Path Alias: 

Carlito's Way

(1993, 144 mins, DCP)
CAST Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, John Leguizamo, Luis Guzman
Classification: 19+


Jul 14 08:30 pm
Jul 15 01:00 pm

Save by purchasing a 3 ticket pack for only $30.


Along with Blow Out this is arguably peak De Palma (he implies as much himself in the new documentary that accompanies this series). A classic gangster film, updated to the disco era of the late 70s (and reuniting the director with his Scarface star, Al Pacino), Carlito’s Way is the tale of a drug kingpin who vows to go straight - and means it. Trouble is, nobody believes him: not his old friends and cronies, not his enemies, not even his best friend and lawyer (Sean Penn).

Brilliantly directed, Carlito’s Way is a genre movie delivered with such conviction and panache it has the heft and pull of grand opera and high tragedy. At the opposite end of the emotional spectrum to Scarface, this is surely De Palma’s warmest and most romantic movie, it has simplicity and purity rare in his work, but orchestrated with his customary skill.

"Everything about Carlito’s Way (1993) is improbable, starting with the fact that it’s a masterpiece." Matt Zoller Seitz, Reverse Shot

Blow Out

(1981, 107 mins, DCP)
CAST John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz
Classification: 19+


Jul 14 06:30 pm
Jul 15 03:40 pm

Save by purchasing a 3 ticket pack for only $30.


"The consensus choice for Brian De Palma’s greatest movie, this deeply neurotic 1981 conspiracy thriller churns the director’s most profound obsessions through the analog mechanics of cinema. Set in Philadelphia (but more accurately located somewhere between Blow-Up and The Conversation), the story concerns sound technician Jack Terry (John Travolta), whose equipment inadvertently records proof that a fatal car accident was the result of an assassination attempt. Sending Jack on a dangerous path that puts him in the crosshairs of a merciless killer (John Lithgow, natch), Blow Out builds to a haunting final scene that illustrates just how literally filmmakers transmute their anguish into the films their audiences come to love." David Ehrlich, Rolling Stone

"Nancy Allen gives the film its soul; Travolta gives it gravity and weight and passion. Seeing this film is like experiencing the body of De Palma’s work and seeing it in a new way… It’s a great movie." Pauline Kael, New Yorker

Vancouver Iranian Film Society presents: Atomic Heart

(Madare ghalb atomi)
(2015, 93 mins, DCP)
In Farsi, Arabic, English with English subtitles
CAST Taraneh Alidoosti, Pegah Ahangarani, Mehrdad Sedighiyan, Mohammad Reza Golzar.
Classification: 19+


Jul 13 08:30 pm

On the way home from a wild party, Arineh and Nobahar cause a car accident. A mysterious stranger offers to cover their costs and refuses to be reimbursed. Instead he asks the two girls to follow him into the unknown. Very quickly, whilst traveling through a nighttime Tehran full of mysteries and surprises, Arineh and Nobahar discover a parallel world of the unexpected, the existence of which they had never imagined.

Pitched somewhere between dream and reality, this surreal tale follows two party girls and their close encounter with… the devil? “An exciting example of Iranian independent filmmaking, one that gives hope for the future.” Alissa Simon, Variety

“A genuine surprise… Ali Ahmadzadeh’s peculiar Atomic Heart, a film which begins with a duo of ambling, well-to-do young women as they return from a party. Inevitably, Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy and Certified Copy spring to mind, only for Ahmadzadeh to take a sharp turn into philosophical sci-fi around the midway point, complete with multiple realities and Saddam Hussein.” James Berclaz-Lewis, Indiewire


(2015, 97 mins, DCP)
In French with English subtitles
CAST Andy Gillet, Victoria Guerra, Johan Libereau, Jonathan Genet, Sabine Azema
Classification: 19+


Jul 29 08:15 pm
Jul 30 07:30 pm
Jul 31 05:00 pm
Aug 02 04:00 pm
Aug 03 08:15 pm

The late Andrzej Zulawski’s final film, a literary adaptation suffused with his trademark freneticism, transforms Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz’s novel of the same name into an ominous and manic exploration of desire. Witold who has just failed the bar, and his companion Fuchs, who has recently quit his fashion job, are staying at a guesthouse run by the intermittently paralytic Madame Woytis. Upon discovering a sparrow hanged in the woods near the house, Witold’s reality mutates into a whirlwind of tension, histrionics, foreboding omens, and surrealistic logic as he becomes obsessed with Madame Woytis’s daughter Lena, newly married to Lucien. Winner: Best Director, Locarno Film Festival 2015

"Often hilarious, confounding and downright strange… a demented philosophical puzzle that’s fun to scrutinize in all of its baffling uncertainties." Eric Kohn, Indiewire

"A wild adaptation of the Wiltold Gombrowicz novel of the same name, Cosmos is an appropriately chaotic, bright, eerie, and crazed work… The film’s animation of the text can be sensorially overwhelming as scenes are rendered into relentless tableaux of action and noise. But this too-muchness feels at home in Zulawski’s hands, and he channels it into a captivating, annoying, masterpiece." Rachel Rakes, Artforum

"Zuławski’s film is all rhyme and poetry and the pleasure of nonsense. Not nonsense as in “meaninglessness” but nonsense as an alternative to the sensical, to the rational… The world that Żuławski’s final film creates is one that is fundamentally cinematic, artistic, poetic." Yaron Dahan, Senses of Cinema

The General

(1998, 124 mins, 35mm)
CAST Brendan Gleeson, Jon Voight, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Adrian Dunbar
Classification: 19+


Jul 11 08:30 pm

John Boorman (Point Blank, Deliverance, Hope and Glory) surprised everyone with this boisterous, energetic thriller based on a real life Dublin criminal, Martin Cahill. It’s an oblique take on "The Troubles", but one that pays off in spades (and hearts and diamonds too). The movie also made an unexpected star out of hitherto unknown Brendan Gleeson and really set the template for movies like In Bruges and Intermission.

"Dublin, the 1980s and ’90s. Martin Cahill (Gleeson) is forever a few steps ahead of the police, cocking a snook at all the authority figures he’s detested since a childhood in the slums, defined by poverty, petty crime and priestly abuse. Determined to get his man, Inspector Ned Kenny (Voight) nevertheless views him with grudging respect, but it’s only when he arranges full time surveillance that Cahill’s loyal gang begin to buckle under pressure; even then, the self-styled Godfather can probably count on the support of his wife (Kennedy), her sister (Ball), his right-hand man Noel (Dunbar), and an amused, hero-hungry public, so that his pranks and perversions of justice go unpunished. But how long can he get away with refusing to hand over a portion of his spoils to the IRA? Boorman’s energetic account of Cahill’s real-life escapades (from the book by Paul Williams) is notable for its deft characterisations and authenticity: while Cahill’s sentiments and actions are appreciated as the exploits of a canny born rebel, we’re never allowed to forget that he’s also volatile, violent and, whatever his feelings for his family, ultimately self-obsessed. All the performances are impressive, but Gleeson and Voight are especially memorable, lending an almost tragic air of inexorability to Cahill and Kenny’s cat-and-mouse games." Geoff Andrew, Time Out

"Boorman’s film is shot in wide-screen black and white, and as it often does, black and white emphasizes the characters and the story, instead of setting them awash in atmosphere." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times


(1998, 70 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
CAST Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw, Lucy Russell


Jul 25 08:20 pm

Blocked writer Bill (Theobald) takes to following strangers through the streets of Soho, ostensibly to kickstart his fiction. One day, one of his ’targets’ bites back: Cobb (Haw) introduces himself as a burglar skilled at ’reading’ people’s identities from rifling through their possessions, and he insists that Bill should tag along to experience the thrill for himself. A complicated time structure (the film flashes backwards and forwards) signals that more is going on here than meets the eye. Sure enough, the denouement involves two double crosses, a femme fatale, a murder and a crowning triple cross.

It’s a fascinating harbinger of themes and structural motifs to come from the writer-director of Memento, The Dark Knight, and Interstellar.


(1998, 84 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
CAST Sean Gullette, Mark Margolis, Ben Shenkman
Classification: 19+


Jul 25 06:30 pm

Drawing on abstract mathematic, chaos theory, the Kabbalah and other thought patterns, the mind-bending first feature from Darren Aronofsky (who would go on to make Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, The Wrestler and Noah) Max is a renegade mathematician searching for numerical order in the New York Stock Exchange. He’s doing it to look for the perfection in the world, an order underneath all the chaos. He believes that if he puts a numerical analysis on the data he’ll be able to find this unifying order. Instead, his discoveries have the opposite effect…

Darren Aronofsky on shooting in black and white: "We shot a film stock that’s never been done for a feature film before, it’s called black and white reversal film. It’s actually more expensive to shoot than color, so it’s a purely creative choice. The reality of it is that you have to nail the exposure, if you miss the exposure by one or two stops, it either goes completely white or completely black. If you nail it, though, you get a movie that is black or white, as opposed to black and white with a lot of gray tones. It’s extremely stylized and different."

"Audacious and bursting with ideas." Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

"One of the decade’s true originals." Trevor Johnston, Time Out

"It’s remarkable to what extent Aronofsky has rendered the cerebral kinetically intense." Dennis Harvey, Variety

Embrace of the Serpent

(El abrazo de la serpiente)
(2015, 124 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Spanish with English subtitles
CAST Nilbio Torres, Jan Bijvoet, Antonio Bolivar, Salvado Yangiama, Miguel Dionisio Ramos, Brionne Davis
Classification: 19+


Jul 04 06:30 pm

This visually bewitching black-and-white Colombian odyssey charts two parallel incursions by Western explorers deep into the Amazon jungle. In the 1900s Theo and his guide Manduca beseech a native shaman named Karamakate to help them find the mythical yakuna plant that may cure the ailing anthropologist’s illness. Persuaded that Theo can reunite him with other survivors of his tribe, Karamakate reluctantly agrees, and comes to believe there is a higher purpose in this quest. Yet as they canoe down river, tensions are never far from the surface. Some four decades later Karamakate will retrace his steps with an American explorer, a ghost journey into a culture on the verge of extinction.

Inspired by two historical anthropological accounts, but shot largely from the shaman’s point of view, Embrace of the Serpent is a potent, poetic, political film with some of the visionary force of Werner Herzog’s Amazonian adventures, Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo.

“Somewhere between a rebel yell and a lullaby, a primal scream and a Homeric lament… An absorbing, even thrilling head trip.” Jessica Kiang, Indiewire

"A visually mesmerizing exploration of man, nature and the destructive powers of colonialism." Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter


(2012, 118 mins, DCP)
In Portugese with English subtitles
CAST Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moeira, Carloto Cotta
Classification: 19+


Jul 04 08:50 pm

An impressively dense yet fleeting concatenation of doomed love and colonial guilt, as well as a reflection on the changing aesthetics and characteristics of cinema, Tabu is a deeply emotional and heartbreaking film; like its female protagonist, Aurora, it’s bipolar, both depressive and ecstatic. Though it looks and feels like a different beast than Miguel Gomes’ first two features, Tabu shares with them a preoccupation with storytelling and the perceptual contrast between “reality” and “fiction.”

Like Our Beloved Month of August (VIFF 08), Tabu is divided in two parts—“Paradise Lost” (in high-contrast black-and-white 35mm) and “Paradise” (in the gauzier, fuzzier 16mm of reminiscence). In “Paradise Lost,” the benevolent, religious Pilar, the elderly, guilt-ridden Aurora, and the suffering, saintly servant Santa walk through the gloomy present as if lighting cigarettes with the weight of history on their shoulders. The 1960s set “Paradise,” propelled by a dense and literate voiceover, speeds by in Aurora and Ventura’s past, months leaping forward from cut to cut as Aurora’s belly grows and the two lovers approach, come together, fall apart, and reunite for one momentous night. It’s no coincidence that Gomes name-checks Murnau; their Tabus share a title, an aspect ratio, a format, a colonial setting, maybe a shot of a flower, and a pair of doomed lovers. Yet in Gomes’ astonishing masterpiece there is no innocence to begin with, no fall from grace, but rather a tale of history’s “winners” told by Gianluca Ventura, a romantic loser.

Mia Madre

(2015, 106 mins, DCP)
In Italian with English subtitles
CAST Margherita Buy, John Turturro, Nanni Moretti, Giulia Lazzarini
Classification: 19+


Jul 01 06:30 pm
Jul 02 04:10 pm
Jul 03 02:50 pm
Jul 04 04:15 pm
Jul 05 06:30 pm
Jul 06 01:00 pm
Jul 07 06:30 pm
Jul 11 04:15 pm
Jul 12 06:30 pm
Jul 16 02:15 pm

In what has been acclaimed as his best film since the Palme d’Or winning The Son’s Room, Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti helms this quasi-autobiographical drama about a movie director (played by preeminent Italian actress Margherita Buy) trying to juggle her latest production with her own mother’s failing health. In this she is not helped by the presence of needy US film star "Barry Huggins" (John Turturro), a temperamental talent who seems incapable of following simple direction, nor by the demands of her adolescent daughter… Moretti takes the supporting role of director’s brother, in this ruefully funny, poignant film.

"Warm, witty and seductive - tremendously smart and enjoyable. Moretti’s best film in years, Mia Madre is about the paramount importance of enjoying life and cultivating love; cinema and socially engaged art are valuable insofar as they promote these imperatives." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

"Inspired. A triumph of tonal complexity. Whenever it gets close to the serious, it gets funny. Even funny, it never quite relinquishes the poignant." Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

"A triumph! Moretti’s most satisfying film to date, a richly mature work… Intimate, empathetic and intensely humane." Mark Kermode, The Observer