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The Winding Stream: The Carters, The Cashes and the Course of Country Music

(2015, 90 mins, DCP)
FEATURING Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Sheryl Crow, George Jones, John Prine, Joe Ely, Roseanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson
Classification: G


Jan 04 06:30 pm
Jan 05 06:30 pm
Jan 06 06:30 pm
Jan 07 06:30 pm

There is a stream that courses through American roots music. Its source is in the Appalachian foothills in a place called Maces Springs, Virginia. It was there that A.P. Carter, his wife Sara and his sister-in-law Maybelle began their careers as three of the earliest stars of country music. From their earliest days as Victor recording artists to their international success via the phenomenon of Border Radio, the Original Carter Family made their mark on the history of American recorded music…

These three didn’t just play the music emerging from their hill country upbringing. They helped invent it. A.P. was both song collector and composer, crafting and arranging snippets of ancient, musty melodies into commercial American popular music. Maybelle took the then-underplayed guitar and made it into the cornerstone of country instrumentation that we know today. And Sara became the first well-known woman’s voice in country music, stamping it with the eerie Gothic quality we find in so much of the country canon.

The stream these three created has turned into a rushing river and has moved through several generations of musicians, both inside their family and without. There would be no Folk Revival of the ’60s without the Carters, no country–rock bands of the ’70s, and no alt-country hipsters of our present era. The Carters crossed styles, crossed genres, crossed generations. And yet, the Carters suffered periods of obscurity, with AP and Sara divorcing and – despite trying to keep the act alive – all three going their separate ways. AP died never fully realizing the impact he had on American music. Sara moved to California vowing to live a quiet life with her new husband, AP’s cousin Coy. Maybelle, fiercely devoted to music, struggled to envision what the next step would be.

The Carter story might have ended there. But it didn’t. No one would have guessed that a young man, who, at first blush, seemed more renegade than reverent adherent, would be the one to lift up the Carter legacy. That man was Johnny Cash…

Opening night show features a live performance by Petunia (of Petunia and the Vipers).

"A loving and comprehensive tribute to the timeless music of this musical dynasty that has influenced countless artists who have followed in their wake… Enough drama to fuel a mini-series." Frank Schenk, Hollywood Reporter

"Impressively researched, deftly crafted… Cogent and compelling as a pop-culture history lesson, and genuinely uplifting." Joe Leydon, Variety

My Internship in Canada

(Guibord, s'en va-t-en guerre)
(2015, 108 mins, DCP)
In French with English subtitles
CAST Patrick Huard, Suzanne Clément, Irdens Exantus, Clémence Dufresne-Deslières, Sonia Cordeau, Paul Doucet
Classification: 19+


Dec 11 08:10 pm
Dec 12 07:15 pm
Dec 16 08:05 pm
Dec 17 06:30 pm

Director Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar) returns with a laugh-out-loud political comedy that could not be more timely. Steve Guibord (Patrick Huard, Starbuck, Mommy), independent Member for Prescott-Makadew à Rapides-aux-Outardes, ends up, despite himself, holding the balance of power in Parliament and must decide if Canada will go to war in the Middle-East.

While travelling through his riding to consult his constituents, accompanied by his wife Suzanne and his daughter Lune, along with Souverain, an idealistic Haitian trainee, special interest groups enter into a debate that goes wrong and the Honourable Member must face the weight of his conscience. In a series of public hearings throughout the constituency, dubbed the “Democracy Tour,” Guibord and Souverain will be caught in the crossfire of peace activists, miners, truckers, politicians, Aboriginal groups… and it will be up to the young Haitian, played by newcomer Irdens Exantus, far more astute a politician than his boss, to decide if Canada goes to war. Is it better to make the right decision for the wrong reasons, or to make the wrong decision for the right ones? The film’s cast also includes VIFF favourite Suzanne Clément as Guibord’s wife Suzanne, and Paul Doucet as the piano playing Prime Minister of Canada.

"A genuine crowd-pleaser." Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

"A sly comic farce with a great deal to say." Norm Wilner, Now Toronto

The Hidden Fortress

(Kakushi toride no san akunin)
(1958, 139 mins, 35mm)
In Japanese with English subtitles
CAST Toshiro Mifune, Misa Uehara, Minoru Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara, Takashi Shimura
Classification: PG


Dec 12 03:00 pm

See the movie that inspired George Lucas’s original Star Wars. Toshiro Mifune stars as a general charged with guarding his defeated clan’s princess (a fierce Misa Uehara) as the two smuggle royal treasure across hostile territory. Accompanying them are a pair of bumbling, conniving peasants who may or may not be their friends. This rip-roaring ride is among the director’s most beloved films, delivering Kurosawa’s trademark deft blend of wry humor, breathtaking action, and compassionate humanity.

35mm print from Janus Films.

$7 Youth Ticket Available

The Hidden Fortress is one of the best possible gateways into foreign films… almost certainly [Kurosawa’s] most fun." Mike D’Angelo, AV Club

"One of the greatest action-adventure films ever made." David Ehrenstein

"A roaring piece of entertainment, a Western-like samurai adventure set against the chaos of 16th-century Japan." Keith Phipps, The Dissolve

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

(2015, 90 mins, DCP)
FEATURING Jacqueline Bograd Weld, Francine Prose, John Richardson, Nicky Haslam, Edmund White, Calvin Tomkins, Carlo McCormick, Mercedes Ruehl, Diego Cortez.
Classification: 19+


Dec 18 06:40 pm
Dec 21 02:30 pm
Dec 22 03:15 pm
Dec 23 03:30 pm
Dec 30 03:40 pm
Jan 04 12:30 pm

Peggy Guggenheim not only amassed one of the world’s most impressive collections of contemporary art but also came about her reputation as the consummate bohemian honestly through sexual escapades and other behaviour that would never pass muster in polite society.

In her wildly entertaining follow up to Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, Lisa Immordino Vreeland explores how Guggenheim forsook her bourgeois birthright—she was heiress to her New York family’s fortune—in favour of a villa in Venice (where her collection remains enshrined), crashing international art scenes, and discovering the likes of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko in the process.

Drawing from interviews with Guggenheim taped just before she passed away in 1979 and unheard since, testimonials from Marina Abramovic, Robert De Niro and curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and an astonishing archive of gallery-worthy archival photos, Vreeland illustrates the profound importance of patrons and collectors in the art world. In the case of Guggenheim, her benevolence ranged from keeping Pollock afloat during lean times to safeguarding artwork from the Nazis during World War II

“One of the most fascinating art-world characters who wasn’t an artist herself gets her due in [a film] so stuffed with connections and allusions to fabled eras it’s hard to imagine any modern art lover being bored… [With] so many love affairs and ego clashes Art Addict never feels a bit like a history lesson.” John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

"Sleek, entertaining." Daniel Gold, New York Times

"Must-see doc for any art lover… lively and wonderfully immediate in feeling." David Noh, Film Journal

Boy and the World

(O Menino e o Mundo)
(2014, 80 mins, DCP)
Classification: G
Youth tickets (under 19) only $7 to this show


Dec 18 05:00 pm
Dec 19 12:00 pm
Dec 20 05:15 pm
Dec 21 04:30 pm
Dec 22 05:00 pm
Dec 23 05:20 pm
Dec 24 12:15 pm
Dec 26 02:15 pm
Dec 27 02:30 pm
Dec 28 03:30 pm
Dec 29 03:15 pm
Dec 30 02:00 pm
Dec 31 02:30 pm
Jan 02 12:45 pm

An eco-animated gem, this fable about a small boy tracing his missing father’s footsteps from a rural cabin to the big city (and beyond) doesn’t need words to spell out its message about the devastating impact of globalization. But Ale Abreu’s film is much more than a sermon. For a start it is breathtakingly beautiful and inventive example of the animator’s art, a film of kaleidoscopic visual rhapsodies and delightfully curious investigations into shape and colour, transforming both natural and industrial landscapes into dazzling child’s-eye tableaux. It’s also a musical of sorts, propelled by the infectious Brazilian-inflected score by Ruben Feffer and Gustavo Kurlat, based on used scrap material, vocal and body percussion, "so colourfully varied it could by itself put stories in your head." (Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight.)

Winner: Best Feature and Audience Award, Annecy International Animated Film Festival; Best Children’s Feature, Mill Valley Film Festival; Special Jury Award, Shanghai Film Festival; Best Animated Film, Best Children’s Film, Cinema Brazil Awards.

"Crude pencil and crayon drawings that ape the naive art of kindergartners explode into sophisticated riots of color and elaborate fantasy worlds that evoke Joan Miro and Georges Braque… this is an imaginative, artisanal work, blissfully distant in style and sensibility from the computer-animated blockbusters that dominate the market." David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter

"The Boy and the World takes full of advantage of animation’s ability to seamlessly segue from fantasy to reality and back again. It’s on a par with Studio Ghibli in reminding you of the limitless potential of the cartoon, and of its emotional power." Brogan Morris, We Got This Covered

"An enchanting visual treat." Dennis Harvey, Variety

The Fool

(2014, 116 mins, DCP)
In Russian with English subtitles
CAST Nina Antyukhova, Sergey Artsibashev, Pyotr Barancheev
Classification: 19+


Dec 08 08:15 pm
Dec 09 06:30 pm
Dec 10 08:15 pm

Dima is a Russian plumber in an unnamed town who, during a routine inspection, discovers a giant crack in the façade of a squalid apartment building that warehouses 800 people. Armed with only his integrity and what he considers an ordinary person’s concern for human safety, he alerts his bosses and the municipal authorities – who either don’t believe him or don’t want to because making note of the danger will underscore their previous lack of diligence. Saddled with a brow-beaten father, a cynical shrew of a mother and a fearful wife, Dima presses on for an immediate response to a situation that could turn fatal at any moment. But will the victim be the residents of the dangerously unstable building – or Dima himself – as he goes up against a corrupt and arrogant power structure?

“Devastating. Scathing. The Fool is a hard movie to shake.”

Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“MUST-SEE CINEMA. Another thunderous win for Russian cinema… A furiously compelling portrait of a corrupt system and an incredibly compact morality tale.” Nikola Grozdanovic, The Playlist / Indiewire

"Kafka meets The Sopranos as Bykov creates a murky yet absurdist world of deep secrets and unmarked graves, where those who don’t play along can be made to disappear. A forceful Russian drama…a wake-up call of sorts – and one whose relevance needn’t be limited to Russia, either.”

Peter Debruge, Variety

Jafar Panahi's Taxi

(2015, 82 mins, DCP)
In Farsi with English subtitles
CAST Jafar Panahi
Classification: 19+


Dec 08 06:30 pm
Dec 09 08:45 pm
Dec 10 06:30 pm
Dec 12 09:25 pm

Presenting Taxi with the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, Darren Aronofsky stated, "Jafar Panahi created a love letter to cinema. His film is filled with love for his art, his community, his country and his audience.” Such sentiments have not persuaded the authorities in Iran to lift the ban that they imposed on Panahi five years ago, when he was prohibited from filmmaking.

Not that it has stopped him, of course. Rather, it has spurred his creative defiance. This is Not a Film, made in 2011 and shot entirely in his apartment, was an empowering masterpiece about the nature of life and art, and 2013’s Closed Curtain was a sobering confessional about the prohibition of freedom. Continuing with some of the themes that run through those films, Panahi again confronts the limitations imposed on him and transcends them—this time from the confines of a taxicab.

With a small camera on his dashboard (that can swivel around for the purposes of reframing), Panahi stars in the film as himself, disguised as a taxi driver in Tehran. Operating somewhere between documentary and fiction, he picks up passengers in situations that lie ambiguously between the scripted and the naturalistic. Panahi’s warm screen presence guides this playful episodic exercise as a succession of people enter his vehicle and engage in conversation (Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten is a clear influence here), often leading to humorous and self-reflexive scenarios that point to difficult questions of self-expression under an oppressive regime. Underlying Taxi is something optimistic and celebratory: an almost childlike rediscovery of the joy of filmmaking and its cathartic power.

"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…" Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

"This spry, sharp and relentlessly clever middle finger to censorship is Panahi’s boldest act of defiance to date." David Ehrlich, Time Out

"One of the most humane and imaginative practitioners of the art currently working…[has made] one of the most captivating cinematic experiences of this year." AO Scott, New York Times

Heart of a Dog

(2015, 75 mins, DCP)
CAST Laurie Anderson, Lolabelle
Classification: 19+


Dec 11 06:30 pm
Dec 12 05:40 pm
Dec 13 07:50 pm
Dec 14 08:45 pm
Dec 16 06:30 pm
Dec 17 08:40 pm
Dec 31 01:00 pm

There is a ghost presence in this new, funny, sad rumination on life, love and death from artist Laurie Anderson - in fact several. Explicitly, this a film about grieving for Anderson’s beloved (and evidently unusually gifted) dog, Lolabelle. Anyone who has ever had a pet will empathize with her sorrow, and the yearning to memorialize a private, loving, if mute, relationship. Then there are Anderson’s more complex feelings towards her mother, who also passed away during this period. In many ways she seems to have represented everything Anderson wanted to get away from, but as we learn more, we see that even clear-cut emotions carry complicated cross-currents.

And then, finally, there is the ghost of Anderson’s late husband, Lou Reed, who is scarcely mentioned in the text and who only appears once, fleetingly, if you peel your eyes for him. Yet if he’s nowhere to be seen and heard, Reed can be felt in every frame, a dominating absence who casts a tender shadow over these images of friendship, joy, creativity and togetherness. It’s a film of quirky musings, free associations, spirituality and musical mutts, a movie that will delight and amuse but also make you feel less alone in the world.

LAURIE ANDERSON was born in Chicago and studied at Barnard College and Columbia University. An avant-garde performance, multimedia, and recording artist, she has had her work featured at the Guggenheim, MoMA, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. She previously directed the concert film Home of the Brave: A Film by Laurie Anderson (86). Heart of a Dog (15) is her latest feature.

Dreamy, drifty and altogether lovely… It joyfully embraces silliness… at times, it feels as if she too were haunting her movie even as, with every image and word, she fills it with life." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

"Wildly inventive." AO Scott, The New York Times

"A dog is at the heart of this film, but there’s room for all manner of extraordinary insights about finding love and giving love, being canine and being human." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

Sinatra: Pal Joey

(1957, 111 mins, DCP)
CAST Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth, Kim Novak
Classification: G


Dec 14 06:30 pm

Sinatra is at his Frankest as John O’Hara’s womanizing heel, a second rate singer but a first class charmer. Caught between his feelings for a young chorus girl (Kim Novak) and relationship with the wealthy society matron Vera, (Rita Hayworth) who is backing his nightclub, Joey risks losing everything.

With a bumper package of delovely Rodgers and Hart songs (including My Funny Valentine, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, The Lady Is A Tramp, and I Didn’t Know What Time It Was), eye-popping Technicolor and its trio of top stars, this has everything you could hope for in a musical, and more.

Sinatra: From Here to Eternity

(1953, 118 mins, DCP)
CAST Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Warden, Philip Ober
Classification: PG


Dec 13 05:30 pm

James Jones’ autobiographical debut novel about army life at the Schofield Barracks, Oahu, in the run up to the attack on Pearl Harbor became an instant best-seller in 1951. The movie version followed quickly, and went on to win 8 Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Frank Sinatra in his first substantial dramatic role.

Montgomery Clift plays the lead, Private Robert E Lee Prewitt, who runs afoul of his commanding officer (Philip Ober), and is subjected to a sustained campaign of abuse and humiliation. Prewitt’s friend, the rebellious Maggio (Sinatra) also suffers brutal treatment.

Although the movie toned down Jones’ criticism of the military (Pentagon cooperation was key to getting it made), From Here to Eternity still works as a hard-hitting melodrama and serves as a vivid reminder of mid-Twentieth Century Hawaii. It was largely filmed on location, just a little over a decade after Pearl Harbor catapulted the US into WWII.

"[Sinatra’s] fervour, his bitterness had something to do with the character of Maggio, but also with what he had gone through the last number of years. A sense of defeat and the whole world crashing in on him… They all came out in that performance." Burt Lancaster