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.
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.
During the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, Canadian-born cinematographer Alex Phillips (Ontario, 1900) and Spanish-born film director Luis Buñuel (Aragón, 1900), became symbols for Mexican cinema. They worked together twice: on Ascent to Heaven (1952, screens at 6.30pm) and Robinson Crusoe (1954, 8.15pm).
Tickets for this co-presentation are available exclusively through www.vlaff.org and on the door. Vancity Theatre memberships do apply.