Path Alias: 

Don Gionvanni, from The Royal Opera House

Program Running Time 190 min.

Sep 21 02:30 pm
Oct 15 07:00 pm

Films in Program

(GB, 2014, 190 mins, DCP)

Kasper Holten, ROH Director of Opera, presents a mesmerizing new production of Mozart’s sublime tragicomedy. The impulsive and charismatic Don Giovanni travels through Europe seducing women, accompanied by his long-suffering servant Leporello. When he commits murder, he unleashes vengeance from beyond the grave.

La Boheme, from The Royal Opera House

Program Running Time 160 min.

Aug 24 02:30 pm
Sep 10 07:00 pm

Films in Program

(GB, 2014, 160 mins, DCP)

A lost key and an accidental touch of cold hands in the dark – so begins one of the great romances of all opera. In his depiction of the tender and ultimately tragic love between Mimì and Rodolfo, Puccini achieved an immediacy, warmth and humanity that have rarely been equalled.

Nabucco, from The Royal Opera House

Program Running Time 170 min.

Aug 13 07:00 pm

Films in Program

(GB, 2014, 170 mins, DCP)

Daniele Abbado explores themes of identity, exile and religion in a powerful staging of Verdi’s epic opera. War has broken out between the Babylonians and Israelites. The Israelites have captured Fenena, younger daughter of the Babylonian King, Nabucco. In revenge, Nabucco vows to destroy Jerusalem, aided by the vengeful Abigaille.

“Domingo’s career, 42 years at Covent Garden and counting, continues to be a wonder of the age.” The Guardian

112 Weddings

(2014, 92 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
Classification: Unclassified, Membership Required


Sep 12 06:30 pm
Sep 13 06:30 pm
Sep 14 03:00 pm
Sep 17 06:30 pm

Filmmaker Doug Block (51 Birch Street) has been working on the side as a wedding videographer for nearly 20 years. In that time, he has accumulated hundreds of hours of personal memories, ones that belong to people he only knew for a short time, when their love was new and energetic. Now, on the eve of his own 25th wedding anniversary, Block decides to revisit these couples and complete their stories, asking the difficult questions of what makes a marriage work. Contrasting the subjects’ original precious moments with modern interviews and some insight from counsellors specializing in nuptials, 112 Weddings draws a vibrant picture of the relationships that couldn’t sustain themselves and the ones that seem destined to last forever. Exploring the true meaning of commitment, Block feeds his curiosity with these emotional journeys 20 years in the making. (Michael Lerman)

"Quirky, entertaining, and heartwarming."—Toronto Film Scene

"Simple in execution, but unmistakably rich in dialogue of the complexities of married life, Doug Block has lensed a wonderfully playful, startlingly tragic film that will surely move anyone who’s ever been in love and question anyone considering marriage themselves."—Jordan M Smith, Ion cinema

"Block finds the extraordinary in the patient observation of everyday life."—Michel Gondry

Searching for Sugar Man

(2012, 86 mins, DCP)
FEATURING Sixto Rodriguez
Classification: Unclassified, Membership Required
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Canadian art house distributor Mongrel Media


Sep 08 08:20 pm

An enormous hit in Vancouver (where it ran for more than three months) and worldwide, this fascinating documentary put the all-but forgotten 70s troubadour Rodriguez back on the cultural map. The film is framed as a mystery, as a couple of South African fans try to find out more about an artist who became a talisman for the anti-apartheid movement in their country, but who long ago vanished into obscurity in his native US. The movie went on to win the Oscar for best documentary and turned 40-year-old albums into chart-toppers — but in a tragic epilogue director Malik Bendjelloul committed suicide earlier this year.

"A hugely appealing documentary about fans, faith and an enigmatic Age of Aquarius musician who burned bright and hopeful before disappearing."—Manohla Dargis, New York Times

"All you really have to know about this surprising and emotive music doc is that you should see it."—Trevor Johnston, Time Out

Rich Hill

(2014, 91 mins, DCP)
Classification: Unclassified, Membership Required


Aug 29 06:20 pm
Aug 30 05:40 pm
Sep 03 08:30 pm
Sep 04 04:00 pm

Rich Hill, Missouri (population 1393). O! the highway, next to the railroad track. Andrew, 14, works on his bike, talks dreams with his dad, practices dance moves with his twin sister. He’s just like a lot of American teenagers, except that his days are often also about survival. Harley, 15, lives with his grandma and eight other members of his extended family because his mom is in prison for attempted murder. Still, Harley is the "first guy in the room to crack a joke and make you laugh when you least expect it." Appachey, 12, dreams of becoming an art teacher in China and finds solace in skateboards — and, despite his smarts, has had to repeat the 6th grade, which doesn’t fix all the things that are broken in his life.

These boys can be tough — they know how to walk with a clenched-jaw stare, like they have nothing to lose. But when you get to know them up-close, you see their insight, their humor, and their determination to survive. And despite the isolation and brutality of their circumstances, their hope for a brighter future persists. They imagine that their hard work will be rewarded, and that, although there is no road map or role model, even they can live the American dream.

Reminiscent of a non-fiction film by Terrence Malick, Rich Hill draws on more than 400 hours of footage the filmmakers shot with the boys. The result is intimate, authentic and unexpectedly transcendent.

Winner: Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, Sundance Film Festival

"A truly moving and edifying film, Rich Hill is the type of media object that could and should be put in a time capsule for future generations."—Katie Walsh, The Playlist (Indiewire)

"Open-hearted ... deeply empathetic."—Peter Debruge, Variety

"Often heartbreaking."—Duane Byrge, Hollywood Reporter

A Prophet

(Un prophète)
(2009, 155 mins, 35mm)
In French
CAST Tahar Rahim, Nils Arestrup
Classification: Unclassified, Membership Required
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Canadian art house distributor Mongrel Media.


Sep 07 07:00 pm

A prison somewhere in the boondocks outside Paris: home for 19-year-old French-North African Malik (Tahar Rahim) for the next six years. He’s soon singled out by Corsican crime boss Cesar Luciani (snowy haired Nils Arestrup) as their best shot at assassinating another Arab prisoner, a stool pigeon who appears to take a fancy to the young man.

Malik doesn’t want to comply, but soon discovers that Cesar’s power extends right across the prison, inmates, guards and all. The murder is a bloody fiasco, but Cesar ensures that he gets off with no questions asked, and there’s a job in it for him too. Cesar’s gang treat him like a lackey, but at least he’s a lackey with connections and the privilege to move around the prison with relative ease.

With time he earns the kingpin’s respect, if not entirely his trust. That’s a mixed blessing too — Luciani has high expectations, but he remains watchful for any sign of too much initiative. Malik earns day-release rights, and soon he’s trafficking drugs for the Corsican’s allies, making good money, and risking his neck on a regular basis.

The confines of the prison provide Jacques Audiard (Read My Lips; The Beat My Heart Skipped) with a handy social microcosm: we see the way the institution has been rigged and corrupted by money, violence and power, the endemic racism of the place, and how Malik is forced to play the game or perish.

Not only does he play, he wins. In the self-improvement stakes he would be a model prisoner — he even learns Corsican — if it weren’t for all the dead bodies he leaves in his wake.

"If Malik doesn’t remind you of Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone on his journey from innocence to corruption in The Godfather saga, well ... he should. A Prophet is similarly, startlingly momentous."—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

"It’s a highly original film made in a familiar context, and an exciting moviegoing experience you shouldn’t miss."—Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

"A Prophet is the kind of film that makes you remember why going to the movies can be a thrilling experience."—Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle

The Lives of Others

(Das Leben der Anderen)
(2006, 137 mins, 35mm)
In German
CAST Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur
Classification: Unclassified, Membership Required
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Canadian art house distributor Mongrel Media


Sep 07 04:00 pm

"The Stasi—East Germany’s omnipotent and greatly feared secret police—employed some 100,000 people, in addition to the 200,000 informers who could be counted on to spy on their neighbors, their friends and their own families. The waking nightmare of this "socialist paradise," a country with the second highest suicide rate in the world, is unforgettably captured in The Lives of Others.

Writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck sets his tale of betrayal, corruption and moral awakening in East Berlin in 1984, five years before the fall of the wall. The system may be rotting from within, but Capt. Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Mühe), one of the Stasi’s most skilled officers, is still a true believer, rooting out the enemies of East German socialism with a ruthless precision born of genuine ideological commitment.

The humourless, ascetic Wiesler is assigned to spy on the celebrated playwright Georg Dreyman (Sebastian Koch) and his lover and star actress, Christa-Maria Sieland (Martina Gedeck). Bugging the couple’s apartment, he sits monklike in a secret attic, earphones on his head, listening for hours to their lovers’ quarrels, their discussions of art and the music they play. What Wiesler discovers is that his assignment is about more than state security: Hempf, a high government minister (Thomas Thieme), lusts after Christa-Maria and wants to see his rival taken off the field. It’s made clear to Wiesler that finding dirt on Dreyman could do wonders for the Stasi officer’s career. Suddenly Wiesler, against all his training and convictions, begins to feel a strange sympathy for the man and woman whose lives he’s secretly entered.

[...] It’s hard to believe this is von Donnersmarck’s first feature. His storytelling gifts have the novelistic richness of a seasoned master. The accelerating plot twists are more than just clever surprises; they reverberate with deep and painful ironies, creating both suspense and an emotional impact all the more powerful because it creeps up so quietly. He creates edge-of-your-seat tension without a single gunshot, car chase or fight scene. Even more remarkable is his grasp of character [...] The Lives of Others shows, with devastating clarity and intelligence, how the virus of corruption spreads from a political system into the hearts and souls of its citizens, infecting everything it touches."

—David Ansen, Newsweek

"A thoroughly compelling political thriller, at once intellectually challenging and profoundly emotional."—Claudia Puig, USA Today

"The Lives of Others is a supremely intelligent, unfailingly honest look at a shadowy period in recent German history."—AO Scott, New York Times

Norte, The End of History

(2013, 250 mins, DCP)
In Tagalog with English subtitles
Classification: Unclassified, Membership Required


Sep 05 06:30 pm
Sep 06 06:30 pm
Sep 09 06:30 pm
Sep 11 06:30 pm

In the northern Philippine province of Luzon, a law-school dropout commits a horrific double murder; a gentle family man takes the fall and receives a life sentence, leaving behind a wife and two kids. At their best, Lav Diaz’s marathon movies reveal just how much other films leave out. In his devastating twelfth feature (and at four-plus hours, one of his shortest), the broad canvas accommodates both the irreducible facts of individual experience and the cosmic sweep of time and space. A careful rethinking of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment shot in blazing color, this tour de force offers a masterful recapitulation of Diaz’s longstanding obsessions: cultural memory, national guilt, and the origin of evil. The wounds and defeats of Filipino history loom large in each of Diaz’s films. Fabian, Norte’s tortured antihero (superbly played by Sid Lucero), may well be his most indelible creation: a haunting embodiment of the dead ends of ideology.

"Its very existence is an exhilarating triumph over complacency... there is an almost inexhaustible humanism at the heart of this remarkable film."—A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“The lights came up, I stood with tears in my eyes, and clapped as loudly as I ever have for any movie in my life.”—Wesley Morris, Grantland

“A mesmerising experience that grows deeper and broader the longer it goes on”—Kieran Corless, Sight and Sound

Truly Madly Deeply

(1991, 106 mins)
CAST Juliet Stevenson, Alan Rickman, Michael Maloney
Classification: Unclassified, Membership Required
Presented by Murray Battle


Sep 02 07:00 pm

Nina is consumed by grief when Jamie, the love of her life, dies. She imagines him everywhere and his absence is an unbearable pain. He comes back and for a short time and his presence allows her to deal with her grief until finally she is ready to move on. What keeps the film from schmaltz are the wonderful performances of Nina (Juliet Stevenson) and Jamie (Alan Rickman), whose characters have plenty of warmth and tenderness, and some great comic elements.

This film was the feature debut of writer-director Anthony Minghella, after a successful career in television and theatre. From the success of Truly Madly Deeply, he went on to direct The Talented Mr. Ripley, The English Patient and Cold Mountain.

Murray Battle is the Director of Independent Production and Presentation at British Columbia’s Knowledge Network. Recent commissions include the award winning series, Emergency Room: Life and Death at Vancouver General Hospital, Oil Sands Karaoke, Just Eat It, Backward Class, Father Figures, Do You Really Want to Know? and Coast Modern. In a previous life, he was a filmmaker for over 30 years.