Tourment sur les îles
Albert Serra casts his eye on the tropics with this beguiling, satirical film. Benoît Magimel plays De Roller, the High Commissioner of French Polynesia, who has a problem on his hands: the French Marines have arrived on the islands, and their presence coincides with rumours that nuclear testing is soon to commence. De Roller sets out to investigate, but he’s repeatedly stalled and stymied. As the threats to his power grow, so does his pique, and soon he’s lost in a miasma of suspicion and resentment.
Shooting in widescreen, VIFF alumnus Serra conveys the lushness and languor of the tropics. From the menace of a darkened nightclub to the of the vastness of the Pacific waters, he conjures a milieu that is equally intoxicating and mysterious. An added delight is the colourful cast of characters: the beautiful, demure Shannah (Pahoa Mahagafanau); the drug-addled Admiral (Marc Susini); and the menacing Portuguese (Alexandre Melo). Pacifiction is moody, mellow, and (as storytelling) very murky, but it casts a haunting spell.
Benoît Magimel, Pahoa Mahagafanau, Marc Susini, Matahi Pambrun, Alexandre Melo, Sergi López
In French and English with English subtitles
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Robert Irwin: A Desert of Pure Feeling
No artist instills a sense of sublime awe like the legendary Robert Irwin, Elusive yet down to earth, Irwin is a true original. His extraordinary work is honored in this stunning portrait of one of the most influential contemporary artists of our age.
Veteran director Marco Bellocchio (The Traitor) returns with a passionate historical drama about a Jewish child abducted by Pope Pius IX in 1865 on the grounds that he had been secretly baptized. This is a rich, operatic film that resonates strongly.
The Mother of All Lies
As her parents and grandmother prepare to leave the Casablanca home they have lived in for decades, Asmae El Moudir takes the opportunity to probe the past, unraveling repressed truths buried within her own family and Moroccan political history.
A Cooler Climate
In a recollection of veteran filmmaker James Ivory's unfinished film about Afghanistan. Old footage provides a pronounced air of mystery to compliment its rough beauty, setting the scene for a look back into Ivory's life.
Winner of Cannes Critics' Week Grand Prix, Tiger Stripes is a coming-of-age body horror film set in a Malaysian girls' school. 12-year-old Zaffan’s body starts to change before everyone else’s, and she becomes convinced she's turning into a monster.
Pierre-Olivier Bardet, Albert Serra, Montse Triola, Dirk Decker, Andrea Schutte, Joaquim Sapinho, Marta Alves, Laurent Jacquemin
Albert Serra, Artur Tort, Ariadna Ribas
Marc Verdaguer, Joe Robinson
Born in Banyoles, Spain in 1975, Albert Serra is a Catalan artist and director. His first feature, Honor of the Knights, was presented at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2006. In 2013, he received the Golden Leopard at Locarno Film Festival for Story of My Death, a film inspired by Casanova’s memoirs. The Death of Louis XIV, starring Jean-Pierre Léaud as the Sun King, was an official selection for Cannes in 2016. Liberté won the Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Un Certain Regard section in Cannes.
Filmography: Honor of the Knights (2006); Story of My Death (2013); The Death of Louis XIV (2016); Liberté (2019)