In a vibrantly depicted Havana, 11-year-old Chala industriously cares for carrier pigeons and dogs on his apartment balcony. Trouble is, there’s easy money in dog fighting. The most important champion in his life however is his aging teacher, Carmela (the marvelous Alina Rodríguez), a woman who refuses to let the boy fall between the cracks and endures government reprisals as a result. Director Ernesto Daranas demonstrates equal bravery in confronting Cuba’s social ills.
Society depends on the Internet for nearly everything but rarely do we step back and recognize its endless intricacies and unsettling omnipotence. From the brilliant mind of Werner Herzog comes a playful yet chilling examination of our rapidly interconnecting lives.
Presenting the cream of the crop from this year’s HotDocs Film Festival, VIFF Vancity Theatre is pleased to showcase five of the outstanding documentaries of 2016. Sour Grapes (from Jerry Rothwell, the director of How to Change the World) is one for the connoisseurs, the eye-opening, mouth-watering true crime tale of what happened when oenophilia met high finance in the heady years leading up to the crash of 2008.
Award-winning doc auteur Kevin McMahon travels across the globe to unpack what scientists have discovered about humanity’s impact on the planet. Consulting some of the world’s most prominent thinkers, including physicists, astronauts, anthropologists and geologists, Spaceship Earth is a beautiful, poetic film that offers insight and inspiration into how to change the hearts and minds of every person on this planet.
Nothing can prepare you for the weirdness that is Tickled: when journalist David Farrier stumbles across an online video for "competitive endurance tickling", he knows there must be a story there. But he no idea of where this is going to take him. In fact within five minutes we promise, your mind is going to be boggled, and things will only get curiouser and curiouser…
By what right do humans lord it over the animals? Does animal consciousness rewrite the ethics book when it comes to the way we treat primates? Documentary veterans Chris Hegadus and DA Pennebaker cover the fascinating story of lawyer Steven Wise, who is petitioning the courts to extend human rights to cognitively complex creatures likes chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins and whales. After all, if the Supreme Court believes corporations are persons before the law, shouldn’t our genetic ancestors enjoy a superior claim? It may sound outlandish, but as the film shows, society may be on the brink of a monumental cultural shift…
From cave paintings to virtual reality, Beware of Images embarks on a fascinating journey through the history of mediated representation. Fast-paced and entertaining, this animated documentary aims to inform, while encouraging the audience to examine our relationship with past, present and future media technologies.
Director Sergio Toporek will be present for a Q&A session following both screenings.
Widely disparaged by reviewers on its release (it rates just 39% on the aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes) and a box office failure, Birth is a sorely misunderstood film, and more than that, a surrealist masterpiece. Nicole Kidman plays a young Manhattan widow who is bemused, angered, appalled, and finally captivated and enraptured by the strange courtship of a ten-year-old boy (Vancouver’s Cameron Bright) who claims to be Sean, her late husband.
Copresented by the Lacan Salon and the APW Conference On Love, this screening will include remarks and discussion led by Christine Evans and Ona Nierenberg, PhD.
To celebrate our new Monochrome Mondays summer series, come enjoy a very special evening of rock n roll and rhythm & blues courtesy of the Man in Black, the Big O, Roy Orbison. Orbison would have turned 80 this year, had he lived (he died from a heart attack in 1988 at the age of 52). A year before he passed, he starred in this tribute special, accompanied by an enviable roster of peers and admirers, including Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, kd lang, and Bonnie Raitt.
In this brilliant retake on the Grimm fairytale, Blancanieves (Snow White) escapes her wicked stepmother to become a famous matador. Propelled by the Flamenco rhythms of Alfonso de Villalonga’s score, this is one tribute to silent film that has the verve and passion of a musical.
John Travolta in his greatest role, as sound technician Jack Terry, who accidentally records a fatal car accident, and finds himself embroiled in a murky political conspiracy. The culmination of an unofficial trilogy that starts with Antonioni’s Blow Up and Coppola’s The Conversation, Blow Out is a mesmerizing thriller, De Palma in his prime.
An out of work actor takes to spying on the beautiful woman across the street, but realizes she may be in terrible danger. His efforts to intercede lead him into LA’s porn industry. Tippi Hedron’s daughter, Melanie Griffith, stars. "It’s a mystery, a romance, a horror flick, and a straight-faced parody all rolled into one unique little movie." Scott Weinberg, DVD Clinic
Along with Blow Out this is arguably peak De Palma (he implies as much himself in the new documentary that accompanies this series). A classic gangster film, updated to the disco era of the late 70s (and reuniting the director with his Scarface star, Al Pacino), Carlito’s Way is the tale of a drug kingpin who vows to go straight - and means it. Trouble is, nobody believes him: not his old friends and cronies, not his enemies, not even his best friend and lawyer (Sean Penn).
The biggest hit from the 70s phase of Brian De Palma’s career, Carrie takes Stephen King’s horror novel about a troubled telekinetic teen and weaves it into a purely cinematic rhapsody of angst and (retali-)elation, what Pauline Kael termed "a terrifyingly lyrical thriller". Sissy Spacek is the shy adolescent brought up by an evangelical Christian mother (Piper Laurie - both actresses were nominated for the Oscar), and mortified when she has her first period in the girls’ shower. The incident leads to a cruel prank, which will in turn unleash Carrie’s furious response
The late Andrzej Zulawski’s final film is an ominous and manic exploration of desire. Witold who has just failed the bar, and his companion Fuchs, who has recently quit his fashion job, are staying at a guesthouse run by the intermittently paralytic Madame Woytis. Upon discovering a sparrow hanged in the woods near the house, Witold’s reality mutates into a whirlwind of tension, histrionics, foreboding omens, and surrealistic logic as he becomes obsessed with Madame Woytis’s daughter Lena. Best Director, Locarno Film Festival 2015
The most heart-warming sports underdog movie of the year also happens to be a true story: how a poor mining community in Wales came together to sponsor a race horse, Dream Alliance, only to find themselves with a champion on their hands…. "Unforgettable." Daily Telegraph. Winner: Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival
95% Fresh, Rotten Tomatoes
In this candid, compelling, often very funny interview conducted by fellow filmmakers Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow, Brian De Palma talks us through his long rollercoaster career, and talks illuminatingly about the nexus of cinephilia, voyeurism, politics, Hitchcock and Hollywood that have produced such a flamboyantly personal yet commercial body of work. "A cinephile’s nirvana." The Guardian
3-ticket pack available for De Palma series
With a career that spans over 25 years, Rachel Talalay’s TV directing credits include Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, and Doctor Who. In 2014, Rachel became the first American and seventh woman to direct Doctor Who and was responsible for the last two season finales. This year, she became the first female director of the hit BBC series Sherlock, directing the first episode of the forthcoming fourth season. Rachel is also known for the cult classics Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Tank Girl. Her latest film is On The Farm. Join us for a fascinating Master Class with Rachel on July 9th as she dives into the experiences from her diverse and remarkable career.
Manhattan therapist Dr Robert Elliott (Michael Caine) faces true horror when a psychotic killer begins attacking the women in his life (Angie Dickinson; Nancy Allen) with a straight razor stolen from his office. Desperate to find the murderer before anyone else is hurt, Elliott is drawn into a dark and disturbing world. And as the doctor edges closer to the terrible truth he is in danger of losing himself in a labyrinth of obsession, deviance and desire.
Academy Award nominee: Best Foreign Language Film, Guerra’s film is a bewitching Amazonian odyssey inspired by two historical forays deep into the jungle by European anthropologists. Filmed in stunning black and white, this is a potent, poetic, political film reminiscent of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre.