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Jean Marc Abela

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)
Director: Jean Marc Abela

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

Woody Allen

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter
Director: Woody Allen

During the Great Depression, a New Jersey housewife returns again to again to watch RKO’s latest madcap Manhattan romance. So great is her devotion to the movie that one of the characters, Tom Baxter, can’t refrain from commenting on it - stepping down from the screen and into real life. Complications ensue.

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter
Director: Woody Allen

This curious hommage to German Expressionism is both a uniquely perverse enterprise and a real hoot. It’s a Kafkaesque comedy based on Allen’s earlier one-act play, unpromisingly titled "Death". Allen himself plays Kleinman, a clerk in an unnamed central European country who is reluctantly pulled into a vigilante hunt for a serial killer.

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter
Director: Woody Allen

Allen waxes notalgic in this, one of his most autobiographical films, an affectionate tribute to the radio stars of the 1940s, and to the working class listeners - like Woody’s own family - who marveled at their exploits, both real and imaginary.

"Radio Days is so ambitious and so audacious that it almost defies description." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter
Director: Woody Allen

In his sixth film as director, Allen poked fun at his intellectual heroes, the heavyweight Russian novelists Tolstoy and Dostoevsky in particular, but also Chekov, Ingmar Bergman and Nabakov. At the same time this tale of a cowardly Russian philosopher caught up in the fight against Napoleon bows in the direction of Bob Hope and the Marx Brothers. It is one of Allen’s funniest movies.

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter
Director: Woody Allen

Three sisters: Woody Allen explores the bonds and infidelities running through a middle class New York family in this, one of his most expansive and warmest films, a tender comedy that garnered Academy Awards for Michael Caine, Dianne Wiest and for Allen’s screenplay.

"An articulate, literate film, full of humanity and perception." Time Out

"One of Woody’s best ever." David Parkinson, Empire

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter
Director: Woody Allen

Edward Norton and Drew Barrymore stroll hand in hand around a fountain, then burst into a deliciously sloppy rendition of ’Just You, Just Me’, and immediately we’re right into it, and you can’t imagine why it’s taken Woody Allen so long to get round to reviving the musical. Romantic, nostalgic and decadent as Fred Astaire, this is also the closest Allen has come to a Jacques Demy movie.

"A delightful and witty compendium of the film maker’s favorite things." Janet Maslin, New York Times

"It would take a heart of stone to resist this movie." Roger Ebert

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter
Director: Woody Allen

Expertly weaving between comedy and tragedy ("if it bends, it’s funny; if it breaks, it isn’t," as Alan Alda’s egomaniac sitcom writer is fond of saying), this is one of Allen’s finest movies, a dark, somber but also very witty tale of infidelity and murder that grapples with the philosophical implications of our own, seemingly in-built ethical limitations and stands as a cynical corrective to the warmth of Hannah and Her Sisters.

"His best and most courageous work to date." Stanley Kauffman, New Republic (1989)

Woody Allen: Spring Collection
Director: Woody Allen

The second part in our year-long retrospective, Woody Allen: 4 Seasons brings us to the Spring Collection, and several examples of what Allen himself famously dubbed "the early, funny ones". Take the Money and Run qualifies on both counts: his very first feature as director, it’s an hilarious spoof true crime documentary. Woody plays Virgil Starkwell, public schmuck number one.

"Very special, and eccentric, and funny." The New York Times

"Roll in the aisles, hold-your-sides laughter." LA Times

Woody Allen: Spring Collection
Director: Woody Allen

One of Woody’s most popular recent films, this enchanting slice of whimsy casts Owen Wilson as a Hollywood screenwriter transported back to the moveable feast of Paris in the 1920s, home to Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds and Gertrude Stein.

"In Woody Allen’s beguiling and then bedazzling new comedy, nostalgia isn’t at all what it used to be — it’s smarter, sweeter, fizzier and ever so much funnier." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

"Midnight in Paris finds Allen in a larky, slightly tart and altogether bountiful mood, giving filmgoers a movie that, while unabashedly funny and playful, provides a profiterole or two for thought." Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Woody Allen: Spring Collection
Director: Woody Allen

Recently transformed into a Broadway musical, this is a fizzy satire on the pretensions, hypocrisies and indulgences of theatre folk. John Cusack is an idealistic young playwright whose big break is backed by a mobster boss with his own ideas about casting….

"One of Allen’s best and most revealing comedies, as much a moral meditation as it is dazzling fun." Rolling Stone

Woody Allen: Spring Collection
Director: Woody Allen

Incompetent products-tester Fielding Mellish travels to the Latin American country of San Marcos, and quickly finds himself the center of a people’s revolution. Mellish employs his harebrained ingenuity to survive guerilla training and to become a figurehead of this new banana republic. Allen’s second is a zany slapstick smorgasbord of philosophy and absurdism.

Woody Allen: Spring Collection
Director: Woody Allen

The movie where it all came together for Woody Allen, Annie Hall marks both the culmination of his ’early, funny’ period, and the first of his mature, more overtly serious and autobiographical films as writer-director. Winner: Academy Awards for Best Picture, Direction, Screenplay, Best Actress.

"One of Allen’s funniest, and most touching films." Saul Austerlitz, Another FIne Mess

"Woody Allen’s breakthrough movie." Time

"Arguably Allen’s most honest film." 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Phie Ambo

Vancity Theatre Screening
Director: Phie Ambo

Can you rewire the brain, just by taking a breath? In 1992 Professor Richard Davidson, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, met the Dalai Lama, who encouraged him to apply the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety to the study of compassion and kindness, those qualities cultivated by Tibetan meditation practice. The results of Davidson’s studies are portrayed in Free the Mind as they are applied to treating PTSD in returning Iraqi vets and children with ADHD. The film poses two fundamental questions: What really is consciousness, and how does it manifest in the brain and body? And is it possible to physically change the brain solely through mental practices?

"Grips your heart from the first moment." Film Comment

"By the end of this documentary, you’ll feel like a kid again, filled with wonder and questions about humanity and yourself." Marco Chown Oved, Toronto Star

"There is something healing about simply watching Free the Mind." Gary Goldstein, LA Times

Michael Apted

007 Reloaded: Bond vs Bond
Director: Michael Apted

n the 19th Bond adventure, 007 (Pierce Brosnan) must resolve a potentially deadly power struggle between two unstable nations, with control of the world’s oil supply as the ultimate prize.

Laura Archibald

Vancity Theatre Screening
Director: Laura Archibald

Featuring poignant interviews with a who’s who of 60s folk luminaries, and searing footage of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, among many others, Laura Archibald’s doc illuminates one of those rare creative nexus points that defined an era. Between 1961 and 1973, musicians from all over North America (and further afield) converged on Greenwich Village to sing about the radical social upheaval of the time. As these new singer-songwriters emerged, the Village blossomed as a place that promoted a better future and challenged the status quo.

"Evokes the flavor of the era just before the music business exploded into a mass-market juggernaut. The film’s pleasures are the same ones offered by a sprawling, lavishly illustrated magazine spread." Stephen Holden, New York Times

"Makes you wish you’d been there too, hearing it all for the first time." Jay Stone, Canada.com

"Irresistible…I t’s always irritating to hear New Yorkers refer to themselves as the centre of the universe. Except in this case they might be right." Susan Cole, Now magazine

Dario Argento

Witches
Director: Dario Argento

Dario Argento’s follow up to 1977’s Suspiria is one of the most dazzling horror movies ever made. A poet in New York, Rose (Irene Miracle) becomes convinced that she is sharing living space with one of the mythical Three Mothers, the Mother of Darkness. Indeed, the further she explores the building, the darker things become. Logic itself seems to bend as the rational world gives way to supernatural fears, forebodings, and sudden, violent death.

"Inferno is a masterpiece of absolute film, perhaps the most underrated horror movie of the 1980s." Kim Newman, Nightmare Movies

Hal Ashby

Cinema Salon
Director: Hal Ashby

Larry (Randy Quaid), a young seaman, gets royally shafted after stealing $40 from the charity box of his officer’s wife. Eight years in prison is the ludicrous sentence and two navy “lifers”(Jack Nicholson and Otis Young) take Larry from Norfolk, VA to Portsmouth, NH with cultural stops in New York City and Boston. They can’t believe the severe sentence, however they can sure as hell help to bring some fun into Larry’s last week…

Stephane Aubier

Director: Stephane Aubier

When Celestine - a mouse - persuades Ernest (a bear) not to eat her it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship. He’s a busker by trade. She’s also something of a bohemian, and soon they’re inseparable. - much to the consternation of family, rodents and other animals.

"A delightfully old-fashioned kid’s flick with a meaningful message… The screenplay by bestselling French novelist Daniel Pennac keeps things on a believable plain (for a fairy tale), and it’s easy enough to invest in the plights of the duo… Ernest et Célestine gradually becomes a cautionary fable where friendship tries to stand the test of bigotry and intolerance…" Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter

"A delightful melding of visual style and narrative pirouettes, Ernest And Célestine is a just-about-perfect hand drawn animated feature. The unlikely but eventually rock solid alliance between gruff bear Ernest and artistically inclined orphan mouse Célestine is loaded with charm and adventure." Lisa Nesselson, Screen Daily

In French with English subtitiles

Benjamin Avila

(Infancia Clandestina)
Vancity Theatre Screening
Director: Benjamin Avila

The 12-year-old son of political dissidents fighting the brutal military junta in 1970s Argentina, Juan goes to school under an assumed name and gets his first crush on a girl. But when his parents suddenly need to pack up and run his life is changed forever.

"Most coming-of-age movies don’t open with the prepubescent protagonist’s mom and dad getting into a cartoon gunfight in the street—then again, there are lots of unusual touches in Argentine filmmaker Benjamin Ávila’s feature. Blessed with old-school pedigree (producer Luis Puenzo made the Oscar-winner The Official Story) This ’70s-set story of a boy (Teo Gutiérrez Romero) and his exiled revolutionary parents returning home on the sly follows a well-trod path of viewing history through a child’s eyes. But the way the director throws in offbeat elements—animation, a Moonrise Kingdom–ish interlude in the woods, surreal dream sequences—without diluting the Dirty War drama is impressive." David Fear, Time Out New York

"A charming, involving first feature, Clandestine Childhood muscles its familiar coming-of-age material into something more vibrant and urgent than the usual. Through sharp editing and director Benjamín Ávila’s moment-making brio, this ’70s period piece charts a young boy’s attempts to carve out something like a childhood despite being the son of wanted revolutionaries in the Argentina of General Jorge Rafael Videla, whose brutal government "disappeared" millions just like them." Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

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