Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas
Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries; On the Road; Central Station) collaborates with Daniela Thomas on this neo-realist drama about a mother and her four sons struggling to find their way in the favela of Sao Paulo. The son with the brightest prospects is a potential soccer star, but at 18, he’s all too aware that time is running out. As for his siblings, they have more than enough troubles of their own…
"A beguiling blend of urban poetry and extremely well-observed social realism."—Wally Hammond, Time Out
"The film’s title refers to the line of players down which the ball is passed when all are playing properly together. It could hardly be more appropriate for a film that confirms that the unflashy virtues of teamwork are as vital in cinema as they are in life."—Paul Julian Smith, Sight & Sound
The location of the world’s largest—possibly toxic—gold-mine pit, Guatemala is also the homeland of the Maya and their decidedly holistic cosmology. Frauke Sandig and Eric Black’s kaleidoscopically beautiful documentary follows the daily and ceremonial lives of six articulate young Maya as they struggle to maintain their way of life in the face of C21 capitalism.
"Of course one cannot simply reverse European history and the creation of the “Self”, which is also tied to liberation from the forces of nature. But one can empathize with a philosophy that does not separate the individual from nature. This different relationship to nature is better described with pictures than with words. Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth does exactly this, with clouds that glow from within, rivers with power one can sense, or mountains, which exude an inner peace. The camerawork creates settings that inspire fascination in a hitherto unknown world."
Peter Gutting, kino-zeit
"It is an exquisitely, achingly beautiful film – wonderfully conceived and sensitively filmed. I particularly appreciated the references to ancestral dreams and memories, sequences that ring truer than any film I’ve ever seen on Maya spirituality… The sequences on the war were particularly poignant. One of the communities I lived in for 6 months was completely wiped out—I still don’t know if anyone survived. It is my sincerest hope that some lived to tell their stories like the wonderful people in this film. What strikes me is the resilience of the Maya in the face of powerful and concerted efforts to destroy or alter it. I was profoundly affected by this film and will carry many of its images with me to the end of my days."
Allen J. Christenson, Author of Popul Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Maya
Maestro Federico Fellini died just over 20 years ago, 31 October 1993. His passing - and the star-studded funeral that followed three days later - inspired one of the first great media events of the new electronic age, a circus of celebrity, culture, imagery and emotion that Fellini probably enjoyed from on high. This new documentary brings those moments back to life again with the help of Fellini’s friends, colleagues and admirers.
Critics have been pulling out comparisons to the Coens for this lean, mean revenge thriller, a scintillating debut by writer-director Jeremy Saulnier (it’s currently 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). Living a seemingly pointless existence, Dwight suddenly snaps into action when he learns of the imminent release of state prisoner, Will Cleland. With a score to settle he returns to his home town, swapping the big blue for bloodshed. Delighting lovers of genre film and American Indie, Blue Ruin’s filmmaking is clean and efficient but the killing isn’t. Thrilling, devastating and even humiliating at times, Dwight’s plight manages to hit the sweet spot between idiot and amateur, predator and prey.
"Easily the most suspenseful American film of the year, a thriller that feels like lightning across a quiet night sky; sudden, terrifying, and excitingly singular." Gabe Toro, The Playlist
"Intelligent and thrilling. Recalls the dark wit of the Coens." 4 stars Total Film
"A feral and staggeringly well-conceived revenge saga." David Ehrlich, Film.com
This wildly funny and original Vancouver satire focusses on a corrupt local politician with a strange neural complaint: he believes he’s the subject of a reality TV show (even though no one else can see the cameraman who dogs his every move).
“"Movies about movies" are tricky ground, but there are very few missteps here. The humor is pitch black, and had me laughing constantly.” —Zack Mosely, Quiet Earth
"A beautiful experimental film… I was crying at the end." The People’s Paper (India)
"The Halfmoon Files is a gift – a generous gift and an invitation. An invitation to journey to distant lands that turn out to be very close after all, to seek the unexpected, to listen to the noises of an old barrack or a landscape that gradually emerges from the fog, and to observe closely the many possible images of a voice. A film as invitation to follow ghosts and at the same time a modest but nonetheless intense call to think.” Nicole Wolf
When 14-year-old Laura Dekker announced her intention to become the youngest woman ever to sail around the world single-handedly there was an uproar. The child welfare authorities in her native Holland even applied to block her trip on legal grounds. But their case was rejected, and Laura set off soon afterwards on her beloved boat Guppy, with no safety boat or backup, but a video camera to record her odyssey. This film is the result of that impulse - a first-person mariner’s eye-view of a vast blue world
In honour of the late Lou Reed - another chance to see Julian Schnabel’s film of his transcendent Berlin cycle of songs, complete wth Sharon Jones and Antony Hegarty on backing vocals.
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
Martha Shane, Lana Wilson
After Tiller intimately explores the highly controversial subject of third-trimester abortions in the wake of the 2009 assassination of practitioner Dr. George Tiller. The procedure is now performed by only four doctors in the United States, all former colleagues of Dr. Tiller, who risk their lives every day in the name of their unwavering commitment toward their patients. An informative, thought-provoking, and compassionate look at an incendiary topic.
Gregory Crewdson has created some of the most gorgeously haunting pictures in the history of photography, evoking Hitchcock, Lynch, Edward Hopper and Diane Arbus. Shot over a decade, this mesmerizing film lays bare his art.
"A must-see for art lovers." Variety
"As an artistic peripeteia, Brief Encounters is great entertainment." Ela Bittencourt, Slant
"A beautiful and contemplative look at Crewdson’s process." The Paris Review
If you think Amour was too sentimental, then this extraordinary documentary from Brian Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky (Frances) is just what you crave: the filmmakers spent years visiting a nursing home, charting the progress of senility, dementia, and of course death among the residents. All this narrated with bleak, wrily philosophical humor by one of their number. The film is not journalistic, but poetic, a "dirge", in the words of the filmmakers - and one you will not forget in a hurry.
"The Patron Saints was the single best film I saw during the festival run of Putty Hill." - Matt Porterfield
"Mainly, this observational realism serves the filmmakers exceedingly well, creating a humane, almost elegiac atmosphere, with occasional flashes of black humour, all of it heightened by a soundtrack of choral music that culminates in Arvo Part’s ethereal version of My Heart’s in the Highlands." Kate Taylor, Globe & Mail
"Bleak, moving, expressionistic." NOW magazine
Imagine gold "as far as the eye can see". All you have to do is rip it out of the ground. But one man’s nirvana is another’s hell. Gold Fever witnesses the arrival of Goldcorp Inc to a remote Guatemalan village. 500 years after the conquistadors, and still reeling from decades of US-backed repression, Diodora, Crisanta and Gregoria are caught in the cross-hairs of another global frenzy for gold. Together with their community, they resist the threat to their ancestral lands in the face of grave consequences.
“Beautifully-made. Sobering and tragic, but ultimately empowering.”
The Yes Men
“Tests Guatemalan society’s willingness to confront what might be today’s biggest challenge: overcoming the social unrest caused by the massive extraction of natural resources.”
Uli Stelzner, Muestra de Cine Internacional Memoria Verdad Justicia
Tsering Rhitar Sherpa
In a remote nunnery a revered abbess dies. Prayers and rituals must be performed but the nunnery has no money. A nun, Karma, must journey to find the man who may owe a debt. Filmed in the remote Himalayan region of Mustang, we follow Karma to Katmandu where she discovers that things are not what she thought.
Left to fend for themselves after their SS officer father and mother, staunch Nazi believers, are interred by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II, five German children undertake a harrowing journey that exposes them to the reality and consequences of their parents’ actions. Led by the eldest sibling, 14-year old Lore (striking newcomer Saskia Rosendahl), they set out on a journey across a devastated country to reach their grandmother in the north.
"A lyrical, deeply affecting study into a rarely seen legacy of the Holocaust." - Megan Lehmann, The Hollywood Reporter
"Intense and emotional. Saskia Rosendahl is mesmerizing." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Shortland’s brilliant new film is an unsettling coming-of-age story that renders its judgement on Germany’s crimes and strange aftermath of the war." - George Robinson, The Jewish Week
Heroes don’t come more gold-plated than Muhammad Ali. But if you’re too young to remember the 1960s then you may be shocked to discover how controversial the heavyweight champion was in his heyday. Indeed, he was a constant thorn in the side of the establishment, and a hate figure for much of the mainstream media.
"The best Muhammad Ali doc I’ve ever seen and - dare I say - I’ve seen ’em all.” Dave Zirin, The Nation
"A wholly illuminating look at Muhammad Ali in all his complexity, providing a surprisingly fresh and vivid portrait of a man who played rope-a-dope with history, religion and sport." Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
"Bill Siegel’s audacious documentary puts new heat and focus on what an extraordinary figure Muhammad Ali was outside the boxing ring. No film has probed this deeply into the fallout from his name change or his complex bond with Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam. And the saga of Ali’s refusal to be drafted during Vietnam becomes a profile in courage — a tale of shocking vilification and faith lost and found. A-" Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
Filmed inside the war zone of northern Uganda over a period of three years, this is the story of a group of former child soldiers as they undergo trauma therapy and emotional healing while in a rehabilitation centre. Having been abducted from their homes and forced to become fighters by the Lord’s Resistance Army - a quasi religious militia led by self-proclaimed prophet and war criminal Joseph Kony - the children struggle to confront years of brutal abuse.
This extraordinary documentary - one of the most popular films at VIFF last year - shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the life story of the late Vivian Maier, a career nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most accomplished and insightful street photographers.
"Compelling… haunting… captivating." Variety
"Poignant, informative, occasionally disturbing." Globe and Mail
Lydia B Smith
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago follows various pilgrims, from ages 3 to 73, as they attempt to cross an entire country on foot—with only a backpack, a pair of boots and an open mind. Driven by an inexplicable calling and a grand sense of adventure, we witness the Camino’s magnetic and miraculous power to change lives. Each pilgrim throws themselves heart and soul into their incredibly challenging trek to Santiago de Compostela, and most importantly, their personal journey to themselves.
"Driving both the filmmaker and her subjects is wonder and wanderlust. Their enthusiasm for the Camino is contagious ..."—Diana Clarke, Village Voice