Search Films by Director

Isao Takahata

(Hotaru no haka)
Vancity Theatre Screening
Director: Isao Takahata

Classified for youth: PG (please note this film has somber and sometimes harrowing content.)

Set in Japan during WWII, the film focuses on Seita and his little sister Setsuko. After their mother is killed in an air raid, and with their father serving in the navy, they are forced to fight for survival in the devastated Japanese countryside. Probably the least seen Studio Ghibli masterpiece (at least in North America), this is also one of the most affecting animated films ever made. Roger Ebert described it "as an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation," adding: "It belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made."

“Grave of the Fireflies” is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation… It belongs on any list of the greatest war films ever made." Roger Ebert

Bertrand Tavernier

Vancity Theatre Screening
Director: Bertrand Tavernier

Trust the French to come up with the best bebop movie. Sax legend Dexter Gordon is mesmerizing as American horn player, Dale Turner (a thinly veiled amalgam of Bud Powell and Lester Young) trying to shake his demons in 1959 Paris, with loving help from a local fan and his young daughter. Plagued by years of alcoholism and drug use, knowing the end is near; he plays every note of his memories and battles with dignity and wisdom, and then returns home to New York. The forlorn music includes early work of Monk and Bird, the standards of Gershwin and Porter. Gordon’s contribution aside, Herbie Hancock is on piano and others such as Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Ron Carter and Billy Higgins all figure, with Lonette McKee on vocals. Hancock, who a star attraction at this year’s TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, also composed the film’s beautiful score.

"This movie teaches you everything about jazz that you really need to know… It is about a few months in a man’s life, and about his music. It has more jazz in it than any other fiction film ever made, and it is probably better jazz; it makes its best points with music, not words.." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Paolo Taviani

(Cesare deve morire)
Vancity Theatre Screening
Director: Paolo Taviani

Filmed in a documentary style in Rome’s high security Rebibbia prison, the movie chronicles a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar performed by the inmates just a few miles from where the Roman emperor was assassinated. The actors are real life murderers, mafiosi and drug dealers, and their performances slip subtly between Shakespeare’s text and their own contemporary argot, blurring the lines (literally) between past and present, art and life… But complicating things even further, the Tavianis scripted everything, off-stage as well as on, so what we take for "reality" is every bit as artificial as the play itself - and just as true.

Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” usually runs about two-and-a-half hours uncut. Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s tale of a prison-based production of the classic runs 74 minutes. Yet the film gets on screen not only the play’s bloody, double-dealing, hungry essence, but the redemptive potential of art […] Such is literature’s power that the cast is more at ease portraying ancient Romans than speaking as versions of themselves. Muses the man playing Julius Caesar, “To think I found this so boring in school.” Farrah Smith Nehme, New York Post

"At once ancient and dangerously new." Anthony Lane, New Yorker

Vittorio Taviani

(Cesare deve morire)
Vancity Theatre Screening
Director: Vittorio Taviani

Filmed in a documentary style in Rome’s high security Rebibbia prison, the movie chronicles a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar performed by the inmates just a few miles from where the Roman emperor was assassinated. The actors are real life murderers, mafiosi and drug dealers, and their performances slip subtly between Shakespeare’s text and their own contemporary argot, blurring the lines (literally) between past and present, art and life… But complicating things even further, the Tavianis scripted everything, off-stage as well as on, so what we take for "reality" is every bit as artificial as the play itself - and just as true.

Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” usually runs about two-and-a-half hours uncut. Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s tale of a prison-based production of the classic runs 74 minutes. Yet the film gets on screen not only the play’s bloody, double-dealing, hungry essence, but the redemptive potential of art […] Such is literature’s power that the cast is more at ease portraying ancient Romans than speaking as versions of themselves. Muses the man playing Julius Caesar, “To think I found this so boring in school.” Farrah Smith Nehme, New York Post

"At once ancient and dangerously new." Anthony Lane, New Yorker

Drew Taylor, Larry Weinstein

Vancity Theatre Screening
Director: Drew Taylor, Larry Weinstein

Presenting the true "behind the scenes" story of the rescue mission mythologized in last year’s Oscar-winner Argo - this time with due recognition of the pivotal role played by Canadian ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor.

"An intelligent, complex and tension-filled story that breathes life into historical events that are fast fading from our collective memory.

In doing so, the co-directors give Taylor (the diplomat) and many others their due and give Canadians at large a reason to feel rightly proud." Bruce DeMara, Toronto Star

Renato Terra

Copacabana Social Club
Director: Renato Terra

In the theater: applause and screams. On stage: young Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Roberto Carlos, Edu Lobo. Songs: "Roda Viva," "Ponteio," "Alegria, Alegria," "Domingo no Parque." It was a contest, but everybody won. This vivid record offers an invitation to relive the finale of the III Festival da Record, an event that forever changed the course of Musica Popular Brasileira.

Johnnie To

(Du zhen)
Hong Kong Spirit Films
Director: Johnnie To

The French Connection meets The Wire in this exhilarating mainland China cop thriller from Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To. Faced with the death penalty, drug trafficker Timmy Choi reluctantly enters into a partnership with narcotics cop Zhang to break a rich and powerful crime syndicate.

John Turturro

Italian Film Festival
Director: John Turturro

A beautifully structured and photographed film, John Turturro’s rapturous Passione offers a vibrant exploration and celebration of Neapolitan music in all its grit and glory, presenting 23 musical numbers that encompass a millennium’s worth of influences.