A man (played by avant garde filmmaker James Benning), father of two sons by two wives, calls his fractured family to his disheveled home. He informs them of his state of health, and requests their help in committing suicide. The film reveals the impact on the family as they confront their father/husband. The means by which this evoked is visual and poetic, expressed tonally rather than as plot.
American filmmaker Jon Jost is an uncompromising artist whose work stands apart not only from the Hollywood mainstream, but also from the off-Hollywood pseudo-independent sector. Jost has been remarkably prolific since switching from 35mm film to digital video in the late 90s - his website lists 20 feature length works in as many years. Distribution of this late work has been piecemeal at best, but judging by the two films we are screening this evening it deserves to be widely seen, enjoyed, and discussed. Both are narrative features, and even if Jost employs very different storytelling strategies from those we are used to these remain direct, accessible portraits of the emotional landscape in the American heartlands, distilled and dissected with singular clarity and insight. We are delighted to welcome Jon Jost to VIFF Vancity Theatre for these shows and acknowledge the support of Cineworks.
In the tradition of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, and The Grandmaster, The Assassin is a martial arts movie recalibrated as an exquisite work of art. It is the Tang Dynasty: 10-year-old Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts. One day, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised. "Heart-stoppingly beautiful." Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph
The night of September 26, 2014, in the city of Iguala, Guerrero, in Mexico, more the 100 young students were attacked by police forces, resulting in 3 students dying, more then 20 injured, and 43 kidnapped by the police. The Mexican military is also implicated in this crime. In their testimony two student survivors of the Iguala massacre reconstruct the climate of impunity, corruption, and criminality that exists, not only in the state of Guerrero but in the entire country. Copresented with Solidaridad con Ayotzinpa Vancouver/Vancouver Solidarity with Ayotzinapa
Are 4 wheels better than 2? Director Fredrik Gertten (Big Boys Gone Bananas!*) investigates the daily drama of traffic worldwide and the bicycle as a tool for change. Travelling from São Paulo, Los Angeles and Toronto, where cyclists fight daily for their right to the road, to Copenhagen, where forty percent of the population commutes by bike, Gertten meets activists and thinkers who are working for revolutionary changes. Bikes vs Cars is an intimate and powerful look at how to move away from car-centric models and toward livable cities.
"Like Breaking Bad in real life," (Newsweek), Cartel Land plunges us into the heart of darkness, the front lines of Mexico’s narco wars, where the Knights Templar wreak havoc on anyone who opposes them, and into Arizona’s "Cocaine Alley", where paramilitaries vainly attempt to bolster the border patrols.
An elderly folk singer and grassroots organizer, dubbed the “people’s poet,” is arrested on a trumped-up charge of inciting a sewage worker to commit suicide. His trial is a ridiculous and harrowing display of institutional incompetence, with endless procedural delays, coached witnesses for the prosecution, and obsessive privileging of arcane colonial law over reason and mercy.
It’s not a plant, not a fungi, and not an animal. It has no brain… yet it’s alive, it feeds, makes decisions, and it moves. Welcome to the world of slime mold, a single cell substance so strange scientists speculate it may be a visitor from outer space! "Imagine if Stanley Kubrick and Douglas Trumbull were tasked with making a 1970s educational science film about the pods from Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers and you’re some way to understanding The Creeping Garden." James Marsh, Twitch
A documentary about two unlikely friends - a convicted murderer and a young, Canadian filmmaker. David McCallum is 29 years into a life sentence. Despite a mountain of evidence that should exonerate David, or at least grant him a new trial, filmmaker Ray Klonsky and a pro-bono team, led by the late Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, are stymied by a justice system that is not designed to free the wrongly convicted. When news of a DNA match that fingers a new suspect surfaces, the team thinks justice will finally be served, but they learn that the fight is by no means over. 'David & Me' is a life-affirming film about endurance, courage and the potential for love and interconnectedness between human beings.
David McCallum will be our guest at this screening.
Decades before the cinema was invented, Eadweard Muybridge became obsessed with capturing motion on film. His studies of horses at gallop were a sensation in their day. He was a pioneer in the field of photography, an innovator, equal parts scientist and artist - but he was also a strange and obsessive personality, whose rocky personal life descended into equally sensational melodrama. The directorial debut of BC’s Kyle Rideout, Eadweard is a massively ambitious and highly compelling feature film.
A fever dream within a dream, the latest transmission from celluloid fetishist Guy Maddin is part campy, whacked out tribute to vintage Hollywood melodrama, part anguished crypto-confessional, and all brilliant: a passionate, virtuoso pastiche that is also perversely original and sui generis. It’s the perfect date movie for film lovers - and replete with bathing tips!
An essay-performance and screening by Jem Noble, featuring artist-edits of Ghosts of the Civil Dead (John Hillcoat) and They Live (John Carpenter).
The full length version of Ghosts of the Civil Dead will screen after Noble’s presentation; They Live screens Oct 31.
Long in rights limbo (and never issued on bluray), GHOSTS… Of The Civil Dead is a near legendary Australian prison drama co-written and starring Nick Cave, and the feature debut of director John Hillcoat (The Road; The Proposition). Hard-hitting doesn’t begin to do it justice, this is an intense, scary, provocative film, but one that seems more relevant than ever judging by the mini-industry in prison-building that has taken over North America in the interim.
Valorized with great skill and insight by John Vaillant in his Governor General’s Award–winning book The Golden Spruce, Grant Hadwin’s journey from logging scout to eco-terrorist now becomes a powerful non-fiction film. Artfully reconstructing a life in the wilderness, Sasha Snow reminds us how much is at stake here, in our own backyard, and give a fair-minded account of a highly contentious individual.
When a homicide detective makes the fateful decision to cover up a hit-and-run accident which kills a man, he invites karmic retribution on a grand scale in this wickedly ingenious suspense thriller.
“A masterclass in throat-squeezing, stomach-knotting suspense loaded with smart plot twists, dark humor and high-gloss visuals." Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter
An artist talk by filmmaker / media artist / activist Jason DaSilva. Mr. Da Silva is the director of t
Young urchin Almitra becomes fascinated with the political prisoner, a poet named Mustafa, who has been kept in house arrest for nearly a decade, and for whom her mother Kamila cleans and cooks. Mustafa spins wonderful stories which make his confinement seem like privilege, at least to the mute Almitra. But when freedom seems closest she gains knowledge of just how precious, and fragile, it really is… A passion project from producer Salma Hayek, this is surely one of the most ambitious and visually stunning animated features targeted at an all-ages family audience, calling on the talents of some of the greatest animators working in film today.
The most electrifying and influential American actor of the Twentieth Century, Marlon Brando never wrote an autobiography, but he recorded a vast archive of tapes: memories, ruminations, philosophy and personal observations, which have never been made public - until now.
"Listen to Me Marlon is the greatest, most searching documentary of an actor ever put on film, and it’s no coincidence that it’s about film’s greatest and most searching actor." David Edelstein, New York Magazine
"Feed me!" Levi Stubbs from the Four Tops provides the vocal chords for Audrey, a personable plant with vampiric tendencies in this irrepressibly dark but gleefully funny musical comedy. Steve Martin has a show-stopping turn as a sadistic dentist, but even he is upstaged by Bill Murray’s masochistic patient - while Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene are unexpectedly, genuinely, touching as the lovers caught up in mayhem. Showing here in both the darker, Director’s Cut (late show, 19+ only) and the original PG 13 theatrical release (Saturday matinee).
This satisfying, ingenious mystery thriller finds unexpected new notes in some old tunes. Aki (Ayako Fujitani) is a conflicted Japanese crime novelist who flees a press junket in Tokyo and hops a flight to San Francisco. She meets a handsome young man in the hotel bar, but his susden disappearance propels her into a noir-tinged murder mystery worthy of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.