Over the past two decades, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Doug Block has supported his career with a side business of videotaping weddings. Long curious about how their marriages have turned out, he tracks down and interviews some of the more memorable of his 112 wedding couples - with funny, insightful and moving results.
"Quirky, entertaining, and heartwarming."—Toronto Film Scene
"Simple in execution, but unmistakably rich in dialogue of the complexities of married life, Doug Block has lensed a wonderfully playful, startlingly tragic film that will surely move anyone who’s ever been in love and question anyone considering marriage themselves."—Jordan M Smith, Ion cinema
"Block finds the extraordinary in the patient observation of everyday life."—Michel Gondry
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival kicks off its 26th season on August 14-24. The festival features more than 80 films at various downtown locations showcasing queer stories from 11 countries, including offerings from Russia, Brazil, and the Philippines, presenting themes of gender identity, forbidden love, and culture. Tickets and festival schedule are available July 24th online and at Little Sister’s bookstore (1238 Davie Street, Vancouver).
Don José (Jonas Kaufmann) is a young soldier in the army in Seville. He intends to marry Micaëla, a girl from his home village, but when he meets the sensual and high-spirited Carmen (Anna Caterina Antonacci), his head is soon turned…Spanish heat and gypsy passion are brought to the stage in Francesca Zambello’s vivid production of Bizet’s famous opera.
Sung in French with English subtitles
Acts One and Two will last for about 1 hour 50 minutes, followed by a 15 minute interval. Act Three will last for about 1 hour 5 mins.
Imagine Luis Bunuel’s Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie crossed with Shane Carruth’s Primer and Lars von Trier’s Melancholia... Or just imagine a dinner party with friends, a dinner party that starts out quite normally, but which takes a dramatic turn towards the surreal when the power goes out – apparently connected to the proximity of a passing comet. Two guests venture out to the one house in the vicinity which mysteriously still has power. Before the night is done everyone present will have to rethink what they’re doing there, their longest and most intimate relationships, and indeed, who they really think they are…
"You walk away from it with your brain on fire."—Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
"The result is an uncommonly clever genre movie, reliant not on special effects—of which there are basically none—but on heavy doses of paranoia."—AA Dowd, AV Club
"No budget filmmaking at its most delectably inventive."—Mike D’Angelo, The Dissolve
Why does the law bestow on private corporations the rights of individuals citizen, but few of the responsibilities? Since its supremely successful release in 2002 this homegrown documentary has only (and sadly) grown more timely. Screening here in a newly revised 2 hour cut specifically aimed at educational distribution networks.
"A cogent, compelling, powerful argument, and a terrific movie."—Glenn Kenny, Premiere
Kasper Holten, ROH Director of Opera, presents a mesmerizing new production of Mozart’s sublime tragicomedy. The impulsive and charismatic Don Giovanni travels through Europe seducing women, accompanied by his long-suffering servant Leporello. When he commits murder, he unleashes vengeance from beyond the grave.
Jesse Eisenberg take 2: here he’s timid office worker Simon James, a non-person to most, including the lovely Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), a co-worker who is also the apple of his eye. Enter charismatic young hotshot James Simon (Eisenberg again). No one seems to notice he’s the spitting image of Simon, and though at first he feigns a certain friendliness to his near-namesake, it’s not long before the new man has begun to take over his job, his apartment, his girl, his entire life... Richard Aoyade’s Dostoevsky adaptation riffs on Kafka, Welles and Gilliam to chillingly hilarious effect.
"As a pure head-trip visual and auditory experience it feels like one of the biggest discoveries, and biggest surprises, of 2014."—Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
"Daring, hilarious and wickedly clever."—The Playist (Indiewire)
Taking his cues from Mozart and Metallica, Daniel Dencik gives us a berth on a three-masted schooner exploring Greenland’s icy northeast coast. On board, a motley crew of artists, photographers, geologists, archaeologists, biologists and mariners. The vistas are stunning, and inspire contemplation of the Big Questions - if they don’t get eaten by Polar bears first ...
“A sublimely idiosyncratic odyssey. While the scientists unearth fascinating details of a lost world, the artists in the group mull over the cosmic, and existential, implications, lending the voyage a Beckett-like sense of the absurd ... But even if the film were silent, its eerie landscapes are so breathtaking, and serenely composed, that we’d still be entranced.”—Brian D. Johnson, Maclean's
"With a mood and setting worthy of a murder story by Jack London, this audience-friendly, atmospheric work could be remade as a thriller, although that’s really what it is already."—John Anderson, Variety
This extraordinary documentary - one of the most popular films at VIFF last year - shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the life story of the late Vivian Maier, a career nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most accomplished and insightful street photographers.
"Compelling... haunting... captivating." — Variety
"Poignant, informative, occasionally disturbing." — Globe and Mail
For his first North American movie the acclaimed French filmmaker Laurent Cantet (The Class; Time Out) came to Canada to film Joyce Carol Oates’ novel about a girl gang in the 1950s. Inspired by their leader, "Legs", the gang fights back against disciplinarian school masters, abusive employers, predatory males and neglectful parents — eventually establishing their own quasi-"collective". "A frequently thrilling evocation of teen lives." Empire
"A frequently thrilling evocation of teen lives. Proof that The Class and Time Out were no pan flashes. 4/5"—Angie Errigo, Empire
"Impressively directed and superbly written, this is a riveting and emotionally engaging drama with some thought-provoking ideas and terrific performances from its young cast of unknowns. Highly recommended."—Matt Turner, View
"As beautiful as it is surprising, Cantet’s Foxfire girls appear like the ancestors of Pussy Riot."—Les Inrockuptibles
Polish-born, UK-based filmmaker Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love) returns to his native land for this evocative, resonant art film about a novice nun discovering a family secret in the 1960s. Beautifully shot in black and white, this award-winning drama has been compared to the work of Francois Truffaut and Robert Bresson.
"In a very short time, Pawlikowski’s film tells us a powerful, poignant story with fine, intelligent performances." — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"This story of faith and despair is gracefully told, its simple, uncluttered spaces and luminous black-and-white photography harking back to Robert Bresson."— JR Jones, Chicago Reader
"It’s absolutely stunning, one of the year’s best films, and a fulfillment of the promise that the director has shown for so long." — Oli Lyttleton, Indiewire
A lost key and an accidental touch of cold hands in the dark – so begins one of the great romances of all opera. In his depiction of the tender and ultimately tragic love between Mimì and Rodolfo, Puccini achieved an immediacy, warmth and humanity that have rarely been equalled.
Two couples are devastated to learn that their children were swapped at birth six years ago. Are blood ties thicker than the bond of child rearing? This masterly, very moving drama won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Audience Award at last year’s VIFF.
"Sublimely moving."—Maggie Lee, Variety
’Powered by Kore-eda’s innate restraint and natural empathy, Like Father, Like Son takes these characters to places they never expected to be. It’s unnerving for them, of course, but watching so many hearts hanging in the balance is a rare privilege for us."—Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"Kore-eda has crafted a piercing, tender poem about the bittersweet ebb and flow of paternal love, and his status as Ozu’s heir becomes ever more assured."—Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.
"A thoroughly compelling political thriller, at once intellectually challenging and profoundly emotional."—Claudia Puig, USA Today
"The Lives of Others is a supremely intelligent, unfailingly honest look at a shadowy period in recent German history."—AO Scott, New York Times
Puccini’s first triumph returns to Covent Garden for the first time in 20 years in a new staging by Jonathan Kent. The exciting Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais sings the title role. A consummate Puccini soprano, Opolais caused a sensation as Madama Butterfly in 2011, and with Manon Lescaut, the bold but impressionable heroine, we will see a very different side of her. She is matched in star power by Jonas Kaufmann as her lover, Des Grieux, and Christopher Maltman as her cynical brother Lescaut. Kent’s vision of a young girl who faces temptation in the big city will surely resonate with today’s audience.
Daniele Abbado explores themes of identity, exile and religion in a powerful staging of Verdi’s epic opera. War has broken out between the Babylonians and Israelites. The Israelites have captured Fenena, younger daughter of the Babylonian King, Nabucco. In revenge, Nabucco vows to destroy Jerusalem, aided by the vengeful Abigaille.
“Domingo’s career, 42 years at Covent Garden and counting, continues to be a wonder of the age.” The Guardian
Jonathan Demme returns to his favourite subject - Neil Young - for their third collaboration in six years. This is an intimate and intense account of Young returning to his homeland and performing a couple of blistering shows at Massey Hall in the spring of 2011.
"Shooting a couple of rapturously received gigs performed by a band-less Young at Toronto’s historic Massey Hall in May, 2011, Demme not only had his camera crew get up the singer’s nose (literally), he affixed small stationary cameras inside a piano, on the microphone stand and elsewhere to capture his subject’s every grimace, gliss of sweat and fleck of spittle ... At film’s end, one is left in awe at the richness of Young’s oeuvre (which admittedly sometimes makes Bob Dylan’s seem like tidings of great joy), his stamina and his questing spirit." — James Adams, Globe and Mail
"A feast for Neil Young lovers and initiates alike." — Peter Rainier, Christian Sience Monitor
Three activists (Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard) plan to blow up a hydro-electric dam in Oregon in this taut, gripping thriller from the director of Wendy and Lucy. Tapping into familiar environmental concerns and asking pressing questions about next steps, Reichardt has crafted a timely, provocative drama which stays with you long after the fade out.
"Night Moves is a film of deliberate, gnawing intensity and focus."—Scott Tobias, The Dissolve
"Sharp and haunting."—AO Scott, New York Times
In the northern Philippine province of Luzon, a law-school dropout commits a horrific double murder; a gentle family man takes the fall and receives a life sentence, leaving behind a wife and two kids. A careful rethinking of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment shot in blazing color, this tour de force offers a masterful recapitulation of Diaz’s longstanding obsessions: cultural memory, national guilt, and the origin of evil. "A masterpiece. An astonishing work of life, death and art."—Wesley Morris
"Its very existence is an exhilarating triumph over complacency... there is an almost inexhaustible humanism at the heart of this remarkable film."—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“The lights came up, I stood with tears in my eyes, and clapped as loudly as I ever have for any movie in my life.”—Wesley Morris, Grantland
“A mesmerising experience that grows deeper and broader the longer it goes on”—Kieran Corless, Sight and Sound
Loosely based on a real incident involving a Cistercian order of monks kidnapped by Islamic fundamentalists in Algeria, Beauvois’s film is an austere but gripping meditation on faith and fraternity.
"Of Gods and Men, a transcendent drama of uplift and inspiration, reveals the cavernous divide between heaven and Earth."—Peter Howell, Globe and Mail
"Beautiful, somber and rigorously intelligent."—AO Scott, New York Times