A curtain-raiser for tomorrow’s Coen Bros marathon: the brothers’ first movie, a delectably twisted film noir set in modern day (well, mid 80s) Texas, where Marty (Hedaya) doesn’t much care for the fact that his wife Abby (McDormand) is playing around behind his back. This is one of the great debut films, bursting with malicious wit and style, with an unforgettable performance from character actor M Emmett Walsh as a private dick with a very personal notion of ethics.
"It’s the boys’ most immediately gratifying movie: The goods are delivered in a hearse." Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner
"A tight, beautifully ugly neo-noir classic." Kim Morgan, Portland Oregonian
"As black, sinful and nasty as a weekful of Hitchcocks, this is as fresh and intoxicating now as it was back then. In a word: deadly." Ian Nathan, Empire
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
Join Canada’s foremost James Bond expert Murray Gillespie for a friendly 007 trivia competition in our atrium lounge. Compete individually or in teams. Prizes to be won! Admission Free but VIFC membership is required (costs $12 but comes with a free movie ticket).
A dark suburban fable exploring the nature of evil in unexpected places, Borgman follows an enigmatic vagrant who enters the lives of an upper-class family and quickly unravels their carefully curated lifestyle.
"Think Lynch meets Haneke in an absurdist flick that maintains its state of dread without fully tipping its hand. There’s humour, too, as twisted as a graveyard chuckle."—Toronto Star
"Caustic, surreal, creepy, and blackly funny ..."—Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"In an era where there are very few truly surprising films, Borgman is one of the rare movies that manages to find something entirely new to say, with original, oddly drawn characters."—The Wrap
A bluegrass musician and his wife learn their young daughter has cancer in Felix van Groeningen’s masterful evocation of the power of music to convey both joy and sadness. "An immaculately observed, desperately moving story of love, loss, and bluegrass music…"—Indiewire
"Innately understands that sorrow truthfully communicated and shared can be cathartic, rather than depressing." Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"A gloriously devastating bluegrass masterpiece… Something of a miracle…. Earnest, warm and utterly human." Kurt Halfyard, Twitch
"Intensely moving." David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
Elvis lives! Well, if a nursing home in east Texas can be called "living". With his buddy JFK (Ossie Davies) by his side, the King fights off an ancient Egyptian mummy and gets his mojo back. Don Coscarelli’s cult comedy maybe out to lunch in the story department, but it’s also endearingly serious about Elvis, decrepitude, and the horrors of institutionalized care.
"It has the damnedest ingratiating way of making us sit there and grin at its harebrained audacity, laugh at its outhouse humor, and be somewhat moved (not deeply, but somewhat) at the poignancy of these two old men and their situation."—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Two brothers, orphaned as children: Tomas is now a drifting and withdrawn young man who has an instinctive compassion for others; his older brother Rafael is a university philosophy professor, detached and alone. Their struggles with each other and the world around them take a dramatic turn when they find themselves at a rural Zen center.
An ambitious and imaginative film that uses animation and contemporary voices including poets Jane Hirshfield and US Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, and Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman to explore the life and meaning of the man who became “awake,” and who continues to inspire the diverse Buddhist traditions all over the world.
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
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
VIFF’s Film and Television Forum in partnership with the Directors Guild of Canada is proud to host a special q&a presentation with Emmy award-winning executive producer and director, Michelle MacLaren. (Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Hell on Wheels), Join us for what is sure to be a fascinating and fun session with Michelle as she discusses and dissects some of her favourite scenes from Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. Whether you’re a seasoned director, producer, aspiring filmmaker or a fan, come prepared with lots of questions!
An exuberant and inspiring ambassador for the Caribbean, Calypso Rose is the uncontested and much decorated diva of Calypso music. With more than 800 recorded songs, she continues to be a pioneer and champion of women’s rights, as she travels the world making music.Promotional partners: Consul Generals of Jamaica and Barbados. Live Calypso performance by renowned steel drum artist Kenrick Headley, to follow the screening.
“An intimate portrait about the “Grande Dame” of Calypso… Reveals her personal story, her groundbreaking musical achievements, her commitment to defend women´s rights, her faith, her worries and fears and above all her strong love of life and people.” Bijan Tehrani, Cinema Without Borders
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
In one of her most profound performances Juliette Binoche plays sculptress Camille Claudel some years after she has been committed to an asylum by her family. Pinning her hopes on a longed-for visit from her brother, Camille enjoys a degree of trust and respect from the nuns, but her composure is fragile, and she remains bitter and paranoid when the subject of her old lover Auguste Rodin comes up. Most tragically of all, she refuses to return to her work. Dumont’s film is restrained, sometimes harrowing, but singularly authentic and deeply felt - an experience you will not soon forget.
“I wait for each new film by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Abbas Kiarostami, Claire Denis and Bruno Dumont. I enjoy all sorts of films, but those are the people that really interest me. I admire the Dardenne brothers tremendously, but I feel closest, in my work, to Dumont. Dumont’s films are basically existential works, philosophical films, not political ones. I think of my own films that way.” Michael Haneke (Amour).
"A mesmerizingly intense yet controlled lead by Juliette Binoche." Jonathan Romney, Screen International
"Heartbreaking." Guy Lodge, Variety
Don José (Jonas Kaufmann) is a young soldier in the army in Seville. He intends to marry Micaëla, a girl from his home village, but when he meets the sensual and high-spirited Carmen (Anna Caterina Antonacci), his head is soon turned…Spanish heat and gypsy passion are brought to the stage in Francesca Zambello’s vivid production of Bizet’s famous opera.
Sung in French with English subtitles
Acts One and Two will last for about 1 hour 50 minutes, followed by a 15 minute interval. Act Three will last for about 1 hour 5 mins.
A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The stirring new documentary The Case Against 8, showcasing the lawyers and plaintiffs who challenged California’s 2008 gay marriage ban, is the best kind of popular history, a film that trembles with tears and hope, and I dare you to get through it without bawling some yourself."—Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
“Cotner and White’s handling of a hugely divisive topic is masterful ... Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, The Case Against 8 is essential viewing.”—National Post
"The film fascinates in part because the legal team behind the couples—and the American Foundation for Equal Rights that supported them—included Republican stalwart Ted Olson and Democrat David Boies, who had squared off in the famous Bush vs. Gore case, the 2000 battle over whether there should be a recount in Florida. Here they’re warm and toasty together and passionately committed to a progressive cause.”—Now magazine
In a reboot of the series, Casino Royale opens with Bond (Daniel Craig) gaining his 00 status, by killing two enemy agents, and earning his license to kill. Bond must win a high stakes poker game against terrorist financer Le Chiffre, to bankrupt him so that he will be murdered by his bankers.
During a workers’ strike in Nantes in 1955, steel worker François Guilbaud rents a room from a sympathetic widow. He has a pregnant girlfriend but falls out of love with her when he meets Edith Leroyer, a beautiful, working class girl who is unhappily married to a rich but impotent and neurotic merchant. Edith likes to walk around town naked with only a fur coat on, as a tarot card reader told her she would find love with a passing sailor. Every line of dialogue is sung.
"This unheralded latter-day masterpiece has been infuriatingly hard to see since its fleeting theatrical release in France. [Michel Colombier’ contributes a wall to wall score often staggering in its intensity and romantic longing." Mondo Digital
"A masterly effort to understand what is profound, what lies beneath, life’s melody." Armond White, New York Film Critics Choice
"Une chambre en ville is unquestionably a daring experiment in cinematic form, and possibly the most honest and revealing of all Demy’s films." Jamie Travers, French Film Guide
Charismatic, ceaselessly evolving and crossing boundaries, reed man Charles Lloyd has been in the vanguard of jazz for over 50 years with his unique, flowing yet swinging sound. This intimate portrait, co-directed by his painter/filmmaker wife, conveys the astonishing range of Lloyd’s career, including his Memphis roots; his counterculture crossovers in the 1960s; seclusion in the 1970s; collaborations with Keith Jarrett, the Beach Boys, Burgess Meredith, Charles Bukowski, Michel Petrucciani etc; and the comeback that began in the late 1980s and is still going strong.
“One of the greatest saxophonists on the planet…never out of touch with his audience.”—BBC Radio 3
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.