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…
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.
“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.
"Anyone who can throw a hatchet and sue you is a force to be reckoned with." Meet Caleb Behn, one of the new generation of First Nations leaders, a charismatic and articulate young Dene lawyer grappling with the contradictions between tradition and modernity embodied in his own life by the examples of his mom (an oil and gas executive) and his dad (an environmentalist). Caleb’s dilemma will reverberate with anyone with a conscience.
It’s not a plant, not a fungi, and not an animal. It has no brain… yet it’s alive, it feeds, makes decisions, and it moves. Welcome to the world of slime mold, a single cell substance so strange scientists speculate it may be a visitor from outer space! "Imagine if Stanley Kubrick and Douglas Trumbull were tasked with making a 1970s educational science film about the pods from Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers and you’re some way to understanding The Creeping Garden." James Marsh, Twitch
Long in rights limbo (and never issued on bluray), GHOSTS… Of The Civil Dead is a near legendary Australian prison drama co-written and starring Nick Cave, and the feature debut of director John Hillcoat (The Road; The Proposition). Hard-hitting doesn’t begin to do it justice, this is an intense, scary, provocative film, but one that seems more relevant than ever judging by the mini-industry in prison-building that has taken over North America in the interim.
In the tradition of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, and The Grandmaster, The Assassin is a martial arts movie recalibrated as an exquisite work of art. It is the Tang Dynasty: 10-year-old Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts. One day, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised. "Heart-stoppingly beautiful." Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph
This experimental feature from Vancouver-based curator Bill Jeffries has three elements: text, visuals, and score. The visuals consist of long, surprisingly soothing takes of autumn leaves chased from the lawns and sidewalks of our own fair city. The text, appearing as superimposed captions, comes in the form of satirical imagined memos from VP Dick Cheney to President George W Bush, and touch on the major issues of that administration. Meanwhile the soundtrack is given to Mahler, his glorious 2nd Symphony. Filmmaker in attendance.
When a homicide detective makes the fateful decision to cover up a hit-and-run accident which kills a man, he invites karmic retribution on a grand scale in this wickedly ingenious suspense thriller.
“A masterclass in throat-squeezing, stomach-knotting suspense loaded with smart plot twists, dark humor and high-gloss visuals." Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
A fever dream within a dream, the latest transmission from celluloid fetishist Guy Maddin is part campy, whacked out tribute to vintage Hollywood melodrama, part anguished crypto-confessional, and all brilliant: a passionate, virtuoso pastiche that is also perversely original and sui generis. It’s the perfect date movie for film lovers - and replete with bathing tips!
Described by Rolling Stone as "the most intimate rock doc ever" this is about as complete and insightful a portrait of Kurt Cobain as we are likely to see. Granted access to the family’s home movies, director Brett Morgan (The Kid Stays in the Picture) goes from the ground up, but never shies away from probing questions or difficult emotional terrain. It’s a must-see.
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.
An essay-performance and screening by Jem Noble, featuring artist-edits of Ghosts of the Civil Dead (John Hillcoat) and They Live (John Carpenter).
The full length version of Ghosts of the Civil Dead will screen after Noble’s presentation; They Live screens Oct 31.
Naji Abu Nowar
A kind of reverse angle on Lawrence of Arabia, this 1916 desert adventure epic takes the perspective of a young Bedouin boy (Theeb, or "Wolf") who tags along when his older brother is compelled to guide a British army officer through dangerous terrain to the next oasis.
"A classic adventure film of the best kind." Variety
"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).
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!
Decades before the cinema was invented, Eadweard Muybridge became obsessed with capturing motion on film. His studies of horses at gallop were a sensation in their day. He was a pioneer in the field of photography, an innovator, equal parts scientist and artist - but he was also a strange and obsessive personality, whose rocky personal life descended into equally sensational melodrama. The directorial debut of BC’s Kyle Rideout, Eadweard is a massively ambitious and highly compelling feature film.
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 Snow reminds us how much is at stake here, in our own backyard, and give a fair-minded account of a highly contentious individual.
The latest screening from the City of Vancouver Archives features newly digitized films that focus on the city’s transportation, landmarks, industry, and domestic and public spheres. From Vancouver’s last interurban streetcar ride to its first Grey Cup Parade, from Obon in Oppenheimer Park to barrelmaking on False Creek, spend a Sunday afternoon reliving Vancouver’s past from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Local historian and artist Michael Kluckner will provide commentary during the projection. The silent films will be accompanied live by renowned jazz pianist, Wayne Stewart.
Render’s focus is on innovative and cutting-edge music videos that push the creative boundaries of the art form. Check renderfestival.com for program updates.