The year is 1900 in the French-speaking Swiss Alps. Elisabeth (Lilith Grasmug), 17, is forced to leave her convent because her sister, Innocente, has died and the family farm needs another hand. So far, so classical, but what begins as a gorgeously photographed tale of a deeply religious community eking out a subsistence living soon evolves into a fever dream of sexual hysteria when Elisabeth, emboldened by her sister’s explicit journal, seeks spiritual enlightenment through sexual exultation.
First-time writer-director Carmen Jaquier tackles some big issues here—religious repression vs. female liberation via sexuality; the relationship between religious ecstasy and orgasmic pleasures; the body vs. the spirit—but the foundational point of her story is the dramatization and embrace of the vividness of being alive: the bracingly fresh air, crystalline running water, effusive vegetation, and above all, the penetrating light of the immense mountain setting. Replete with indelible images that will remain with you for days, Thunder marks a bold debut from a talent to watch.
Missing VIFF? Check out what’s playing at the VIFF Centre
Someone Lives Here
Throughout the COVID pandemic, Toronto has seen a catastrophic increase in homelessness. Sick of seeing his city unable to care for its unhoused people, Khaleel Seivwright quit his job as a full-time carpenter and dedicated himself to building insulated shelters--called 'tiny shelters.'
Oscar® Shorts 2024: Animation
The best animated shorts of the year, according to the Academy... films from Iran, Israel, France and the USA. This program will also feature a handful of "best runners-up".
Big Fight in Little Chinatown
Set against the backdrop of the COVID pandemic and an unprecedented rise in anti-Asian racism, the documentary takes us into the lives of residents, businesses, and community organizers whose neighborhoods are facing active erasure.
Oscar® Shorts 2024: Live Action
This year's nominees for Best Live Action Short Films include a mini-masterpiece from Wes Anderson and French Canadian entry, Invincible.
The Invisible Fight
Fans of Black Sabbath, kung fu, and/or wacky comedy won't want to miss The Invisible Fight. This gonzo Estonian martial arts movie is an unholy cross between Aki Kaurismaki and Edgar Wright; a true one-off.
Manufacturing the Threat
Shining a light into the murky world of police infiltration, incitement, and agent provocateurs, Manufacturing The Threat shows how Canada’s policing and national security agencies, granted additional powers after 9/11, routinely break laws with little to no accountability or oversight.
Flavia Zanon, Joëlle Bertossa
Ivan Niclass, Rekha Musale
Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Carmen Jaquier studied graphic design before entering the Cantonal School of Art in Lausanne (ECAL). Her films have been showcased at the Locarno Film Festival: her graduation film Le Tombeau des filles (2011) received the Pardino d’argento, and La Rivière sous la langue and Heimatland were selected in 2015. She was a cinematographer on the documentary A Bright Light: Karen and the Process (2018), which was presented at Visions du Réel. Thunder is her first feature film.