The great Argentinean actor Ricardo Darin (The Secret In Their Eyes) stars as a taciturn hardware storekeeper, Roberto, who takes pity on a newly-arrived Chinese immigrant, dumped on the side of the road by an unscrupulous taxi driver. No good deed goes unpunished, and Roberto’s solitary life is turned upside down.
"This is a gem of a film that once seen, will never be forgotten." Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile
"It is hardly possible to suggest how involving this story becomes… To a degree unusual in most films, I became involved in the fates of these men…I cared." 4 stars, Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"A Spanish Amelie… Delightful… that rare gem." Adam Fresco, Flicks
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
Olympia Dukakis gives an brilliant, barnstorming performance as a foul-mouthed lesbian, Stella, who isn’t about to let her lover of 31 years, Dot (Brenda Fricker), be carted off to an old folks’ home without a fight. Her plan? A daring rescue, followed by flight to Canada and marriage - an elopement. Ryan Doucette is the hitchhiker who helps them sneak over the border - the Brad Pitt to their septuagenarian Thelma and Louise.
Imagine Luis Bunuel’s Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie crossed with Shane Carruth’s Primer and Lars von Trier’s Melancholia… Or just imagine a dinner party with friends, a dinner party that starts out quite normally, but which takes a dramatic turn towards the surreal when the power goes out – apparently connected to the proximity of a passing comet. Two guests venture out to the one house in the vicinity which mysteriously still has power. Before the night is done everyone present will have to rethink what they’re doing there, their longest and most intimate relationships, and indeed, who they really think they are…
"You walk away from it with your brain on fire." Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
"The result is an uncommonly clever genre movie, reliant not on special effects—of which there are basically none—but on heavy doses of paranoia." AA Dowd, AV Club
"No budget filmmaking at its most delectably inventive." Mike D’Angelo, The Dissolve
This breathless, twisty Hong Kong cop thriller triumphed at the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards, picking up nine statuettes including best film, best director, best screenplay and best actor (Tony Leung Ka Fai).
Why does the law bestow on private corporations the rights of individuals citizen, but few of the responsibilites? Since its supremely successful release in 2002 this homegrown documentary has only (and sadly) grown more timely. Screening here in a newly revised 2 hour cut specifically aimed at educational distribution networks.
"A cogent, compelling, powerful argument, and a terrific movie." Glenn Kenny, Premiere
The flipside to reckless extreme sports docs, the latest from Lucy Walker (Wasteland) follows snowboarder Kevin Pearce from his glory days, when he looked set to dethrone Shaun White from his perch at the Vancouver Olympics, through his long, painful rehabilitation after a devastating accident.
"By turns pulse-quickening and contemplative… Thorougly winning… A spectacular feat." Variety
"Lucy Walker has assembled one of the great sporting docs - partly because its scope extends beyond the slopes." Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"Captures a seesaw exhilaration between the thrill of pushing one’s limits and the pain of dreams cut short." Robert Abele, LA Times
Chogyam Trungpa, renowned Tibetan Buddhist leader, shattered notions about how an enlightened teacher should behave when he renounced his monk’s vows & eloped with a sixteen year-old aristocrat. Twenty years after his death, Trungpa’s name still evokes admiration and outrage. What made him tick? And just what is enlightenment, anyway?
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)
The title of this archival doc comes from the opening of "Jumpin Jack Flash": "I was born in a crossfire hurricane ..." What follows is a whirlwind history of the rockiest band to celebrate a golden anniversary.
"Riotously entertaining."—Neil Smith, Total Film
In this dark, twisted BC mystery thriller, a man finds himself condemned to a special place in hell, blamed for his wife’s murder – a fact he refuses to accept. His punishment is to eternally re-live that last dreadful day - unless he can prove his innocence…?
When Claudiu Crulic, a young Romanian in Poland, was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, he became a pawn in a Kafkaesque miscarriage of justice and went on a hunger strike to protest his treatment in jail. Anca Damian’s documentary is by turns chilling and heartbreaking, and also ironic, with black humour forcing through.
Crulic himself “narrates” the film posthumously, his words voiced by Vlad Ivanov, star of such Romanian New Wave titles as Police, Adjective and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days—but what makes this extraordinary documentary even more compelling is its strong visual style: Damian uses handdrawn, cutout, and collage animation techniques to create a strikingly memorable film
"Technically a documentary, this brilliant medley of animation and cutouts, with slivers of live action tossed in, is creative interpretation at its most sublime. Crulic has a distinctly Eastern European dry humor, manifest in the drawings and in the rapid, highly detailed voiceovers (mostly in Romanian, with a few observational points made in English)…. Telling a tragic true story with almost lighthearted animation techniques is a brilliant choice that pays off." Howard Feinstein, Filmmaker
"Lean, astute… the variety of animation techniques - hand-drawn, cutout, stop-motion, and collage - indelibly convey the bureaucratic horrors the young man faced." Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
"Visually stunning… Magnificent." Anja Savic, Vancouver Weekly
Once a rising star in the ’70’s New York art scene, 80-year-old "boxing" painter Ushio Shinohara is prepping for his latest show, hoping to reinvigorate his career. His wife and de facto assistant, Noriko, seeks her own recognition through her "Cutie" illustrations, which depict their chaotic 40-year marriage. Cutie and the Boxer captures two lives united by a dedication to art-making for a touching meditation on the eternal themes of love and sacrifice.
"Cutie and the Boxer is more than a great documentary. It’s a great film." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"A movie that makes you feel less like a spectator than a guest, a friend welcomed into the home of an odd and fascinating couple." AO Scott, New York Times
To mark International Dance Day, VIFF and The Dance Centre present a special movie medley featuring the greatest dance numbers ever committed to celluloid. Curated and presented by film scholar Michael van den Bos, this will be an exhilarating waltz through the history of movie musicals, celebrating the interplay between choreography and camera moves, and featuring such showbiz legends as Busby Berkeley, Fred Astaire, Shirley Temple, Bob Fosse, Eleanor Powell, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisee and Baz Luhrmann.
Free all ages event.
Framed around the Swedish sojourn (1904-1908) of Kang Youwei (Liu Kai Chi), who famously revived the Confucian utopia Datong: The Great Society, the film traces the struggle of Kang, his daughter Tung Pih (Lindzay Chan), and his disciple Liang Qichao (Ben Yeung) to modernize China’s imperial monarchy.
"Exciting, inventive, bold, post-modern!" Ann Hui, filmmaker
In this rarely screened masterpiece from cult director Jim Jarmusch, Johnny Depp plays a 19th century greenhorn - an accountant named William Blake - who heads west to the town of Machine. His prospects take a dark turn when a love triangle ends in double murder and Blake finds himself a wanted man, on the run, until a mysterious stranger by the name of Nobody (Gary Farmer) takes him under his wing. His journey takes him from civilization as he knows it to a nebulous realm of Native American spirit, and reality seems to slip away.
"Jarmusch’s most stunning achievement." Slant
"With the passing of time, this movie will settle in and find a place as a cinema classic." Jeffery M Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
The power, intensity and drama of desert ultra-marathon racing fuels Jennifer Steinman’s emotionally charged documentary. Following a small group of very different runners competing the in the Four Desert series (the Atacama, the Gobi, the Sahara and Antarctica) the film draws us in to their lives, to understand what drives them to undertake such a grueling challenge.
Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world’s most influential designers. Throughout their long career, their motto has been, ’If you can’t find it, design it.’ From graphics to interiors to products and corporate identities, the film brings us into the work and everyday moments of the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.
’Buried’ meets ’127 Hrs’ in this nail-biting suspense film with ’Lost’ star Neil Hopkins. In a bone fide California nightmare scenario, Jackson Alder comes to after his SUV has been swept off the road by a mudslide. The doors are jammed shut, and anyway who knows how deep he’s buried (or how much further he might slide), so Jackson reckons he can wait it out til help comes. If his oxygen lasts out…