As close to omniscient as a film buff is ever likely to get, the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il was so enamoured by South Korean moviemakers Shin Sang-ok and his actress (and ex-wife) Choi Eun-hee that he had them kidnapped, whisked over the border, and put to work reviving local film production. They had little choice but to comply, and in the process, they fell back in love… "Perhaps the all-time strangest, most outlandish true-life story connected to the cinema and its practitioners…Fascinating on personal, political and cinematic levels." Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
One of the best reviewed films of the year, this is a stunning, dreamlike debut about a country doctor’s search for an abandoned child that takes him to a mysterious place where past, present and future become one. "Bi’s singular vision bears comparison to those of other geniuses such as Tarkovsky, Sokurov, David Lynch, Luis Buñuel and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Like those auteurs, he achieves what film is best at but seldom accomplishes — a stirring of a deeper consciousness, a glimpse into a reality transcending the everyday." Peter Keough, Boston Globe
A Slovenian high school class take against their new (German) teacher. When one of them takes her own life, the kids are quick to blame him even though the evidence is only circumstantial. As tensions rise, so too do ambiguities in this impressive, probing drama, an audience favourite from VIFF 2014.
Co-presented with Vancouver Foreign Film Society
With the recent passing of director Michael Cimino and DP Vilmos Zsigmond it is high time to reevaluate this notorious box office flop, a western - or anti-western - that was too radical for US critics in 1980, both in its politics and its aesthetic daring. Restored to its full glory, this elegy for lost ideals could be the greatest movie you’ve never seen.
A French platoon on a rocky outpost near the Afghan-Pakistan border is rocked by the disappearance of one of their comrades one night. Has he gone AWOL, or has he been captured by the Taliban? A couple of nights later another man vanishes, again without a trace. Captain Bonassieu (Jeremie Renier) is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery…
t’s not easy being a good father to two boys you barely know anymore. Elliot (Joel Kinnaman, Suicide Squad) takes his sons into the great outdoors for some target practice, but his attempt to get in Bradley’s good side by giving him the keys to drive them back home backfires badly when they skid off the road in the middle of nowhere. Shrewdly dissecting father-son and sibling tensions, this nailbiting endurance thriller shuttles vividly between interior psychological and external, environmental factors.
The latest from Quebec’s Denis Côté is a psychological thriller, a portrait of a successful businessman whose arrogance slowly begins to crumble under the duress of coping with his wife’s breakdown. Is her mute passivity actually a form of protest? Or is it a kind of karmic payback for Boris’s infidelities, greed, and narcissism? That’s the disturbing claim of a strange messenger (played by Leos Carax-favourite Denis Lavant) who encroaches on Boris’s country retreat.
Jasmin, once a successful actor in former Yugoslavia, now lives in Toronto with his second wife and young son. While juggling a construction job and a busy audition schedule, he dreams of re-launching an old televised stage show that made him famous in his homeland. When he is cast in a role that triggers recollections of the civil war, he is forced to reconcile his current reality with memories of his past success.
Seamlessly weaving the experiences of the Group of Seven with three modern day sleuths, Gary & Joanie McGuffin and Michael Burtch are determined to find the precise locations the artists painted. This beautiful film explores the rivers and lakes of Algoma and the land north of Superior, energized by breathtaking aerial and landscape cinematography, combining original photography, archival materials, paintings, and re-creations.
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Coppola’s second take on an SE Hinton teen novel is in a very different register to The Outsiders: it’s an expressionistic urban art film dealing in icons, symbols and a syncopated percussive score by Stewart Copeland of The Police. Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke star, along with a very young Diane Lane and Nicolas Cage (and "Domino", aka Sofia Coppola).
Jose Luis Guerin
Guerin revisits Blow Up by way of silent cinema in this haunting investigation of an ambiguous fragment of home movie footage from 1930. Parisian lawyer and amateur filmmaker Gérard Fleury disappeared mysteriously while off looking for a special quality of light. The film visits the now empty, perhaps haunted Normandy chateau. Finally, the archive footage is returned to, though this time treated, reversed and repeated, and new stories begin to emerge. It’s a strange, mysterious, even at times erotic film.
Catalonia’s Jose Luis Guerin is arguably the least well known of contemporary greats; his penchant for teasing poetry out of non-fiction approach has been emulated by many, but rarely matched. Here a professor of philology flirts with his female students and engages in amorous discourse with his wife. "Consistently amusing, frequently stimulating, and occasionally erotic work." The House Next Door
Among the few truly great films of the 21st Century, this is a spellbinding contemplation of contemplation, the act – and the art – of seeing. Guerin’s masterpiece follows a young man as he haunts a café in Strasberg, in search of… Sylvia, we guess. He gazes avidly at women. And we gaze too, watching him watching, seeing what he sees. Reminiscent of a Chekhovian short story, of Vertigo, of silents and musicals and experimental art film, In the City of Sylvia is very simple and utterly transfixing, and it cuts to the heart of what the cinema is about.
If the name "Hokusai" is unfamiliar, you will know the famous painting of a breaking wave which is his masterpiece. In this ravishing anime, we see that the artist may have had some unacknowledged help from his daughter. This gorgeous film is another example of the maturity and depth Japanese animators bring to the form.
In the tradition of much of the best Czech filmmaking, this wryly humorous and bittersweet humanist tale follows a dedicated home-care nurse in the South Moravian countryside.
Co-presented with the Vancouver Foreign Film Society.
Three twenty-something brothers are sent on a wilderness adventure designed as the last will and testament of their late and eccentric parents. In order to gain their inheritance, the three must all complete the trek together. Along the way, Daniel (the eldest, a father and business man), Tyler (the middle son, aimless and sensitive), and Jordan (the youngest brother, sweet and naive) encounter their eccentric stoner guide, Carter Cooper Jr., who seems to heighten the tension on an already tenuous trip.
Movies for Mommies screenings are modified for the enjoyment of moms and their infants. Screenings take place in low light with lower volume levels; baby changing facilities are available.
Jim Jarmusch gets the real dope on Iggy Pop and the Stooges.
At the age of 57, after years of blue collar jobs and another 20 years of small clubs and no breaks, Sharon Jones seemed finally to have hit the big time with her band the Dap-Kings. Then she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But that wasn’t going to stop her. Directed by legendary documentarian Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA), Miss Sharon Jones! is part music film, part cancer survival story, and 100% soul.
Juan Manuel Sepúlveda
Juan Manuel Sepúlveda spent two years hanging out in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside, getting to know its regulars and letting his camera roll. With his keen sense of framing, the action remains within the confines of the park and films the daily life of Harley, Bear, Janet and Dave.