This experimental feature from Vancouver-based curator Bill Jeffries has three elements: text, visuals, and score. The visuals consist of long, surprisingly soothing takes of autumn leaves chased from the lawns and sidewalks of our own fair city. The text, appearing as superimposed captions, comes in the form of satirical imagined memos from VP Dick Cheney to President George W Bush, and touch on the major issues of that administration. Meanwhile the soundtrack is given to Mahler, his glorious 2nd Symphony. Filmmaker in attendance.
In the tradition of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, and The Grandmaster, The Assassin is a martial arts movie recalibrated as an exquisite work of art. It is the Tang Dynasty: 10-year-old Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts. One day, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised. "Heart-stoppingly beautiful." Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph
Are 4 wheels better than 2? Director Fredrik Gertten (Big Boys Gone Bananas!*) investigates the daily drama of traffic worldwide and the bicycle as a tool for change. Travelling from São Paulo, Los Angeles and Toronto, where cyclists fight daily for their right to the road, to Copenhagen, where forty percent of the population commutes by bike, Gertten meets activists and thinkers who are working for revolutionary changes. Bikes vs Cars is an intimate and powerful look at how to move away from car-centric models and toward livable cities.
An elderly folk singer and grassroots organizer, dubbed the “people’s poet,” is arrested on a trumped-up charge of inciting a sewage worker to commit suicide. His trial is a ridiculous and harrowing display of institutional incompetence, with endless procedural delays, coached witnesses for the prosecution, and obsessive privileging of arcane colonial law over reason and mercy.
It’s not a plant, not a fungi, and not an animal. It has no brain… yet it’s alive, it feeds, makes decisions, and it moves. Welcome to the world of slime mold, a single cell substance so strange scientists speculate it may be a visitor from outer space! "Imagine if Stanley Kubrick and Douglas Trumbull were tasked with making a 1970s educational science film about the pods from Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers and you’re some way to understanding The Creeping Garden." James Marsh, Twitch
Decades before the cinema was invented, Eadweard Muybridge became obsessed with capturing motion on film. His studies of horses at gallop were a sensation in their day. He was a pioneer in the field of photography, an innovator, equal parts scientist and artist - but he was also a strange and obsessive personality, whose rocky personal life descended into equally sensational melodrama. The directorial debut of BC’s Kyle Rideout, Eadweard is a massively ambitious and highly compelling feature film.
A fever dream within a dream, the latest transmission from celluloid fetishist Guy Maddin is part campy, whacked out tribute to vintage Hollywood melodrama, part anguished crypto-confessional, and all brilliant: a passionate, virtuoso pastiche that is also perversely original and sui generis. It’s the perfect date movie for film lovers - and replete with bathing tips!
"Anyone who can throw a hatchet and sue you is a force to be reckoned with." Meet Caleb Behn, one of the new generation of First Nations leaders, a charismatic and articulate young Dene lawyer grappling with the contradictions between tradition and modernity embodied in his own life by the examples of his mom (an oil and gas executive) and his dad (an environmentalist). Caleb’s dilemma will reverberate with anyone with a conscience.
An essay-performance and screening by Jem Noble, featuring artist-edits of Ghosts of the Civil Dead (John Hillcoat) and They Live (John Carpenter).
The full length version of Ghosts of the Civil Dead will screen after Noble’s presentation; They Live screens Oct 31.
Long in rights limbo (and never issued on bluray), GHOSTS… Of The Civil Dead is a near legendary Australian prison drama co-written and starring Nick Cave, and the feature debut of director John Hillcoat (The Road; The Proposition). Hard-hitting doesn’t begin to do it justice, this is an intense, scary, provocative film, but one that seems more relevant than ever judging by the mini-industry in prison-building that has taken over North America in the interim.
Valorized with great skill and insight by John Vaillant in his Governor General’s Award–winning book The Golden Spruce, Grant Hadwin’s journey from logging scout to eco-terrorist now becomes a powerful non-fiction film. Artfully reconstructing a life in the wilderness, Sasha Snow reminds us how much is at stake here, in our own backyard, and give a fair-minded account of a highly contentious individual.
If you have never visited Haida Gwaii then this is a great place to start. Wilkinson’s stunning cinematography vividly captures the raw beauty of this very special part of the world. It is also, of course, a battlefield, though Wilkinson finds reasons to hope that First Nations’ long-view of environmental sustainability can prevail over short-term economic interest. Granted this is a complicated and paradoxical struggle, and Wilkinson hears firsthand from those figuring out their own way forward in practical, not ideological, terms. It’s an inspiring film for that, and a worthy conclusion to a fine trilogy.
Young urchin Almitra becomes fascinated with the political prisoner, a poet named Mustafa, who has been kept in house arrest for nearly a decade, and for whom her mother Kamila cleans and cooks. Mustafa spins wonderful stories which make his confinement seem like privilege, at least to the mute Almitra. But when freedom seems closest she gains knowledge of just how precious, and fragile, it really is… A passion project from producer Salma Hayek, this is surely one of the most ambitious and visually stunning animated features targeted at an all-ages family audience, calling on the talents of some of the greatest animators working in film today.
The most electrifying and influential American actor of the Twentieth Century, Marlon Brando never wrote an autobiography, but he recorded a vast archive of tapes: memories, ruminations, philosophy and personal observations, which have never been made public - until now.
"Listen to Me Marlon is the greatest, most searching documentary of an actor ever put on film, and it’s no coincidence that it’s about film’s greatest and most searching actor." David Edelstein, New York Magazine
This satisfying, ingenious mystery thriller finds unexpected new notes in some old tunes. Aki (Ayako Fujitani) is a conflicted Japanese crime novelist who flees a press junket in Tokyo and hops a flight to San Francisco. She meets a handsome young man in the hotel bar, but his susden disappearance propels her into a noir-tinged murder mystery worthy of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
The charismatic Giuseppe Marinoni has been making some of the most desirable bicycle frames in Canada for decades. A competitive cyclist in Italy in his youth, he decides, at age 75, to attempt a World Record for distance cycled in one hour for his age group. Giuseppe’s determination and perseverance lead him back to his native Italy for his training and, ultimately, his attempt at the record. This is a film not only for the spandex-and-helmet crowd but for anyone who believes that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.
“We’ve come this evening to bring you some joy, happiness, inspiration, and some pos-i-tive vi-brations,” Mavis Staples tells concertgoers at the opening of this irresistible portrait of the irrepressible gospel/soul legend – a vow the movie delivers aplenty. Guided by her father, Pops, The Staples Singers married gospel and delta blues in the 50s; sang Freedom songs for the civil rights movement in the 60s; and topped the Billboard charts with “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There” in the 1970s. Interviewees include Bob Dylan and Jeff Tweedy but it’s Mavis’s huge voice that does the real talking. You’ll have a blast.
Estranged brothers Toph and Cooper take a road trip to their remote cabin to evict a squatter. Buried resentment and bruised egos derail the plan, and with their lives at stake, they must work together to survive.
Through an intimate and artistic lens, Milk brings a universal perspective on the politics, commercialization and controversies surrounding birth and infant feeding over the canvas of stunningly beautiful visuals and poignant voices from around the globe. Inspiring, informative, provocative and sensitive, Milk celebrates bringing a new life into this world with a strong call to action and reflection.
Marlon Brando’s definitive performance as Terry Malloy, a New York dockworker (and once a promising boxer) who loses faith in his union and his smarter but corrupt older brother Charlie (Rod Steiger) after a whistleblower is murdered. Directed on location with staggering fervor by Elia Kazan, On the Waterfront transcends its blunt ideological premise through the sensitivity of its playing… Without this movie we’d probably never have had Mean Streets or Raging Bull, The Godfather or The Wire.