The last of the great Ealing Comedies, The Ladykillers features a hapless gang of five supposedly hardened criminals who take a room in the home of sweet, old Mrs. Wilberforce to plan their next heist - while pretending to rehearse as a string quintet!
City Opera Vancouver conductor and artistic director Charles Barber
Curated by photographer Greg Girard, who will introduce the films: House of Bamboo & Long Arm of the Law The Walled City of Kowloon was an amazing and forbidding part of Hong Kong, and who better to introduce these films in which it features so centrally than photographer Greg Girard, whose book City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City is itself now legendary.
LONG ARM OF THE LAW Regarded as one of the top ten Chinese films ever made, this electrifying thriller was at the forefront of the "heroic bloodshed" films that dominated the Hong Kong industry in the 1980s. The story concerns a group of mainlanders, ex army men, looking to make a big score in Hong Kong.
Juan Manuel Sepúlveda
Between 1982 and 1996, the Ixil and Quiché people took refuge in the mountains as a last resort to save themselves from the massacres carried out by the Guatemalan Army, which took the lives of more than 200,000 indigenous people. After those fourteen years, the communities ended up settling in the northeastern part of the range, an area currently under siege due to the wealth of natural resources to be found there. Lessons for a War is a celebration of the resistance of people preparing to defend themselves against another coming war. A chant of hope of a community that will not give up.
Produced by Fernando Meirelles (Blindness, City of God), the film focuses on the musical portion of the turbulent, inspiring cultural movement headed by Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso in the late 1960s. With a psychedelic aesthetic much in vogue at the time, the film mixes archival footage (some rarely seen), with interviews, animation, and cool graphics.
Join us for the opening of The Copacabana Social Club Series with a special event featuring the film Tropicalia, live music, food and a free Caipirinha!
Doors open at 7.00pm, Film at 7.30, followed by music and mixer. Tickets $20 ($22 non-members). No student/senior discounts, guest or volunteer passes apply.
* VIFC Guest + Volunteer Passes are not valid for Best Of Hot Docs Series
How does a poor, single, African-American mother from segregated 1950s America wind up as one of the world’s most notorious jewel thieves? Stylish recreations, an extensive archive and candid interviews reveal how "Diamond Doris" managed to jet-set her way into any Cartier or Tiffany’s from Monte Carlo to Japan and walk out with small fortunes.
"Unsurprisingly, Payne’s life story is currently set to be made into a film starring Halle Berry, who has her work cut out for her if she’s going to inhabit the devilishly charming Miss Doris Payne, international criminal." Scott A Gray, exclaim
"4 stars, Must See!" Now magazine
“Is The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne Essential Hot Docs Viewing? Absolutely. You won’t find a more charming, befuddling subject of a film at this year’s fest.” Kristal Cooper, Toronto Film Scene
Are animals sentient beings, or are they property? Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur has made it her life’s work to challenge the widespread willful ignorance that allows animal abuse to carry on unchecked. For more than a decade she has documented animals held in captivity to supply our food, clothing, scientific research, or simply our entertainment. Her photos are sometimes heartbreaking, but also often unexpectedly beautiful, always soulful, and inspiring. The same could be said of Liz Marshall’s film, which gives a sense of the horrors humans inflict on animals, but also the immense spiritual bond which many of us naturally feel for other living beings.
"A superb example of committed fimmaking." 4 stars. Susan Cole, Now magazine
Mark Patrick McGuire
VANCOUVER PREMIERE - The school of Japanese asceticism called Shugendo is a blend of Shinto, Daoism and Buddhism. Followers practice arduous rituals in wildernesses and are deeply committed to protecting the natural environment. The film is a poetic and intimate journey into a rarely seen world between the developed and the wild, between the present and the infinite.
“Beautifully filmed, aesthetically pleasing, and religiously challenging." Paul Swanson
Kate Clere McIntyre
The untold story of how the ancient male practice of yoga has been revolutionized by a dynamic generation of female teachers and students. Yogawoman reveals how yoga has utterly transformed the lives of thousands of over-stimulated, overscheduled, and multitasking modern women, and how they in turn have "feminised" yoga itself.
* VIFC Guest + Volunteer Passes are not valid for Best Of Hot Docs Series
A film about the thin space between life and death, this is the story of Neil Platt, whose perfectly ordinary, very happy existence was turned upside down when he developed ALS. Within one year Neil became paralysed from the neck down. As his body failed, he tried to make sense of his life and communicate in a letter meant for his one-year-old son.
"Among the year’s most moving films." Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter
"Alternately heartbreaking and disarmingly sardonic." Basil Tsiokos, Indiewire
In 2012, a resurrection no one thought possible took place when legendary band, The Stone Roses reformed after 16 years. With unprecedented access to previously unseen archive footage, Made of Stone is a revealing journey through the life of one of the most revered and influential bands in British music history.
"Meadows has no agenda; he just loves the Stone Roses, and it’s a great, heartfelt tribute." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"By the time the long, throbbing concert finale begins, there is no doubt that Mr. Brown’s intensity has not faded over the years and that the Stone Roses’ breakup was a serious loss." Anita Gates, New York Times
"Made of Stone is a faithful, fan’s-eye account of the band’s return that also serves as a good primer in their music and their massive influence for the uninitiated." Jessica Kiang, The Playlsit
A rebellious teenager (Tatiana Maslany, Grown Up Movie Star) forced to repeat her last year of high school is caught between adolescence and adulthood — and between two very different male admirers — in this charming and vibrant debut feature from writer-director Kate Melville.
“One of the smartest movies on youth I have seen since “Freaks & Geeks.” Jason Whyte, efilmcritic
“Smartly written and directed by Kate Melville, Picture Day is a well-executed coming-of-age drama that distinguishes itself with its strong sense of its characters and their emotional universe.” Adam Cook, Filmmaker Magazine
“Engaging, funny and evokes all the beautiful awkwardness and confidence of being a teenager … Kate Melville has tapped into something very funny, real, and uniquely female … Tatiana Maslany absolutely steals the film as Claire … One of the best teen films this country’s ever produced.” Katarina Gligorijevic, Toronto Film Scene
Adam (Richard E Grant) is a rich industrialist, who aspires to a more cultured world. Spurred on by playful jibes that he’s little more than a city suit living the capitalist’s dream, this frustrated amateur opera singer decides to throw an opera in his lavish country retreat. Once his friends see him belting out the notes, he feels sure it will spell the end to their shallow taunts. In fact, it might even help him win the hand of a female conductor he’s been pursuing whom, it just so happens, is the first to be recruited for his showpiece.
007 turned 50 with rare panache: directed by Sam Mendes, this is a contender for one of the top Bonds ever. It’s not just the more probing, psychological script, but the nuanced, inspired performances by Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Daniel Craig of course – and stunning cinematography by Roger Deakins. This is Bond resurrected, redeemed and reinvigorated, ready to face a new half century.
Kieber Mendoca Filho
After a series of burglaries on a middle-class Recife avenue, a private security team is hired by the residents—with ominous results. A gripping and expectations-upending slow-burn thriller from Kleber Mendonça Filho, Neighbouring Sounds is one of the first films from Brazil to deal with the clash between the archaic, exploitive class-based society of plantation owners and workers, and the more modern and egalitarian bourgeois society that Brazil has become. It is also superbly constructed, wonderfully acted and luminously filmed.
"A revelatory debut feature. Mr. Mendonça, a former film critic whose command of the medium is both formidable and subtle. The scope of his movie is narrow, but its ambitions are enormous, and it accomplishes nothing less than the illumination of the peculiar state of Brazilian (and not only Brazilian) society." AO Scott, New York Times
"I’d put money on the likelihood that Brazil’s Kleber Mendonça Filho is on track to become a major filmmaker in the coming years." Gavin Smith, Film Comment
"A thoroughly modern, film-savvy opus (at times it suggests Cache as directed by Paul Thomas Anderson), steeped equally in dread and humor." Dennis Lim, Artforum
A meditative, free-associative but entirely engrossing contemplation of the nature of time by the innovative non-fiction filmmaker Peter Mettler. Detroit, Big Island, India and CERN are just some of his philosophical pit-stops. Go with the (lava) floe.
"Recalling the work of Terrence Malick, Werner Herzog and the late Chris Marker… The End of Time becomes immersive and hypnotic… a ravishingly beautiful experience." Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter.
"Peter Mettler’s poetic lens has inquired into everything from personal fulfillment (Gambling, Gods and LSD) to the Northern Lights (Picture of Light). Now he’s after his most elusive prey yet: the very human concept of time… [The End of Time] is of a piece with Patricio Guzmán’s Nostalgia for the Light, a film that similarly finds miraculous unity in seemingly random things." Peter Howell, Toronto Star.
Domenico Modugno (played by Giuseppe Fiorello) charmed the world with his serenading voice, his songs becoming the symbol of the Italian grandeur in the 60s. Modugno had a multi-faceted and prolific career. From a very young age he was driven to perform. Together with Johnny Dorelli, Modugno launched his career with the timeless song “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (better known as “Volare”), a song that received two Grammy Awards with sales above 22 million copies, and represented Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest. Other songs “Piove” (also known as “Ciao, ciao bambina”), and “Dio, come ti amo” followed, while his hit song “Io” was sung by Elvis Presley in English under the title “Ask Me.” This tribute to the late, great Domenico Modugno charts the incredible artistic and human journey of a boy from the south of Italy who produced some of the world’s most recognisable songs.
"One Man Connects Elvis, Ray Charles, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and Dion…His Name Is Doc Pomus." The thrilling story of Brooklyn’s most beloved polio-stricken white boy r&b genius, Peter Miller and Will Hechter’s A.K.A. Doc Pomus bops along with the simple, sturdy power of a good Doc Pomus song: It’s constructed with techniques familiar to anyone with a passing awareness of its genre—but also with such wit and insight and serious longing that it moves as much as it grooves…" Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
"The thrilling story of Brooklyn’s most beloved polio-stricken white boy r&b genius, Peter Miller and Will Hechter’s A.K.A. Doc Pomus bops along with the simple, sturdy power of a good Doc Pomus song: It’s constructed with techniques familiar to anyone with a passing awareness of its genre—but also with such wit and insight and serious longing that it moves as much as it grooves…" Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
A masterpiece of the Hollywood musical tradition, An American in Paris truly shines, remaining as fresh and exciting today as it was in 1951. Gene Kelly stars as Jerry Mulligan, an American expat trying to succeed as a painter in Paris. George and ira Gershwin provide the songs, and Minnelli pulls out all the stops for the climactic ballet against a series of Impressionist backdrops.
"Minnelli’s Technicolor musical, re-released in a gorgeous restoration, is fresher than ever." Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent
"Full of light and movement. Nothing of its kind from Hollywood had quite possessed its class, sense of style, and chic." Clive Herschhorn, The Hollywood Musical
John Cameron Mitchell
The hilarious (and possibly exaggerated) origin story of the real life alien bluegrass band, Future Folk. When a comet threatens to destroy their planet, the citizens of Hondo enlist their most decorated soldier, General Trius (Nils d’Aulaire), to search for a new home planet- and wipe out the current inhabitants with a flesh-eating virus. After landing somewhere near Brooklyn, General Trius wanders into a megastore to unleash the terror… when he’s enchanted by a strange and mystical human invention known as "music."
"Close encounters of the charming kind." Robert Koehler, Variety
"Delightful." LA Weekly
"Hilarious." San Francisco Chronicle
Set in Yokohama in 1963, the latest animated feature from Studio Ghibli is a poignant teen love story, graceful, understated but full of feeling. Written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his son Goro, the movie tells the story of a lonely high school girl who becomes involved in the fight to save a delipidated boys’ club house.
"With its beautiful visuals and songs, Poppy Hill finds a deserving place among its Studio Ghibli peers."
"A beautifully artful, wistfully nostalgic coming of age romance!"