Path Alias: 

Vancouver Iranian Film Society presents: Oblivion Season

(2014, 94 mins)
In Farsi
CAST Sareh Bayat, Amin Zendegani, Shahin Taslimi
Classification: 19+


Aug 18 08:30 pm

An ex-prostitute starts a new life by marrying her loved one but leaving the shadow of her dark past is not as easy as it seemed before. Now she is the prisoner of her loved one and to earn her freedom she must fight with the masculine, theocratic society…

Director View :

In Iran’s today society making a film about prostitutes is a real challenge cause the society and government deny their very existence. Now it’s much more difficult that your protagonist be an ex-prostitute. I tried to show a woman behind bars and fences all over today’s Tehran, whom is trying to overcome all the intolerance and traditional and religious dogmatism in her society, to live and stay alive. A society which doesn’t wish to let her forget the past.

Born in Shiraz, Iran in 1962, Abbas Rafei graduated in cinematography from university and founded an independent production company in 1995, making his first film, MINA’S SECRET, the following year. Among his other films: THE SUN SHINES ON ALL EQUALLY (2005), ELIXIR AND DUST (2008), THE STRANGERS (2009), GRANAZ (2009), THE MEETING (2011), THE FREEWAY 2013).

The Interior

(2015, 80 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
CAST Patrick McFadden, Jake Beczala, Andrew Hayes
Classification: 19+


Aug 20 10:15 pm

Rocked by a grim medical diagnosis, James (Patrick McFadden) flees the crushing tedium of city life, trading it all for untamed wilderness and solitude. He retreats further and further into the woods of British Columbia, only to gradually find himself the target of increasingly inexplicable and disturbing manifestations, which point to a frightening truth: he is not alone.

Beginning in a comic register then abruptly darkening as James’s exploration of the Great Outdoors takes him outside his comfort zone, Trevor Juras’s independent feature is a refreshing reminder of what can be achieved on a low budget with a lively imagination.

"A solo backpacker seeking tranquility in “The Interior” of British Columbia gets something very different in Trevor Juras’ arresting, minimalist debut feature. This initially droll, then increasingly nightmarish tale has atmosphere to spare." Dennis Harvey, Variety

"Somewhere up there in heaven (or hell) Samuel Beckett and Henry David Thoreau are tipping their coffee cups towards Trevor Juras’ The Interior." Kurt Haltyard, Screen Anarchy

Hieronymus Bosch, Touched by the Devil

(2015, 86 mins, DCP)
In English, Dutch with English subtitles


Sep 09 06:30 pm
Sep 10 08:30 pm

Famous for his still shocking paintings of hell, Dutch painter Hieronymous Bosch died 500 years ago. This late-medieval artist caused uproar with his fantastical and utterly uniquely diabolical work. In preparation for a special exhibition at the Noordbrabants Museum in the city of Den where Bosch lived, a team of Dutch art historians crisscross the globe to unravel the secrets of his art. Pieter van Huystee tracks down his 25 or so surviving paintings, recording the meticulous work of archivists to definitively attribute the work to the artist (10 family members painted) as well as the snarky jousting by Dutch and Spanish curators over granting access to the masterpieces. (The Garden of Earthly Delights has not left Spain in 400 years and it’s not about to anytime soon.) They use special infrared cameras to examine the sketches beneath the paint, in the hope of discovering more about the artist’s intentions.

"The diabolical visions of Bosch remain beguiling and more popular than ever." The New York Times

The Other Side

(2015, 92 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
Classification: 19+


Aug 21 08:10 pm

The title presumably refers to “the tracks,” this being a disquietingly graphic, ground-breaking portrait of America’s dirt poor, subsisting on a diet of beer, tobacco, heroin and crack in trailer homes in Louisiana and Texas.

Brace yourself: the exceptional Italian filmmaker Roberto Minervini will not flinch. You get more than a hint of what’s coming in the film’s opening scene, when a man wakes up in the bushes stark naked. This is Mark, and we’ll be seeing a lot more of him: shooting up, screwing, dealing, breaking into a school and shooting up some more. For all that, Mark’s a likeable guy, mostly. Which is more than can be said for the militia that pops up later, avowed libertarians training for the forthcoming revolution.

This is the other side of the American Dream, the side we turn a blind eye to: the human detritus, angry, abandoned, high as a kite. Minervi boldly blends documentary and dramatic techniques, earning the trust of his subjects/collaborators by virtue of his respect and compassion, and digging out slivers of illumination in even the most squalid circumstances. You won’t forget this one in a hurry.

"A cross between reality television and art film, The Other Side is powerful and disturbing." Glenn Kenny, New York Times

"A step forward for humanism and ethnographic cinema alike." 3.5 stars, Carson Lund, Slant

"If it were possible to splice the DNA of William Faulkner and John Cassavetes, the resulting progeny might produce a film like Roberto Minervini’s The Other Side, an immersive, almost harrowingly naturalistic plunge into the lives of marginal Louisianans obsessed with guns, drugs and belligerent resentments." Godfrey Cheshire,


(2014, 112 mins, DCP)
CAST David Hockney
Classification: 19+


Sep 06 02:30 pm

There’s nothing pompous or pretentious in this endearingly candid, insightful and inspiring portrait of the British artist who found his true home – and made A Bigger Splash — in Los Angeles in the 1960s. A spry, wry septuagenarian, David Hockney committed fully to the process, and his trust is rewarded with a warm and sympathetic film that should win him new admirers.

The boy from Bradford (his sister takes us around their working-class childhood home and fondly recalls early signs) never wanted for courage or conviction. There are anecdotes aplenty about his brio – the determination to go blond and have more fun, for instance – but the film’s greatest pleasure is just looking again at his work, and listening to this always curious, fluent, fluid artist musing on space, perspective, color and, for instance, the difference between photography (which freezes a fraction of time and takes longer to look at than it took in reality) and painting (which involves intense scrutiny and re-examination over a prolonged time). "It took me a week just to paint the splash…"

Director’s Statement (Randall Wright):

I wanted to create a strong sense of place in the two very different landscape that David calls home – the vast bright spaces of California, and the moody hills of East Yorkshire. The creative push and pull of these absolute opposite environments energizes David’s constant search for answers, both creative and personal. Also digital cinema is now brilliant for reproducing painting. The color accuracy, and image resolution is breathtaking. David’s paintings look stunning on the big screen. As David would be quick to point out, the two mediums, cinema and painting have a much closer relationship in the twentieth century than people realize. After the Second World War European humanist filmmakers saw themselves as continuing the figurative tradition of oil painting. And films were always significant to David. He moved to the Hollywood Hills, he befriended Billy Wilder, and of course he has experimented with films for the last thirty years, resulting in his recent multi-screen movies. Some of his latest paintings are massive and in a widescreen format. For me cinema offers the opportunity to deal with an artist in a very down to earth way, without commentary and the standard art world experts. In the dark we can really focus on powerful images without interruptions.

When the Ocean Met the Sky

(2015, 91 mins, DCP)
CAST Phillip Thomas, Aren Buchholz, Spencer Foley, Terry Field
Classification: 19+


Aug 20 08:10 pm
Aug 23 08:20 pm

Shot in British Columbia, the Kickstarter-funded When the Ocean Met the Sky follows three estranged twenty-something brothers who must journey to a remote location on a wilderness adventure designed by their late and eccentric parents. According to a stipulation in the parent’s will, in order to gain their inheritance, the three must all complete the trek together. Along the way, Daniel (the eldest, a father and business man), Tyler (the middle son, aimless and sensitive), and Jordan (the youngest brother, sweet and naive) encounter their eccentric stoner guide, Carter Cooper Jr., who seems to heighten the tension on an already tenuous trip.

Boris sans Beatrice

(2016, 93 mins, DCP)
In French with English subtitles
CAST James Hyndman, Simone Elise-Gerard, Denis Lavant, Isolda Dychauk, Dounia Sichov, Laetitia Isambert-Denis, Louise Laprade, Bruce LaBruce
Classification: 19+


Sep 02 06:30 pm
Sep 03 08:50 pm
Sep 06 06:30 pm
Sep 08 06:30 pm

After Curling, Vic + Flo Saw a Bear and Bestiare, Denis Côté is firmly established as one of the most original and daring filmmakers on the Quebec scene. His latest feature represents another step forward in accomplishment, and perhaps, towards the mainstream. It’s a psychological thriller, a portrait of a successful businessman whose arrogance slowly begins to crumble under the duress of coping with his wife’s breakdown.

Is her mute passivity actually a form of protest? Or is it a kind of karmic payback for Boris’s infidelities, greed, and narcissism? That’s the disturbing claim of a strange messenger (played by Leos Carax-favourite Denis Lavant) who encroaches on Boris’s country retreat. Once he gets the idea inside his head, he can’t shake it out - and his enviable existence starts to seem uncomfortably empty…

Both a seemingly straightforward tale and an oddly enigmatic fable which draws on Greek mythology, Boris sans Beatrice could be seen as class satire, but it’s more rewarding - if more challenging - to acknowledge some affinities with the privileged, complacent Boris than simply to condemn him out of hand. He may be a cold fish but his insistence on confronting the world on his own terms is a common failing, after all. Atmospheric, cooly paced, and artfully composed, the movie casts quite a spell.

"Utterly original." **** Brendan Kelly, Montreal Gazette

"Really compelling." **** Norm Wilner, Now magazine

The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park

(Vancouver Latin American Film Festival @VIFF Vancity Theatre)
(2015, 70 mins)
FEATURING Harley Prosper, Marcus “Bear” Raweater, Janet Brown, Dave Young, Kimble, Lorn, Joe Chastis, Rosa Matilpi
Classification: 19+


Sep 01 08:00 pm

Co-presented by VIFF and the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. Tickets from and on the door.

Director Juan Manuel Sepúlveda spent two years hanging out in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside, getting to know its regulars and letting his camera roll. With his keen sense of framing, the action remains within the confines of the park and films the daily life of Harley, Bear, Janet and Dave.

Officially opened in 1902 by Vancouver’s second mayor, David Oppenheimer, the park carries a complicated history from First Nations burial site, to the heart of the Japantown community that was forcibly dispersed by the internment programs of WWII, to recognition following months of protests in 2014 that the park rests on the unceded territory of the Musqueam First Nation.

Through allowing for direct participation in the filmmaking process and playing with tropes from the Western genre, Juan Manuel Sepúlveda has created an extraordinary and controversial documentary where the day to day life in this park converts it into a ritualistic space in the struggle to overcome historical and ongoing hardships.

Juan Manuel Sepúlveda (b. Mexico, 1980) is a director and cinematographer, and a recent graduate of the MFA in film program at Simon Fraser University. His first feature film, The Infinite Border (2007), premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and he was the director of cinematography of Leap Year (2010), which was awarded the Camera d’Or at Cannes.

‘’Sepúlveda offers up an intimate group portrait that can be both heartbreaking and hilarious, focusing on a few lost souls banding together against the raw deal handed to their tribes.’’ Jordan Mintze, The Hollywood Reporter.

Glauber Rocha x2: Black God, White Devil & Entranced Earth

(Vancouver Latin American Film Festival @ VIFF Vancity Theatre)
(240 mins)
In Portugese with English subtitles
Classification: 19+


Aug 30 06:30 pm

Screens in program Glauber Rocha x2: Black God, White Devil & Entranced Earth


"Cinema Novo is the creative synthesis of Brazilian international popular cinema." - Glauber Rocha

Co-presented by VIFF Vancity Theatre and the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. Tickets are available from and on the door.

Glauber Rocha (b. 1939, Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, Brazil) was a key figure in the Cinema Novo movement, a subversive and innovative film movement of the 1960s in Brazil. He directed two of the most influential Brazilian films of all times, Deus e o diabo na terra do sol (Black God, White Devil, 1964) and Terra em transe (Entranced Earth, 1967), which was initially banned from screening in Brazil for its allegorical depiction of oppression that reflected closely on the reality of oppression in Brazil after the military coup d’état of 1964. Still today, these two films are considered to be some of the greatest works in Brazilian film history.

Glauber Rocha, a law student who turned to film criticism and left-wing politics, was only 21 years old when his first film Barravento (The Turning Wind) was included in the first New York Film Festival in 1961. He achieved significant recognition in Europe in 1964, when his film Black God, White Devil premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme d’Or. In 1967, he received the Luis Buñuel and FIPRESCI Awards at the Cannes Film Festival for Entranced Earth, and in 1969, he won the Best Director Award for Antonio das Mortes.

Rocha went into voluntary exile after the right-wing military coup, but later returned to Brazil to support the government’s plan to restore democratic processes.

In a 1971 interview in Le Monde of Paris, Rocha stated, “My Brazilian films belong to a whole period when my generation was full of wild dreams and hopes. They are full of enthusiasm, faith and militancy and were inspired by my great love of Brazil.’’


Deus e o diabo na terra do sol


120 min.

Set in the drought-plagued Brazilian Sertão in 1940, Black God, White Devil explores the climate of superstition, physical and spiritual terrorism, and fear that gripped the country. The central characters, Manuel and Rosa, are on the run, and move credulously from allegiance to allegiance until they finally learn that the land belongs neither to god nor devil, but to the people themselves. The film’s storyline, somewhere between folk ballad and contemporary myth, contains a multitude of references to Brazilian history and culture. But Rocha’s project is fundamentally political, and completely unambiguous: he faces up to the contradictions of his country in an effort to understand, to crush mystiques, and to improve it.


Terra em transe


110 min

Eldorado, a fictitious country in Latin America, is churning with an internal struggle for political power. In the eye of this social convulsion, the jaded journalist and anarchist poet Paulo Martins opposes two equally corrupt political candidates: a pseudopopulist and a conservative. In this context, Paulo is torn between the madness of the elite and the blind submission of the masses. But, in this complex tropical reality, nothing really is what it seems to be.

The Seventh Fire

(2015, 76 mins, DCP)
Classification: 19+


Aug 21 06:20 pm

When Rob Brown, a Native American gang leader on a remote Minnesota reservation, is sentenced to prison for a fifth time, he must confront his role in bringing violent drug culture into his beloved Ojibwe community. As Rob reckons with his past, his seventeen-year-old protégé, Kevin, dreams of the future - becoming the biggest drug dealer on the reservation. Terrence Malick, Natalie Portman and Chris Eyre present this haunting and visually arresting nonfiction film about life on the Rez.

Life in Pine Point on Minnesota’s White Earth Indian Reservation is no picnic. Drugs, alcohol, poverty and violence are pervasive. Hope for a better life seems to be slipping out of reach. Rob Brown, in and out of prison for much of his life, has just received a sentence of 57 more months. His 17-year-old protégé Kevin Fineday appears headed for the same fate. But Brown dreams of being a writer, a good father and defender of the Ojibwe’s traditional culture; and Fineday – in fits and starts – looks beyond the gangster life as well.


Can their lives be redirected? Or will the path to redemption turn out instead to be a downward spiral? These are the fundamental questions that this powerful documentary dares to ask with its complex characters, searing images and haunting score. Set against the backdrop of Minnesota’s beautiful but foreboding skies, Jack Pettibone Riccobono’s stunning feature directorial debut captured the attention and support of executive producers Terrence Malick, Natalie Portman and Chris Eyre for good reason — it is a profoundly moving film that never stops asking questions or looking for hope in those gathering storms.

"An empathetic, often heartbreaking piece of work." Tom Huddleston, Time Out

"Fascinating and important." Hollywood Reporter

"The betrayal of Native Americans by larger forces looms over this powerful movie." Glenn Kenny, New York Times