Film Festival Series
Find Your Film
Use our search function below to sort the films by their English title, the names of directors, or their country of origin. Films can also be filtered by series, genre, or Vancouver International Film Festival venue. You can also browse by film series by visiting our Browse By Series page.
The majority of films in the Vancouver International Film Festival are unrated and you must be 18 and purchase a $2 VIFF membership to attend a screening. However, a selection of films are open to all ages.
Before you make your purchase, please note The Rio is 19+ exclusively with the exception of the rated High School Screenings at this venue.
An Iceland fishing village with roads slick with blood and booze is no place for a choirboy. Ari (Atli Óskar Fjalarsson) learns that the hard way in Rúnar Rúnarsson’s bare-knuckle drama. Set during a summer of perpetual daylight, the film shows how malaise can fester in an economically depressed community in which hope is the rarest commodity. Given the increasingly shocking circumstances conspiring against him, Ari’s bid to assert himself becomes all the more compelling.
In this enchanting Icelandic export, two estranged, unmarried brothers are reunited after 40 years when an infectious disease threatens to decimate their prized flocks of sheep. As they face financial ruin and emotional devastation (their love for these animals is endearingly evident), Grímur Hákonarson fashions a richly detailed tragicomedy concerning idiosyncratic vocations and immediately relatable sibling dynamics. “Wonderfully wry, charmingly understated…”—Variety
October 31, 1984. The day Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh guards and the anti-Sikh riots that followed are etched in India’s collective memory. Shivaji Lotan Patil has fashioned a compassionate thriller about one Sikh family, trapped in their Delhi home, and the lengths they and their Hindu friends go to in order to help the parents and two children survive. Bollywood stars Vir Das and Soha Ali Khan as husband and wife play brilliantly against type.
Rama (Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma) is flushed out of rural life when he learns that his brother is missing in Mumbai. As a search for answers thrusts him into the metropolis’ chaos, he forges letters from his sibling to his mother in hopes of sparing her heartbreak. In turn, Prashant Nair crafts a moving story about devotion and discovery. "The film’s takes on immigration, country-city contrasts and youthful dreams of the future are lovingly detailed…"—Hollywood Reporter
Mix propulsive bhangra beats, blazing AK-47s, bespoke suits, solicitous mothers and copious cocaine, and you have the heady, volatile cocktail that is Deepa Mehta’s latest film, an explosive clash of culture and crime. Jeet Johar (Indian star Randeep Hooda) and his young, charismatic Sikh crew vie to take over the Vancouver drug and arms trade in this all-out action/drama. Blood is spilled, heads are cracked, hearts are broken and family bonds are pushed to the brink.
While pilgrims flock to Varanasi to bathe in the Ganges, other visitors seek out the world’s finest silk. Having become part of the fabric of this ancient Hindu city over the course of a millennium, a Muslim weaving community now faces epochal change wrought by globalization. Charting a day in their lives, Pat Murphy’s documentary is an intimate look at an endangered tradition. “While rich with luscious shots of fabrics, dye and crumbling architecture, [the film] remains rigorous in its focus on the aesthetics and economics of this ancient industry.”—Irish Times
The spirit of neo-realism lives in Eddie Cahyono’s beautiful debut feature, a film about a woman in an impossible situation. When her fisherman husband is paralyzed in an accident, Siti becomes the family’s only breadwinner, selling snacks on the beach by day and her body in a karaoke bar by night. And her customers include a well-meaning cop… The film boasts fine performances, resonant monochrome imagery and piercing moral questions. Tony Rayns
A man offers a significant sum of money to a worthy person in need who comes to his office on May 9 and makes a convincing appeal. But how to deal with the throngs of needy candidates who assemble? How does he decide who’s actually the most worthy? From a simple premise, Vahid Jalilvand employs formal finesse and unforgettably urgent performances (including the great Niki Karimi) to craft a profound study of human nature and social and economic realities.
Despite the ban against him, Iranian master Jafar Panahi continues to find ingenious ways to make films. Here, taxi driver Panahi cruises Tehran, picking up family, friends, film colleagues and nonprofessionals, all of whom take on roles. The result is "a beautifully humane fable… a good-humoured jeu d’esprit, a piece of freewheeling cinephile activism… It’s a rueful but insistent statement to the effect that he is down but not out…"—Guardian
Having fallen in love again after her divorce, Nahid (Sareh Bayat) finds many obstacles lying in wait should she choose to follow her heart. Not only would remarriage mean surrendering custody of her son, it would also entail forsaking the semblance of independence she’s fought so hard to establish. Ida Panahandeh’s deeply humane melodrama recalls Oscar-winner A Separation in its compassionate and compelling depiction of contemporary Iran’s legal and social constraints.
One of the most astonishingly exotic films in this year’s festival has to be Khosrow Sinai’s drama. The title refers to the island of Hormuz, with its extraordinary multicoloured soils, ancient Portuguese forts and folk-art traditions. How much are the custom-bound villagers willing to welcome the outside world? Enter Dr. Ahmad Nadalian, a highly educated interloper from Tehran who proposes a radical plan to transform the islands assets into a thriving cultural destination.
A fascinating and effective mix of documentary and fiction techniques, shot "guerrilla style" (without permission) on the streets of Tehran, Sina Ataeian Dena’s feminist drama focuses on 25-year-old unmarried teacher Hanieh (newcomer Dorna Dibaj) as she doggedly pursues a promotion while facing casual sexism at every turn. "A sensitive, topical debut [that is] quietly affecting… The ’candid camera’ approach adds a welcome edge of verisimilitude…"—Hollywood Reporter
Iran, France, Germany
Before the Islamic Revolution banned solo performances by women, Iran boasted popular female vocalists like Delkash and Googoosh. No longer willing to see women’s voices silenced, musician Sara Najafi aspires to stage a concert in Tehran. Her brother Ayat helms this revealing documentary that details the bureaucratic obstacles and theological arguments that stand between her and such a seemingly simple goal. And while the women’s glorious songs lend the film uplift, it’s Sara’s courageous determination in battling institutional discrimination that truly inspires.
UK, Canada, Ireland
Lured from Ireland by the American Dream, Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) instead lands in a hardscrabble reality of cramped boarding houses and grungy dancehalls. As homesickness grips her, she’s also torn between two admirers (Domhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen). With Nick Hornby scripting, John Crowley crafts a stirring 50s-era immigration tale that also serves as an exhilarating profile of female empowerment. "Classily and classically crafted in the best sense."—Hollywood Reporter
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and based on the best-selling Man Booker Prize-nominated novel by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue, this is the story of five-year old Jack, who lives in an 11-by-11-foot room with his mother. Since it’s all he’s ever known, Jack believes that only "Room" and the things it contains (including himself and Ma) are real. Then reality intrudes and Jack’s life is turned on its head… A remarkable and disturbing work.
Austria, Denmark, Ireland
In a nonfiction work of tremendous vision, Michael Madsen pre-enacts how an alien invasion might unfold. Rather than wild speculation, this modern equivalent of Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast draws from erudite sources inside the United Nations’ Office for Outer Space Affairs. Despite its factual foundations, Madsen’s film still inspires wonder thanks to an enthralling interview technique that sees its subjects directly addressing the camera, putting us in the place of the otherworldly visitor and leaving us to question humanity’s role in the universe.
UK, France, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands
The pressures of courtship are pushed to absurdist extremes in this outrageous comedy from Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth). Confined to an isolated resort, singles (including Colin Farrell) must take a mate within 45 days or be transformed into animals. As Farrell falls in with a band of rebel loners (who count Rachel Weisz among their members), Lanthimos wrings much pathos from his outlandish premise. “A wickedly funny, unexpectedly moving satire… Perversely romantic…”—Variety