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Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater

(2013, 70 mins, DCP)
FEATURING James Benning, Richard Linklater
Classification: 19+


Aug 02 08:30 pm
Aug 07 08:20 pm

On the occasion of the release of Richard Linklater’s most adventurous and rewarding work—Boyhood—check out this wonderful conversation piece between the independent-minded Austinite and the even more marginalized James Benning, an experimental artist who would surely be far better known (not to mention far wealthier) if he had not chosen moving pictures for his medium. Benning (whose Stemple Pass featured in VIFF last year) works alone, usually, and most often prefers long, static, contemplative takes. But the two filmmakers have much in common, not least a fascination with the passage of time. And Gabe Klinger’s relaxed portrait of the pair in conversation is certainly time spent in most excellent company.

"In Double Play, filmmaker and cineaste Gabe Klinger brings together James Benning and Richard Linklater, a pairing that might cause a double take, until you learn all that they do share: later-in-life turns toward filmmaking, a love of (and history with) baseball, an openness to temporal experiment and formal rebirth, and a curiosity about defining American-ness that is itself particularly American. Drawing liberally from an onstage interview at the Austin Film Society, clips from the two directors’ films, and visits to Linklater’s editing room (where Boyhood is up on the console), Klinger creates a conversational structure for the film, making Benning’s visit with Linklater the throughline of the film. He also opens up the typical docu-portrait frame with, for example, long shots of Benning and Linklater playing ball—a flexibility of staging that lives up to the film’s billing as an installment in the venerable Cinéma, de notre temps series. Double Play illustrates how the two filmmakers’ sensibilities converge and diverge—Benning’s solitary approach, say, versus Linklater’s directorial self-identification as a kind of “coach”—as in an extended rendezvous you might find in certain Linklater films."

—Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment

Double Play is the kind of film to make cinephiles grateful, if only to preserve for the ages the ruminations of two artists whose shared project has been nothing less than the excavation of the American spirit itself."—Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

"Like Linklater’s movies, including Boyhood, Double Play is loaded with thought-provoking dialogue, including meditations on time, relationships and the challenges of staying true to one’s artistic muse."—Rob Nelson, Star Tribune

Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago

(2013, 84 mins)
Classification: 19+


Aug 01 06:30 pm
Aug 02 06:30 pm
Aug 03 06:30 pm
Aug 04 06:30 pm
Aug 05 04:45 pm
Aug 06 06:30 pm
Aug 07 06:30 pm
Aug 16 05:00 pm
Aug 23 05:00 pm

Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago follows various pilgrims, from ages 3 to 73, as they attempt to cross an entire country on foot—with only a backpack, a pair of boots and an open mind. Driven by an inexplicable calling and a grand sense of adventure, we witness the Camino’s magnetic and miraculous power to change lives. Each pilgrim throws themselves heart and soul into their incredibly challenging trek to Santiago de Compostela, and most importantly, their personal journey to themselves.

100% Fresh, Rotten Tomatoes

"Driving both the filmmaker and her subjects is wonder and wanderlust. Their enthusiasm for the Camino is contagious ..."—Diana Clarke, Village Voice


(2013, 80 mins, DCP)
In Polish with English subtitles
CAST Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik
Classification: 19+


Sep 20 08:10 pm

From acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski (Last Resort, My Summer of Love) comes a moving and intimate drama about a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland who, on the verge of taking her vows, discovers a dark family secret dating from the terrible years of the Nazi occupation.

18-year old Anna (stunning newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska), a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to become a nun when the Mother Superior insists she first visit her sole living relative. Naïve, innocent Anna soon finds herself in the presence of her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelation triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of the repressed past, evoking the haunting legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism.

"In a very short time, Pawlikowski’s film tells us a powerful, poignant story with fine, intelligent performances." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

"This story of faith and despair is gracefully told, its simple, uncluttered spaces and luminous black-and-white photography harking back to Robert Bresson."JR Jones, Chicago Reader

"It’s absolutely stunning, one of the year’s best films, and a fulfillment of the promise that the director has shown for so long." Oli Lyttleton, Indiewire

Finding Vivian Maier

(2013, 83 mins, DCP)
FEATURING John Maloof, Mary Ellen Mark, Joel Meyerowitz, Phil Donahue, Duffy Lavant
Classification: 19+


Sep 19 08:20 pm
Sep 20 06:30 pm

When Vivian Maier passed away only four years ago almost nobody knew it, or cared. She had lived an anonymous life, never married, estranged from her family and virtually friendless, a professional nanny who had failed to forge lasting, long-term relationships. She was secretive, private and obsessed with her hobby, photography – though typically she kept her photos to herself.

It was only when amateur historian John Maloof happened to pick up a job-lot of her belongings in a thrift auction that anyone had the first inkling Vivian was an artist, a photographer whose astonishing images merit comparison with such giants as Diane Arbus, Weegee, Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

The right man in the right place, Maloof recognized the treasure trove he had chanced across, and movie camera in hand he set about uncovering Maier’s mysterious and (as it turns out) extraordinary life story. At the same time, he discovered her storage locker, gaining access to hundreds and thousands of prints and undeveloped rolls of film. Interviewing the families she lived with and some of today’s top photographers, Maloof constructs a compelling and eye-opening introduction to a major body of work.

"Compelling… haunting… captivating." Variety

"Poignant, informative, occasionally disturbing." Globe and Mail

Sagrada - The Mystery of Creation

(2012, 89 mins, DCP)
In German, Spanish, English with English subtitles
Classification: 19+


Sep 19 06:30 pm
Sep 20 04:30 pm

The “Sagrada Família” in Barcelona is a unique and fascinating building project by a brilliant, formerly controversial genius, Antoni Gaudí, with an army of workers, a history with many highs and lows and a myriad of questions raised. The biography of the edifice, which has been under construction since 1882 and is about half completed today, is the starting point for Stefan Haupt’s film.

Normally we see a cathedral or a church in its finished form, a witness of days long gone by. By contrast, the construction of the Sagrada Família is anything but complete. The edifice is still growing and evolving today as it has done for the past 125 years. Who was the man who designed this cathedral? What was his driving force? Who were his successors? Who are the people, i.e. the workers, craftsmen, artists and architects, who continue working on the Sagrada Família and who want to complete it? What is their driving force?

With the help of these people who are building the “cathedral” today, perhaps the last of its kind, this film investigates the motives that incite us humans to design and build such edifices.

The film is about their knowledge and experience, about the symbolism and the underlying cultural roots, and also about the creative act from intention to realization. Participants from a wide variety of backgrounds give insight into their work, describing their knowledge and experience. For example Etsuro Sotoo, the Japanese sculptor, a former Buddhist who converted to Catholicism, who has been working in the Sagrada Família for more than 30 years; Josep Subirachs, the highly controversial designer of the Passion façade, who calls himself an agnostic; Jordi Bonet, the chief architect, who is fighting on every possible front to get the Sagrada Família completed, as well as artisans and workers from various fields, such as Jaume Torreguitart, who describes the anonymous pride of all those workers who know that their name will never appear in the books about the Sagrada Família.

Inner and outer images interweave. In the hustle and bustle of this metropolis, the film approaches this mysterious cathedral persona, investigating the structural developments of the Sagrada Família and taking the time for breaks in order to look, hear, perceive, contemplate and reflect. Anna Huber, a reputed dancer from Switzerland, appears here and there during this discovery trip. Jordi Savall, the world-famous Catalan musician, conducts Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” which has occasionally been called “the cathedral of music”, reflecting on the ways of interpreting a work of art, be it based on a score or on an architectural plan.

Inspired by Gaudí’s vision, the film ultimately explores the fundamentally human search for the meaning of our existence, our origin and our goal, as well as the question of our human creativity and what we want to use it for.

Director’s Statement

Biographies, in whatever form, fascinate me. They confront me with my own story. Where does a particular person come from, where is he or she now, where is he or she going? Could their life have taken a different course? Do we create our own biography or does it take its own, pre-set course? These are questions about life and its meaning.

Just like human beings, buildings and artistic creations have their biography and their genesis: they have an origin, “parents”, a moment of creation and birth and then a life until they are accomplished - or destroyed - with a possible continuation in a modified form. These biographies are fascinating and moving too.

The focus of this film is the biography of the Sagada Família, the biography of a religious building which seems almost anachronistic in our times. A biography unfinished as yet, but which has already filled volumes.

I would like to tell this biography “from the core and from within”, taking as a starting point its roots, the everyday life of workers, sculptors and architects, as well as exploring topical issues and problems of the present. Slowly the outer history will build around it, encompassing the first sketches and historical building stages, today’s development stage, as well as the vision of the completed Sagrada Família.

"This film is more than a documentary, it tells the story using beautiful and quiet images of the transformation of ideas, talks of human endeavour for perfection and in so doing, illustrates that the essential meaning of this edifice lies in its creation process and not only in its completion.

This creative process is illustrated in varying perspectives from inside the incomplete church as well as the complex structure of the exterior parts of the church.

The film gives cause for self-reflection on how the past and present are related, portraying people and destinies involved in the construction of the church and ultimately proves that something incomplete also has its own significance." Jury citation, Erasmus Euro Media Awards

"Both exhaustive and astounding in its detective-like exploration of the history of the impossibly ornate Catalonian house of worship." Jackson Scarlett, 7x7SF


(2013, 89 mins, DCP)
CAST Emily Foxler, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Lorene Scafaria
Classification: 19+


Sep 12 08:30 pm
Sep 13 08:30 pm
Sep 15 06:30 pm
Sep 17 08:30 pm

Imagine Luis Bunuel’s Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie crossed with Shane Carruth’s Primer and Lars von Trier’s Melancholia… Or just imagine a dinner party with friends, a dinner party that starts out quite normally, but which takes a dramatic turn towards the surreal when wifi, phone lines, and then electricity go out – apparently connected to the proximity of a passing comet. Two guests venture out to the one house in the vicinity which mysteriously still has power. But what they discover is so weird – and so familiar - they can’t make head or tail of it. Before the night is done everyone present will have to rethink what they’re doing there, their longest and most intimate relationships, and indeed, who they really think they are…

"You walk away from it with your brain on fire." Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine

"The result is an uncommonly clever genre movie, reliant not on special effects—of which there are basically none—but on heavy doses of paranoia." AA Dowd, AV Club

"No budget filmmaking at its most delectably inventive." Mike D’Angelo, The Dissolve

112 Weddings

(2014, 92 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
Classification: 19+


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


(2013, 143 mins, DCP)
CAST Ali Liebert, Raven Adamson, Kate Conseni, Michelle Nolden, Tamara Hope
Classification: 19+


Aug 29 08:10 pm
Aug 30 07:30 pm
Aug 31 02:30 pm
Sep 02 04:00 pm

For his first North American movie the acclaimed French filmmaker Laurent Cantet (The Class; Time Out) came to Canada to film Joyce Carol Oates’ novel about a girl gang in the 1950s. (The story was previously filmed in 1996 starring Angelina Jolie.)

The fifties was the decade of the teenager, but also of juvenile delinquents, James Dean, and Rebel Without a Cause. In popular culture this has predominantly been male terrain, give or take the odd dragstrip girl. Cantet and Oates beg to differ: the young women here, school kids, initially, have more reason than most for dissatisfaction with their small town prospects. Inspired by the charismatic, rebellious "Legs" (Raven Adamson), the gals form their own gang, Foxfire, kicking against the pricks in the form of disciplinarian schoolmasters, abusive employers, and neglectful parents. In time the gang become a quasi collective, but their utopian dreams also encompass petty theft and prejudice. They carry the seeds of failure within themselves…

Says Cantet: "The US is a country where radicalism exists, but you see it very little officially. The girls in the film are brought to a political consciousness that has a lot of resonance with what’s happening in the heads of young people today. As far as I am concerned, Foxfire is my most political film."

Virtually unreleased in North America two years after it premiered at the Toronto Film Fesitval , the film met with rave reviews in Europe, not least for the remarkable performances from a largely unknown cast.

"A frequently thrilling evocation of teen lives. Proof that The Class and Time Out were no pan flashes. 4/5" Angie Errigo, Empire

"Impressively directed and superbly written, this is a riveting and emotionally engaging drama with some thought-provoking ideas and terrific performances from its young cast of unknowns. Highly recommended." Matt Turner, View

"As beautiful as it is surprising, Cantet’s Foxfire girls appear like the ancestors of Pussy Riot." Les Inrockuptibles

Like Father, Like Son

(2013, 121 mins, DCP)
In Japanese
CAST Fukuyama Masaharu , Ono Machiko, Maki Yôko
Classification: 19+
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Canadian art house distributor Mongrel Media


Sep 21 08:15 pm

It’s a nightmare scenario for any family: the unthinkable revelation that a maternity ward mix-up paired off mother with someone else’s child. A terrible mistake at any time, but for the truth to emerge some six years later… What to do with such information? According to the new movie by modern Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking; Nobody Knows) almost all parents caught in this rare but not unprecedented situation eventually accept the inevitable, and “swap” the child they have reared for their natural offspring.

Such is the decision arrived at by wealthy careerist Ryota and his wife Midori, and by Yudai and Yukari, the working class couple who will take the boy, Keita, on whom Ryota has previously pinned so many hopes, and in whom he has always been secretly disappointed. Although his style is impeccably understated, Kore-eda mines this rich dramatic seam for the emotional anguish you might expect, along with biting shards of class satire and – as always – a profound compassion for the children at the center of it all. Steven Spielberg has acquired the rights for a US remake.

"Sublimely moving." Maggie Lee, Variety

’Powered by Kore-eda’s innate restraint and natural empathy, Like Father, Like Son takes these characters to places they never expected to be. It’s unnerving for them, of course, but watching so many hearts hanging in the balance is a rare privilege for us." Kenneth Turan, LA Times

"Kore-eda has crafted a piercing, tender poem about the bittersweet ebb and flow of paternal love, and his status as Ozu’s heir becomes ever more assured." Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

Of Gods and Men

(Des hommes et des dieux)
(2010, 122 mins, DCP)
In French, Arabic
CAST Lambert Wilson, Michael Lonsdale, Olivier Rabourdin
Classification: 19+
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Canadian art house distributor Mongrel Media


Sep 21 06:00 pm

A monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990. Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers. When a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps through the region. The army offers them protection, but the monks refuse. Should they leave? Despite the growing menace in their midst, they slowly realize that they have no choice but to stay…come what may. This film is loosely based on the life of the Cistercian monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, from 1993 until their kidnapping in 1996.

"Of Gods and Men, a transcendent drama of uplift and inspiration, reveals the cavernous divide between heaven and Earth." Peter Howell, Globe and Mail

"Beautiful, somber and rigorously intelligent." AO Scott, New York Times