A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The stirring new documentary The Case Against 8, showcasing the lawyers and plaintiffs who challenged California’s 2008 gay marriage ban, is the best kind of popular history, a film that trembles with tears and hope, and I dare you to get through it without bawling some yourself."—Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
“Cotner and White’s handling of a hugely divisive topic is masterful ... Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, The Case Against 8 is essential viewing.”—National Post
"The film fascinates in part because the legal team behind the couples—and the American Foundation for Equal Rights that supported them—included Republican stalwart Ted Olson and Democrat David Boies, who had squared off in the famous Bush vs. Gore case, the 2000 battle over whether there should be a recount in Florida. Here they’re warm and toasty together and passionately committed to a progressive cause.”—Now magazine
In the land of the midnight sun, 14-year-old Tomas returns to the people and culture of an Inuk father he never knew. He and his mother, Anna, arrive in the small village of Igloolik in the heart of Nunavut following the mysterious death of his father. The second feature from the collective which made the acclaimed Before Tomorrow (2008).
"Experiences and milestones achieved amid laughter in the midnight sun punctuate Uvanga, which is bolstered by natural performances from local actors that draw us in while sharing the secrets of a place both strange and beautiful in its isolation." 3 stars (out of 4) — Linda Bernard, The Star
In the first of a new series of environmental films copresented with Sea Shepherd, Vancity Theatre is proud to bring back one of our biggest hits from last year, the powerful expose of how orcas fare in captivity in aquatic parks like SeaWorld. One of those movies credited with changing hearts and minds, Blackfish is an unforgettable film. This screening will be introduced by special guests.
Classified PG. Under-19s welcome with adult accompaniment.
Perhaps you remember Tilikum? The killer whale was a star attraction at Oak Bay, British Columbia’s Sealand of the Pacific park from 1983 to 1992 - when he was shipped out to SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. The sale took place shortly after the tragic death of a trainer, Keltie Byrne, who slipped and fell into the pool. Although Tilikum was officially exonerated from the death, eye-witnesses tell a very different story. And as filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite discovered, this was not to be the last human death associated with the bull orca.
"Blackfish has the capacity to stand the test of time as a gripping documentary synonymous with changing the way people see both killer whales and the multi-billion dollar industry that continues to exploit killer whales as playful tourist attractions" Daniel Pratt, exclaim
"A mesmerizing psychological thriller with a bruised and battered killer whale at its center." Variety
"Has the potential to take our society on the first step in the right direction." Alex Koehne, Twitch
When an elderly Sicilian fisherman rescues a boatload of African immigrants, he must decide whether to do what the law demands or what he knows to be right. A political powder keg sparks intense drama in Emanuele Crialese’s compelling and relevant piece of humanist filmmaking.
"Crialese is a sentimentalist at heart, but a fine one, and his compassion for the wretched of the earth is thrillingly amped by the movie’s ecstatic imagery. Like his neo-realist forebears before him, the director turns everyday activities and furtive acts — tending to a rotting boat, beating desperate refugees away from a tiny vessel, the tender ablutions of those same refugees on the shore — into a theater of danger, cruelty and sensual delight." Ella Taylor, NPR
"A stirring commentary on our better angels." Gary Goldstein, LA Times
The Cuaron brothers’ follow up to international hit Y Tu Mama Tambien reunites stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna for a piquant pop satire on Mexico’s obsession with soccer and celebrity. Gael’ Garcia Bernal’s Tato – nicknamed Cursi (“Corny”) - is is a quickfire striker. Beto - known as Rudo ("Rough") - is a great keeper. But which of them will escape poverty to find fame and fortune?
"Mixes soap-opera sentimentality with playful, jumpy aggression and dresses a bittersweet, rags-to-riches fable in the bright clothes of pop satire." AO Scott, New York Times
"Rudo y Cursi is a grave and calculated affront to the men of Mexico, and that’s the source of its roistering charm." Ty Burr, Boston Globe
Ana Lucia Cuevas
A moving, thought-provoking and rare documentary by a Latin American woman, recording her return from exile and into the still dangerous and volatile political environment of contemporary Guatemala. Where over the course of four years, writer-director Ana Lucia Cuevas discovers, through the archived records of the perpetrators of the crimes themselves, the involvement of her own government and foreign Intelligence Services in the abduction, torture and murders of her brother and his young family.
"A powerful, personal story of state-sponsored terror in Guatemala and the lasting effects it has had on families, “The Echo of Pain of the Many” is a timely testament to the brave, untiring efforts of Guatemalans to demand justice and dent the country’s long-standing veil of impunity." Guatemala Solidarity Network
When Claudiu Crulic, a young Romanian in Poland, was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, he became a pawn in a Kafkaesque miscarriage of justice and went on a hunger strike to protest his treatment in jail. Anca Damian’s documentary is by turns chilling and heartbreaking, and also ironic, with black humour forcing through.
Crulic himself “narrates” the film posthumously, his words voiced by Vlad Ivanov, star of such Romanian New Wave titles as Police, Adjective and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days—but what makes this extraordinary documentary even more compelling is its strong visual style: Damian uses handdrawn, cutout, and collage animation techniques to create a strikingly memorable film
"Technically a documentary, this brilliant medley of animation and cutouts, with slivers of live action tossed in, is creative interpretation at its most sublime. Crulic has a distinctly Eastern European dry humor, manifest in the drawings and in the rapid, highly detailed voiceovers (mostly in Romanian, with a few observational points made in English)…. Telling a tragic true story with almost lighthearted animation techniques is a brilliant choice that pays off." Howard Feinstein, Filmmaker
"Lean, astute… the variety of animation techniques - hand-drawn, cutout, stop-motion, and collage - indelibly convey the bureaucratic horrors the young man faced." Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
"Visually stunning… Magnificent." Anja Savic, Vancouver Weekly
Destin Daniel Cretton
Grace (a breakthrough performance from former child star Brie Larson) is a twenty- something supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers. Passionate and tough, Grace is a formidable caretaker of the kids in her charge – and in love with her long-term boyfriend and co-worker, Mason (John Gallagher Jr.) One of the most acclaimed American films of the year, Short Term 12 may sound earnest in outline, but it looks and feels vividly true - not surprising, when you learn that writer-director Destin Cretton worked for two years in just such a care facility in San Diego.
100% Fresh, Top Critics, Rotten Tomatoes
"It’s one of the best movies of the year and one of the truest portrayals I’ve ever seen about troubled teens and the people who dedicate their lives to trying to help them." Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
"A compact masterpiece of storytelling that brims equally with ambition and humility. It is, by a wide margin, the best film I have seen so far this year." Christopher Orr, The Atlantic
Dorothy Darr and Jeffrey Morse
Charismatic, ceaselessly evolving and crossing boundaries, reed man Charles Lloyd has been in the vanguard of jazz for over 50 years with his unique, flowing yet swinging sound. This intimate portrait, co-directed by his painter/filmmaker wife, conveys the astonishing range of Lloyd’s career, including his Memphis roots; his counterculture crossovers in the 1960s; seclusion in the 1970s; collaborations with Keith Jarrett, the Beach Boys, Burgess Meredith, Charles Bukowski, Michel Petrucciani etc; and the comeback that began in the late 1980s and is still going strong.
“One of the greatest saxophonists on the planet…never out of touch with his audience.”—BBC Radio 3
Audiences named this heartbreaking and inspiring story of a young filmmaker struggling with the diagnosis of MS the best Canadian documentary at last year’s VIFF (duplicating its success at the Toronto Film Festival). It’s easy to see why: DaSilva is unflinching in his honesty and resolute in his determination to make the most of what he has.
"DaSilva’s experience behind a camera shows in his brisk pacing, clear narrative structure, and the awareness that a story of sickness needs lighthearted distractions… Fueled by […] uncompromising intelligence and unrelenting candor." Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
“DaSilva’s strength and resilience … shines through every frame of his story… It’s a lovely, inspiring film, deeply personal and honest.” Kim Voynar, Movie City News
When I Walk makes it very clear that Jason isn’t all alone despite his support system. Rather, his support system, including his mom, makes him who he is, even more than his malfunctioning legs and hands. His life isn’t his disease, and neither […] is his lovingly collaborative film." Noah Berlatsky, The Dissolve
Vittorio De Sica
A sparklingly original comedy that casts Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren in three different stories set throughout Italy. In Naples, they are poor but resourceful, selling black market cigarettes on the streets. In Milan, Loren is costumed in Christian Dior and debates her preference for a Rolls Royce or her husband. And in Rome, Mastroianni is an industry scion who helps Loren’s prostitute set a wavering priest back onto the spiritual plane. Witty and unforgettable, this gem from master filmmaker Vittorio de Sica (Two Women, Marriage Italian Style) is picture-postcard beautiful and effortlessly hilarious.
Chogyam Trungpa, renowned Tibetan Buddhist leader, shattered notions about how an enlightened teacher should behave when he renounced his monk’s vows & eloped with a sixteen year-old aristocrat. Twenty years after his death, Trungpa’s name still evokes admiration and outrage. What made him tick? And just what is enlightenment, anyway?
Universally acclaimed as one of the best concert films ever made, Stop Making Sense documents the groundbreaking Talking Heads at their peak and was directed by Jonathan Demme. "A dose of happiness from beginning to end. Stop Making Sense is close to perfection."—Pauline Kael, New Yorker Magazine
One of the most exciting concert films ever."—David Ansen, Newsweek
"The overwelming impression throughout Stop Making Sense is of enormous energy, of life being lived at a joyous high."—Roger Ebert
Jonathan Demme returns to his favourite subject - Neil Young - for their third collaboration in six years. This is an intimate and intense account of Young returning to his homeland and performing a couple of blistering shows at Massey Hall in the spring of 2011.
"Shooting a couple of rapturously received gigs performed by a band-less Young at Toronto’s historic Massey Hall in May, 2011, Demme not only had his camera crew get up the singer’s nose (literally), he affixed small stationary cameras inside a piano, on the microphone stand and elsewhere to capture his subject’s every grimace, gliss of sweat and fleck of spittle….At film’s end, one is left in awe at the richness of Young’s oeuvre (which admittedly sometimes makes Bob Dylan’s seem like tidings of great joy), his stamina and his questing spirit." James Adams, Globe and Mail
"A feast for Neil Young lovers and initiates alike." Peter Rainier, Christian Sience Monitor
Lola in LA, Demy’s first (and only) Hollywood movie improves with age. Gary Lockwood is the aimless young architect who falls under the spell of a French photographic model (Anouk Aimee). "A marvel of tone and decor…forges the impossible bridge between Quentin Tarantino’s in-jokey cinematic universe of intertwined characters and events, and the recently-completed Before trilogy of Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke." Next Projection
"A marvel of tone and decor…forges the impossible bridge between Quentin Tarantino’s in-jokey cinematic universe of intertwined characters and events, and the recently-completed Before trilogy of Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke." Next Projection
"One of the great movies about LA." Geoff Andrew, Time Out Film Guide
During a workers’ strike in Nantes in 1955, steel worker François Guilbaud rents a room from a sympathetic widow. He has a pregnant girlfriend but falls out of love with her when he meets Edith Leroyer, a beautiful, working class girl who is unhappily married to a rich but impotent and neurotic merchant. Edith likes to walk around town naked with only a fur coat on, as a tarot card reader told her she would find love with a passing sailor. Every line of dialogue is sung.
"This unheralded latter-day masterpiece has been infuriatingly hard to see since its fleeting theatrical release in France. [Michel Colombier’ contributes a wall to wall score often staggering in its intensity and romantic longing." Mondo Digital
"A masterly effort to understand what is profound, what lies beneath, life’s melody." Armond White, New York Film Critics Choice
"Une chambre en ville is unquestionably a daring experiment in cinematic form, and possibly the most honest and revealing of all Demy’s films." Jamie Travers, French Film Guide
Demy’s first fully-fledged musical is a simple love story in which a shop girl (Catherine Deneuve, in her first major role) pledges herself to a mechanic, but marries another after he goes off to the Algerian war, leaving her pregnant. The script is entirely sung – you could even call it a soap opera. And like the best opera, it’s absolutely overwhelming.
"Surely one of the most romantic films ever made." AO Scott, New York Times
"With this most rapturous of melodramas Demy incorporates song and dance in the service not of escape but of realism. The effect is as riveting as it is profoundly moving." Joshua Klein, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
Emboldened by the success of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Demy determines to repeat the trick, on a grander scale, but in a lighter, more joyful vein, with virtually non-stop dancing, sisters Deneuve and Dorleac, George Chakiris, and even Gene Kelly himself. Miraculously, The Young Girls of Rochefort transcends its elaborate design to surprise and entrance. It’s one of the most sublime musicals you will ever see.
"Masterpiece. My favourite musical." Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Nothing rivals the musical in its ability to externalise emotions like love, longing and ecstatic joie de vivre… for Demy’s lovers, there really is heaven on earth." Geoff Andrew, Defining Moments in Movies
"The movie equivalent of finest vintage Champagne." Trevor Johnston, 1000 Films to Change Your Life
Lola, a cabaret dancer, is raising a boy whose father, Michel, left seven years ago. She is waiting for him. She sings, dances and occasionally dallies with passing sailors. Roland Cassard, a childhood friend whom she meets by chance, falls deeply in love with her. But she is waiting for Michel…
"Magical… Lola is imbued with a poignant awareness of the transcience of happiness and the difficulties and unlikelihood of love." Geoff Andrew, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
"Taps deep into a dreamy and wistful romantic spirit." Blake Lucas, Defining Moments in Movies