Among the massive concrete block towers of Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park neighborhood, a Syrian doctor struggles to hold on to his cultural identity as his family begins to grow roots in their new community. Working as an unlicensed physician for his neighbors in an attempt to cling to his old identity, tensions rise and begin to threaten his fragile marriage.
Understated cinematography and a patient camera disguise the fraught drama at the heart of Antoine Bourges’ (Fail to Appear) sophomore feature. Bressonian in its approach, employing minimalism, non-professional actors, and a deceptively simple plot, the film blends fact and fiction into a quietly gripping drama with an unshakeable sense of realism. Anchored by the lead performances and a pair of unforgettable scenes in an English as a Second Language class, Bourges crafts a tender portrait that asks if adjusting to a new culture always costs one a piece of their identity.
Q&A Oct 3 & Oct 5
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.
Antoine Bourges, Teyama Alkamli
Antoine Bourges is a Paris-born filmmaker currently based between Toronto and Vancouver. He is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents, TIFF Filmmaker lab, and the New York Film Festival’s Artist Academy. His shorts, Woman Waiting (2010) and William in White Shirt (2015), along with his mid-length film East Hastings Pharmacy (2012), have screened at the Berlinale, TIFF, Viennale, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and NY Museum of Moving Images. His first feature, Fail to Appear (2017), was presented at Art of the Real, Cinéma du Réel, and BAFICI, among other festivals. It was released theatrically in Canada in 2018.
Filmography: East Hastings Pharmacy (2012); Fail to Appear (2017)