions of free enterprise. It is also a surreal, provocative exploration of the psyches of these men - killers who proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera, willing collaborators in their own cinematic bonfire of the vanities.

"I have not seen a film as surreal, and frightening in at least a decade… Unprecedented in the history of cinema." Werner Herzog

Vancity Theatre Screening

Probably the most radical and powerful film you will experience this year, The Act of Killing is a searing expose of political amnesia and impunity in Indonesia, where the gangsters and thugs behind the murders of millions are celebrated as champions of free enterprise. It is also a surreal, provocative exploration of the psyches of these men - killers who proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera, willing collaborators in their own cinematic bonfire of the vanities.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Probably the most radical and powerful film you will experience this year, The Act of Killing is a searing expose of political amnesia and impunity in Indonesia, where the gangsters and thugs behind the murders of millions are celebrated as champions of free enterprise. It is also a surreal, provocative exploration of the psyches of these men - killers who proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera, willing collaborators in their own cinematic bonfire of the vanities.

Korea, Finland

DOCside

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

France

(Le magasin des suicides)

Business is booming at the Suicide Shop - a discreet boutique for the terminally-inclined. Then, disaster: Madame Tuvanche gets a surprise bundle of joy – a new baby boy so relentlessly cheerful he threatens to ruin the family business. The first animated film from celebrated live action director Patrice Leconte (Ridicule; The Man on the Train) turns out to be a whimsical black comedy worthy of Tim Burton himself, and a musical to boot.

"A mordantly macabre musical." Lisa Nesselson, Screen

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