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Daisies + Meshes of the Afternoon film image, two women drinking

Pantheon: The Greatest Films of All Time

Third Sunday of the Month

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Image: Daisies, at VIFF Centre

Pantheon is a monthly series showcasing a selection of the “greatest movies of all time”, inspired by the mother of all film lists, the critics’ poll that has run once a decade in the UK’s Sight & Sound magazine since 1952. (The results of the 2022 poll were announced in December, 2022.)

Of course there can be no definitive ten (or 12, or 100) best list. But the poll does serve as a ready-made canon, and at the very least it’s a starting point for anyone curious about exploring the art of cinema (and arguing about it afterwards).

Pantheon screenings will take place on the third Sunday of each month at 11am*, and will comprise an introductory lecture from a roster of respected film educators, reading notes, and a discussion after the show. (There will also be a repeat screening on Tuesday evenings, without the talk.) Complimentary tea and coffee will be provided.

The focus of our series will naturally fall on the merits and qualities of the films under review, but also on wider cultural considerations on the subjectivities of taste, changing notions of excellence, diversity, representation, and what curatorship looks like at this moment in time.

Individual Tickets $18

 

*Please note that in 2024, there will be no Pantheon screenings in July & August

 

Presented by

Guest Speakers

Films

Daisies + Meshes of the Afternoon

This program highlights two landmarks in feminist film: Maya Deren's surrealist short Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), and Vera Chytilova's subversive new wave farce, Daisies (1966), perhaps the most radical, confrontational film of the era.

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11:00 am
Sun May 19
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Guests/Q&As Hearing Assistance Subtitles
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5:50 pm
Tue May 21
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
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Sunrise

The consummate director of the silent era, Murnau was schooled in German Expressionism and embraced the fluidity and dynamism of the moving camera. Invited to Hollywood he prefigured film noir with this tale of a married villager seduced by a city vamp.

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11:00 am
Sun Jun 16
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Guests/Q&As Hearing Assistance
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5:50 pm
Tue Jun 18
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Hearing Assistance
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Pather Panchali

Satyajit Ray's first film opened eyes in the West. It's a naturalistic portrait of the childhood of a Brahman child, Apu, growing up in a village far from twentieth century technology in West Bengal.

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11:00 am
Sun Sep 15
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Guests/Q&As Hearing Assistance Subtitles
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5:50 pm
Tue Sep 17
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
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The Night of the Hunter

One of the strangest and most beguiling movies you'll ever see, from a poetic, nightmarish novel by Davis Grubb, a fable about two children fleeing from a psychotic evangelical preacher (Robert Mitchum). Charles Laughton's only film as director.

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11:00 am
Sun Oct 20
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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5:50 pm
Tue Oct 22
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Hearing Assistance
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The Battle of Algiers

French Colonel Mathieu hunts for Algerian resistance leader Ali la Pointe in Pontecorvo's classic, which draws the battle lines between colonialists and Arab insurrectionists in a pulsating, "fly-on-the-wall" documentary style.

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11:00 am
Sun Nov 17
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Guests/Q&As Hearing Assistance Subtitles
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5:50 pm
Tue Nov 19
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
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Playtime

Jacques Tati was modernity's clown; technology his banana skin. Here his alter-ego Monsieur Hulot navigates a sterile Paris that seems designed to thwart his every wish.

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11:00 am
Sun Dec 15
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Guests/Q&As Hearing Assistance Subtitles
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5:50 pm
Tue Dec 17
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
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Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

In December 2022, Chantal Akerman's 1975 masterpiece was voted the Greatest Film of All Time by 1600+ critics, academics and curators in Sight & Sound's prestigious once-a-decade poll. It's a rigorous feminist work and a stunning temporal experience.

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Vertigo

Runner up in the 2022 Sight & Sound poll of the Greatest Films of All Time (and #1 in 2012) this is Hitchcock's most personal and revealing film, a movie about male neurosis, fetishism and power, with James Stewart and Kim Novak.

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Beau Travail

Inspired by Herman Melville's Billy Budd, Claire Denis' transfixing Beau Travail is set in East Africa. Sgt Galoup (Denis Lavant) reflects on his time in the French Foreign Legion, and the impact of the handsome Sentain (Gregoire Colin).

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Singin' in the Rain

The greatest movie musical ever made, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's sublime Hollywood on Hollywood satire is dynamic, romantic, and very funny, with some of the most memorable dance numbers ever shot - including, of course, the legendary title number.

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Man with a Movie Camera

Bottomless invention and frenetic, dizzying montage make this city symphony one of cinema’s sharpest, most exciting experiences nearly a century after its release.

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Tokyo Story

Ozu's most celebrated film follows an aging couple as they come to the city and make the rounds of their now grown children. Busy with their own lives, the children have little time for their parents, who are quickly packed off to hot springs in Osaka.

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2001: A Space Odyssey

Based on Arthur C Clarke's short story The Sentinel, 2001 redefined the sci-fi genre. With its radical structure, scant dialogue and oblique narrative this was the first film to emulate the philosophical seriousness of writers like Clarke and Dick.

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8 1/2

One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini's 8½ (Otto e mezzo) turns one man's artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema.

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Mulholland Dr.

Brunette Rita (Laura Elena Harring) wanders Mulholland Drive, dazed and confused after an auto accident. She finds refuge with Betty (Naomi Watts), an aspiring blonde actress who has arrived from Deep River, Ontario, with her innocence intact.

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In the Mood for Love

Wong Kar-wai's most popular film is a love story about two neighbours (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) who are drawn together by the long absences of their respective spouses.

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Close-Up

In Abbas Kiarostami's self-reflexive non-fiction narrative feature, Sabzian, an illiterate film buff who passed himself off as the Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf plays himself in reconstructions of his fraud.

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Citizen Kane

Orson Welles's debut was the most sophisticated movie to come out of the Hollywood studio system to that time, and opened up the creative possibilities of the narrative feature film for generations. For nearly 50 years it was "the best ever made".

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Ran

Tackling King Lear in his seventies with the same gusto he brought to Macbeth 25 years earlier, Akira Kurosawa has a great warlord (Tatsuya Nakadai) blindly plunging the country into civil war when he divides his kingdom between his three sons.

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Persona

Liv Ullmann plays a famous actress, Elisabeth. Withdrawing from the world by refusing to speak, Elisabeth is placed under the care of a chatty nurse, Alma (Bibi Andersson) in a remote seaside cottage. Ingmar Bergman's modernist masterpiece.

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Cléo from 5 to 7

Agnes Varda's second feature, Cléo from 5 to 7, is a marvelously charming real-time portrait of a young singer, Cléo Victoire (Corinne Marchand) one evening in Paris as she nervously awaits the results from a biopsy.

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A Matter of Life and Death

In this splendid WWII fantasy, RAF pilot Peter (David Niven) cheats death when his plane is downed over the Channel. Washing up on an English beach, he must plead his case for a life extension in the highest court of them all...

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