The French invented the term "film noir" and this adaptation of a slim, forceful novel by Georges Simenon certainly boasts idenfiable noir characteristics: the femme fatale who lures an all-too willing husband away from his marriage bed; the crime of passion and miscarriage of justice that ensue, all unfolding in a slippery mosaic of ambiguous flashbacks. As the title suggests, the dominant colour is blue, not black,and Amalric’s terrific movie shifts between carnal abandon and clinical claustrophobia.
"An elegant psychological freak-out about adultery and other madness, [a] dark, delectable, shivery tale." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"The Blue Room is a story about sexual desire as an overwhelming force, incapable of being ignored or mistaken, and about the ambiguity of almost everything else: memory, language, actions and motives." Stuart Klawans, The Nation
" A great little film… It has a headlong rhythm, skittering between timeframes with the skill of a pianist nailing Prokofiev…. Everything’s told in shards, and Amalric does very well to create a sense of emotional continuum amid all the procedural detail. His own performance is fantastic, jittery and disheveled.” Tim Robey, The Daily Telegraph
A dazzling winter’s tale from an unusually energized Wes Anderson, this is an all-star mittel-European carousel of rampaging passions, class and transgression.
Join us for a screening of this VIFF double prize-winning documentary followed by a panel discussion on food waste and other issues raised in the movie featuring producer Jen Rustemeyer and special guests.
Bud Gordon (Corey Stoll - from House of Cards and Midnight in Paris) once had it all—a nice apartment, fame, public love and admiration—but a quick jab to the chin wiped that slate. Now living in a dingy studio with no business, no fans and no purpose except to help train an up-and-coming boxer. Noah Buschel writes and directs Glass Chin with a distinctive, vibrant style that channels pulp film noir into something both familiar and strange.
"Buschel may be mining classic B-movie territory, but between his script and Stoll’s performance, Glass Chin finds fresh humanity in a seemingly exhausted genre." Peter Debruge, Variety
"Buschel’s micro-noir has a rare and potent sense of menace […] viscerally direct and spontaneous, like that last, swift jab that puts an opponent on the mat." Chris Cabin, Slant
"In a starring turn of suppressed despondence and frustration, the charismatic Stoll makes a strong bid for earning his own shot at superstardom." Nick Schager, Village Voice
Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. You know you need to see this genuine Christmas classic as it was intended to be seen, on the big screen. Jimmy Stewart’s finest hour.
Globe artistic director Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry star in this critically acclaimed and award-winning production of Shakespeare’s comedy of melancholia. An all-male cast replicate the performance norms of Shakespeare’s time. "Pure comic delight!"
Tickets $15 ($13 students/seniors)
"Sensational… Pure comic delight!"
Darius Clark Monroe
How does a 16-year-old evolve into a bank robber?
"Vital, thoughtful, and deeply personal, first-timer Darius Clark Monroe’s autobiographical doc stands as a testament to the power of movies to stir empathy. At age 16, honor-student Monroe had dabbled in employee-theft at the Venture store where he worked after school. Next, restless and foolhardy, he set his criminal sights higher, corralling a couple of friends and busting into a Stafford, Texas, Bank of America. Monroe wore a skeleton mask, one accomplice wielded a sawed-off shotgun, and a couple hours later Monroe’s mother found a shoebox on her bed filled with thirty grand. Monroe’s film is an inquiry into who he was becoming — and who he became during a five-year prison sentence." Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Edward S Curtis
VIFF Vancity Theatre and the Cinematheque join together this weekend to celebrate the centenary of a cinema landmark. In the Land of the Head Hunters was the first feature film made in B.C. and is the oldest extant feature made in Canada. It’s also the first feature made with an entirely indigenous North American cast and arguably the first ever documentary feature. A portrait of the Kwakwaka’wakw (formerly Kwakiutl) people of northern Vancouver Island and the central coast, it was directed by Edward S. Curtis, the renowned American photographer of First Nations life.
Paola Di Florio
Yogananda was the Hindu Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. Paramahansa Yogananda authored the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi,” which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers and yoga enthusiasts today. This unconventional documentary has won critical plaudits everywhere it has screened.
"Fittingly enlightening, Awake: The Life of Yogananda is a vivid, elegantly assembled portrait of the savvy guru with the cherubic face and penetrating gaze who brought meditation to the West." Michael Rechtschaffen, LA Times
"Gentle sitar music, languorous camerawork and soothing narration… This could be a good movie to do yoga by." The New York Times
This riveting crime thriller follows Oscar, a recent emigrant to Manila who gets pulled into a harrowing world of corruption and violence when he takes a job as an armored car driver to support his family. "It begins as a swirling drama of survival in the Filipino capital - but then suddenly it slips off down an alleyway, only to emerge a scrupulously engineered, Christopher Nolan-ish crime thriller." Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph
Winner: Sundance Film Festival’s World Audience Award; Best British Independent film 2013.
"It begins as a swirling drama of survival in the Filipino capital - but then suddenly it slips off down an alleyway, only to emerge a scrupulously engineered, Christopher Nolan-ish crime thriller." Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph
"One of the most enrapturing experiences I’ve had at the movies in 2013: fiercely, grandly humanist, and almost unbearably tragic." MaryAnn Johanson
"The influence of Ken Loach makes way for the dynamics of a Quentin Tarantino-style heist. The result is an expertly crafted heartbreaker that cuts to the core of desperate lives." Allan Hunter, Daily Express
Richard Eyre’s produciton of Verdi’s masterpiece has been one of the most successful opera stagings in the long and celebrated history of the Royal Opera House. We present the original, definitive incarnation of that production, starring the incomparable Renee Fleming as the ill-fated courtesan Violetta, oppose Joseph Calleja as Alfredo and Thomas Hapson as his unyielding father.
If this isn’t quite all you wanted to know about Nick Cave but were afraid to ask, at least it’s all the great Australian singer-songwriter, novelist, screenwriter, actor is ready to share - which is more than enough to be getting on with. It’s part personal inventory, part artistic manifesto, part fantasy, part rock show, and pure Nick Cave.
“Probably best music doc I’ve ever seen… so much more than music. Beautifully made” Wendy Mitchell, Screen International
“Incredible. Puts most music films to shame. So inventive and inspiring.” Dave Calhoun, Time Out
“Probably best music doc I’ve ever seen… so much more than music. Beautifully made” Wendy Mitchell, Screen International
"Revelatory, and wonderful." Stephanie Zacherek, Village Voice
Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men; The Road) may be the hardest boiled writer in contemporary American letters, and James Franco certainly wasn’t making things easy for himself in taking on his third novel, a bleak depiction of a violent social outcast who lurches from disaster to catastrophe.
"The biggest crime story of the century!" That’s how Sam Fuller described WWII, a typically punchy declaration from a guy who knew what he was talking about: Fuller was a tabloid reporter and crime novelist before joining the infantry in time for D-Day. He returned to Hollywood and made noir thrillers (Pickup on South Street; Underworld USA), war pictures (Verboten!; Steel Helmet) and B westerns (40 Guns) with singular conviction. This is his story - as told by his daughter Samantha. Samantha Fuller will join us for a Q&A after this screening.
"If you don’t like Sam Fuller, you just don’t like cinema.” - Martin Scorsese
"Those intrigued by an indelibly influential persona that combined showman-like flamboyance, old-school masculinity and die-hard personal integrity to disarming and intoxicating degrees, will find much to chew on here." Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
Legendary Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer and political dissident Fela Kuti is brought to life in Oscar-winner Alex Gibney’s (Taxi to the Dark Side) stirring evocation of the man and his music. Kuti’s raw charisma, many wives, mesmerizing musical performances and political aspirations and persecution have been covered before, but Gibney’s decision to fold in behind-the-scenes documentation of the 2009 Broadway musical Fela! makes this kaleidoscopic film as protean and rousing as Kuti himself was.
"There’s nothing like seeing Fela himself - blowing his sax, expressing his unbridled sexuality and living a life like no other." New York Daily News
The most radical, underground movie to creep into the mainstream in some time, Jonathan Glazer’s first since Birth might have been called "The Woman Who Fell to Earth". That woman is Scarlett Johansson, simultaneously deglamourized and highly sexualized. In a mesmerically choreographed series of incidents she picks up random men and destroys them. It’s a dispassionate, alien-ated view of sexual attraction and human connection, and unlike anything you have seen before.
"It sure as hell got under mine. Jonathan Glazer’s sci-fi horror is loosely adapted, or atmospherically distilled, by Walter Campbell from the 2000 novel by Michel Faber. The result is visually stunning and deeply disturbing: very freaky, very scary and very erotic." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
A hitman for the Sicilian Mafia, Salvo is solitary, cold and ruthless. When he sneaks into a house on an assignment, he discovers Rita, an innocent young blind girl who must stand by powerlessly while her brother is assassinated. What follows is an intense exchange fueled by adrenaline and fear between the killer and his witness, one that changes their two lives in an instant. The darkness is lifted from Rita’s eyes just as Salvo decides, against his murderous instincts, to spare her life. From then on, both haunted by their brief encounter, these two damaged souls will attempt to navigate their dangerous next steps side by side.
“Moody… fully immersive… effortlessly intense.” Boyd van Hoeij, Variety
"A soulful romance, an existential action flick and something of a miracle movie - the appealing slow-burner "Salvo" hovers at the crossroads of genre." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"A sparse and languid Italian thriller that carries a debt to Melville." David Parkinson, Empire
Arguably the most underrated US movie of the year, the latest from James Gray (Two Lovers) is a romantic epic set in New York in the 1920s. Marion Cotillard is superb as the Polish woman torn between Joaquin Phoenix’s dubious fixer, Bruno, and his cousin, an illusionist (Jeremy Renner).
"The film is earnestly and unabashedly melodramatic to an extent that may baffle audiences accustomed to clever, knowing historical fictions. But it also has a depth and purity of feeling that makes other movies feel timid and small by comparison." AO Scott, The New York Times
"You may often find yourself second-guessing the film, questioning how—and if—it will all come together. But by the time of the intense and impassioned climax, a storm of emotion is ensured: a great movie rising before you like a delusion, like a dream." Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Arguably the most popular building site in the world, the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona is still a work in progress, 125 years after the first stones were laid. Designed by the controversial Catalan genius Antonio Gaudi, the Sagrada is a testament to Faith… Faith in God, in the natural forms that so inspired the architect, and also in man, for Gaudi always knew this work would have to be completed long after his life-time.
"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
Toothy Texan noir (with a tip of the hat to pulp master Jim Thompson), this tale of three teenagers who find themselves on the wrong side of big trouble when a foolish prank backfires announces an exciting new talent (or two) in the Hawkins brothers, who combine an evocative sense of place, a shrewd grasp of character and an unerring eye for suspense.
"A crackling small town thriller that deserves to be sought out." — James Marsh, Twitch
"This juicy tale of a reckless robbery and its spiraling bloody aftermath is enjoyably overripe pulp, steeped in grubby textures and flavorful atmosphere." — David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter