Lisa Immordino Vreeland
Both a tribute to one of the twentieth century’s most extravagant and influential personalities, and simultaneously a chronicle of the impact of fashion in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, this portrait of the irrepressible editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar is an eye-opener, just like its subject.
"Makes a compelling case for the late Diana Vreeland as the 20th century’s pre-eminent tastemaker, not to mention one of its most extravagant personalities." Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"4 out of 5… Captivating… Insightful." Carolyne Zinko, San Francisco Chronicle
* VIFC Guest + Volunteer Passes are not valid for Best Of Hot Docs Series
In 1968, homosexuality was illegal in NYC. Gay bars were dark, dirty, dangerous and mostly controlled by the syndicate. But then along came Steve Ostrow, opera singer and entrepreneur, with a grand vision. From the minute Ostrow opened the elegant Continental Bath and Health Club in the legendary Ansonia Hotel, it was a beacon for the hip, the beautiful and the infamous. With a cabaret stage featuring red hot performers like Bette Midler and Labelle, straight high society, celebs and hunky men in towels jammed into the same room, bringing gays into the open and ultimately playing a critical role in overturning anti-gay laws.
"Documentary gold. 4 stars." Glenn Sumi, Now magazine
"Intimate and fascinating… a slice of social and pop history that demands to be consumed." David Voigt, Examiner
"It’s a great story made even greater by Malcolm Ingram’s first-rate feature." Greg Klymkiw.
Six year old Olo is sent away from Tibet to India by his mother so he can get an education. Now a student at the famed Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala (founded by Jetsun Pema, sister of the Dalai Lama), he has to make his way in a world quite different from his own. Director Hisaya Iwasa takes a creative and intimate approach to telling this true story.
For over forty years, America’s "War on Drugs" has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world’s largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs in America are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. Perhaps it’s time to call a ceasefire?
"Searing… One of the most important pieces of non-fiction to hit the screen in years." LA Times
"Fearless… A model of the ambitious, vitalizing activist work that exists to stir the sleeping to wake." New York Times
In this rarely screened masterpiece from cult director Jim Jarmusch, Johnny Depp plays a 19th century greenhorn - an accountant named William Blake - who heads west to the town of Machine. His prospects take a dark turn when a love triangle ends in double murder and Blake finds himself a wanted man, on the run, until a mysterious stranger by the name of Nobody (Gary Farmer) takes him under his wing. His journey takes him from civilization as he knows it to a nebulous realm of Native American spirit, and reality seems to slip away.
"Jarmusch’s most stunning achievement." Slant
"With the passing of time, this movie will settle in and find a place as a cinema classic." Jeffery M Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
Jean Pierre Jeunet, the wizard who gave us Amelie and Delicatessen conjures another buoyant medley of slapstick, whimsy and satire in this infinitely inventive contemporary fantasy. Dany Boon is the Chaplinesque hero with a bullet in his brain who falls in with a band of urban outsiders and takes revenge on the weapons manufacturers who put it there.
"A fun-house of mirrors that is lovely to get lost in." Betsy Sharkey, LA Times
"Micmacs is like a Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd movie where everybody is Buster or Harold, yet they all work in harmony." Peter Howell, Toronto Star
Master director Jia Zhangke’s most popular film yet, this Cannes prize-winning drama shows China’s gangsters, massage parlours, vicious bosses and desperate workers drawn into a whirlwind of violence, passion and vengeance. This brilliantly achieved film is a vital state-of-China bulletin, torn straight from today’s bloody headlines.
"A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, "A Touch of Sin" is at once monumental and human scale." Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"A bold, invigorating statement from a director who keeps reinventing himself." Scott Tobias, The Dissolve
"Intensely, consistently gripping." AA Dowd, AV Club
Bobbi Jo Hart
With astonishing prescience (or luck) Bobbi Jo Hart started following aspiring pianist Marika Bournaki from the age of 12. She was already a prodigy, but over the course of a decade Hart was able capture her development as an artist (she has played Carnegie Hall several times) and as a person - as well as the toll her discipline took on her childhood and her family.
"A fascinating exercise… classical music abounds - Schumann, Rachmininoff, Bach - and it’s an aural delight." 3 stars Rick Groen, Globe & Mail
The latest in our irregular series of archival shows throws a well-earned spotlight on the late Phil Keatley, whose long career at the CBC ranged from the 1950s to the 70s. Keatley is probably best known for his work as a producer on The Beachcombers, but here we look back further, to three black and white dramas he produced in BC between 1958 and 1967.
Two women from opposite sides of Hitler’s Third Reich meet in Toronto, years after the Second World War–Mania, orphaned by the regime, and Johanna, possibly the Nazi guard who protected her. Weaving together their stories, this powerful documentary intimately explores their war experiences and witnesses their reunion more than half a century later.
Released just a few months after Octopussy, this Thunderball remake was produced by a rival team who managed to entice Sean Connery back into his most famous role (hence the ironic title). Notable for superior super villains Max von Sydow, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Barbara Carrera.
"The classiest of all the Bonds." Jay Scott, Globe & Mail
The Golden Lion winner at last year’s Venice Film Festival, this is a controversial and intense drama about a tough, brutal loan shark redeemed by the unqualified love of a woman claiming to be his long-lost mother. Violent and provocative, Pieta is nothing if not extreme, a movie reveling in almost absurdist dichotomies of good and evil. But if you can stomach the challenging first hour, the pay off tells us something unexpectedly poetic and moving about the relative value of money and compassion in today’s capitalist society.
"A master provocateur playing out his own neuroses and obsessions on the big screen…Like Lars Von Trier, his films don’t always work. But when they do … well, when they do Kim is capable of creating work that disturbs and troubles and finds beauty in unexpected places. This is one of those films." Todd Brown, Twitch
"The worst major festival winner since the Palme d’Or for Amour." Christoph Huber, Cinema Scope
"Pieta," a curiously engaging and wickedly twisted tale of crime and punishment on multiple levels, displays its theatrical minimalism like a dour badge of honor. " Eric Kohn, Indiewire
The latest from master director Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy; Close Up; A Taste of Cherry) is a strange, seductive and beguiling love story set in modern Tokyo. Akiko is a beautiful student who moonlights as a prostitute, unbeknownst to her boyfriend. A liaison with an elderly academic brings all manner of complication to all their lives…
"Every shot — everything you see, and everything you don’t — imparts a disturbing and thrilling sense of discovery." AO Scott, New York Times
"A sly, teasing riff on the heart’s irrational stirrings… You emerge elated and slightly dazed…. But the movie’s sense of immutable desire resonates well after the lights have come up." Scott Foundas, Village Voice
Special Panel Discussion will follow the screening with Director Doug Blush (via skype) and in person, Heather Stewart, MDABC Speakers Bureau and Chris Gorman, President of the BC Psychiatric Association Executive and host of radio show about mental health called Beautiful Minds
Eschewing medical explanations and expert opinions, “Of Two Minds” examines the experience of bipolar disorder through firsthand testimony from three people coping with it in varying ways. Following these individuals over a three-year period, helmers Doug Blush and Lisa Klein create three intertwined narratives with additional interwoven strands, tracing fascinating processes of adaptation.
"Intelligent, compassionate." Variety
It’s no secret: the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are working harder, longer hours for less reward (that is, if we’re lucky enough to be in work). Economist Robert Reich (President’s Clinton’s Secretary of Labor) explains why the free market is a misnomer, how late capitalism has jumped the tracks, and what we should do about it in this passionate, lucid and compelling state of the nation address.
"Smart, funny and articulate, Robert Reich is the university professor we all wish we’d had. He’s so accessible and entertaining he takes a subject that sounds soporific and makes it come alive like you wouldn’t believe in ’Inequality for All.’" Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"An often essential primer." Sam Adams, Time Out New York
In 60s Australia, John Grant (Gary Bond), is an Education Department bonded teacher at a tiny outback school. Making his way to Sydney for the holidays, John takes the train but stops overnight in Bundayabba.
Drawn into the ’Yabba’s’ culture of drinking and gambling, he becomes embroiled in the locals’ insular and threatening world.
""Wake in Fright" is a film made in Australia in 1971 and almost lost forever. It’s not dated. It is powerful, genuinely shocking and rather amazing. It comes billed as a "horror film" and contains a great deal of horror, but all of the horror is human and brutally realistic."
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Combining elements of Heart of Darkness, After Hours, and Groundhog Day, Ted Kotcheff’s brutally brilliant Outback thriller follows the moral degradation, or perhaps redemption, of a snooty schoolteacher (Gary Bond) traveling from the backwater where he’s assigned to Sydney for his Christmas vacation. But along the way he gets stranded in "the city," Bundanyabba, where he loses his money in a backroom game of chance and must rely on the contemptuous hospitality of the local yokels […]Kotcheff’s masterpiece (he later did First Blood), it orchestrates landscape, music, demonic faces, and lots of blood, sweat, and vomit into a stark bacchanalia of men having fun." Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix
Based on Arthur C Clarke’s short story ‘The Sentinel’, 2001: A Space Odyssey redefined the sci-fi genre. With its radical structure (a single cut elides 4 million years), scant dialogue and oblique narrative this was the first movie to emulate the philosophical seriousness of writers like Clarke and Philip K Dick, and the first to see that special effects could become an integral component in the art-form.
Yes, your parents almost certainly did have a sex life. But don’t worry kids, more than likely you put a stop to it! This smart, sassy Canadian comedy scoots through half a dozen relationships buckling under the strain of reconciling child rearing and sexual satisfaction. Parents of all shapes and sizes will surely relate.
This mixed martial arts drama packs a real dramatic punch thanks to director Dante Lam’s sophisticated filmmaking and a powerhouse performance from star Nick Cheung.
"The storytelling artistry of Hong Kong helmer Dante Lam and Nick Cheung’s powerhouse performance make a raw and compelling experience out of this action-drama set in the world of mixed martial arts. While Lam never loses his grip on the action, he also beautifully modulates his characters’ turbulent ups and downs like musical movements, expressing the protagonist’s motto that fighting is all about setting your own rhythm." Maggie Lee, Variety