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Adam (Richard E Grant) is a rich industrialist, who aspires to a more cultured world. Spurred on by playful jibes that he’s little more than a city suit living the capitalist’s dream, this frustrated amateur opera singer decides to throw an opera in his lavish country retreat. Once his friends see him belting out the notes, he feels sure it will spell the end to their shallow taunts. In fact, it might even help him win the hand of a female conductor he’s been pursuing whom, it just so happens, is the first to be recruited for his showpiece.

SPARK FX

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.

"[A] rigorous and moving work of art." - A. O. Scott, New York Times

7 Up turns 8. That is, Michael Apted’s famous life-long chronicle - which began nearly 50 years ago, when the documentary subjects were just 7 years old - is back for its eighth seven-year check up. The results promise to be as fascinating as always, as the 56-year-olds reflect on life’s ups and downs, what is most precious to them, and their mixed feelings about the series itself.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Probably the most radical and powerful film you will experience this year, The Act of Killing is a searing expose of political amnesia and impunity in Indonesia, where the gangsters and thugs behind the murders of millions are celebrated as champions of free enterprise. It is also a surreal, provocative exploration of the psyches of these men - killers who proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera, willing collaborators in their own cinematic bonfire of the vanities.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Probably the most radical and powerful film you will experience this year, The Act of Killing is a searing expose of political amnesia and impunity in Indonesia, where the gangsters and thugs behind the murders of millions are celebrated as champions of free enterprise. It is also a surreal, provocative exploration of the psyches of these men - killers who proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera, willing collaborators in their own cinematic bonfire of the vanities.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Probably the most radical and powerful film you will experience this year, The Act of Killing is a searing expose of political amnesia and impunity in Indonesia, where the gangsters and thugs behind the murders of millions are celebrated as champions of free enterprise. It is also a surreal, provocative exploration of the psyches of these men - killers who proudly re-enact their atrocities for the camera, willing collaborators in their own cinematic bonfire of the vanities.

"I have not seen a film as surreal, and frightening in at least a decade… Unprecedented in the history of cinema." Werner Herzog

Vancity Theatre Screening

After Tiller intimately explores the highly controversial subject of third-trimester abortions in the wake of the 2009 assassination of practitioner Dr. George Tiller. The procedure is now performed by only four doctors in the United States, all former colleagues of Dr. Tiller, who risk their lives every day in the name of their unwavering commitment toward their patients. An informative, thought-provoking, and compassionate look at an incendiary topic.

Vancity Theatre Screening

A masterpiece of the Hollywood musical tradition, An American in Paris truly shines, remaining as fresh and exciting today as it was in 1951. Gene Kelly stars as Jerry Mulligan, an American expat trying to succeed as a painter in Paris. George and ira Gershwin provide the songs, and Minnelli pulls out all the stops for the climactic ballet against a series of Impressionist backdrops.

"Minnelli’s Technicolor musical, re-released in a gorgeous restoration, is fresher than ever." Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent

"Full of light and movement. Nothing of its kind from Hollywood had quite possessed its class, sense of style, and chic." Clive Herschhorn, The Hollywood Musical

(Legend of the Black Scorpion)
Vancouver Opera Presents

Composer Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) contributes a lovely score to this visually dazzling Tang dynasty court intrigue starring Zhang Ziyi and Ge You (Farewell My Concubine). Mixing extraordinary pageantry with passionate, balletic martial arts sequences choreographed by the great Yuen Wo-ping, The Banquet is a sexed up Hamlet, a thrilling aesthetic experience in the tradition of Hero and House of the Flying Daggers.

"Highly entertaining costume melodrama on a magnificent canvas." Sean Axmaker, MSN

"Stunningly beautiful." Philip French, The Observer

"As eye-opening as it is thought-provoking… Brings new life to a classic… A true work of art." Bill Gibron, Pop Matters

Vancity Theatre Screening

A new female doctor arrives at a provincial hospital in what is still East Germany. Barbara (Petzold’s regular star, Nina Hoss) is a transfer from Berlin, and immediately strikes her colleagues as distant and aloof. But there are reasons, as they suspect. Her small apartment is regularly searched, meanwhile her preference for cycling to and from work seems designed to make it more difficult for the Stasi to keep an eye on her…

"It’s one terrific film, as smart, thoughtful and emotionally involving as just about anything that’s out there." Kenneth Turan, LA Times

"Petzold handles personal, formal, and political concerns in such perfect balance, it’s difficult, and not especially desirable, to separate one from the next. The movie is dense but never feels it, assembled with easy mastery and engrossing throughout." Sam Adams, AV Club

"Barbara is a film about the old Germany from one of the best directors working in the new: Christian Petzold. For more than a decade Mr. Petzold has been making his mark on the international cinema scene with smart, tense films that resemble psychological thrillers, but are distinguished by their strange story turns, moral thorns, visual beauty and filmmaking intelligence." Manohla Dargis, New York Times

Coenpalooza!

“I gotta tell you, the life of the mind… There’s no roadmap for that territory… And exploring it can be painful.” John Turturro gives what may be the definitive portrait of a blocked - but still unbearably pompous - writer in this insider satire on Hollywood culture.

((Les salaux))
Vancity Theatre Screening

From its opening images of a young woman in high heels and nothing else walking through the streets of Paris at night, this hypnotic revenge thriller from master filmmaker Claire Denis is equal parts stark and voluptuous, brutal and sensual, raw and sophisticated.

"It is the darkest movie - visually, psychologically and spiritually - that Denis has made. It’s also one of the rarest of cinematic objects - a completely contemporary, disturbingly relevant film noir." Amy Taubin, Sigh & Sound

"As black and sticky and inescapable as a tar pit - a movie whose darkness swallows its characters and the audience whole." **** Adam Nayman, Globe & Mail

(Baie des anges)
DEMY MONDE: The Cinema of Jacques Demy

Jean (Claude Mann) arrives in Nice (the "bay of angels") for a holiday. He discovers gambling and meets platinum-blonde Jackie (Jeanne Moreau), a high roller at the casino. Sparks fly between them and passion grows. But is it for one another, or for the game? Jean, still naive, begins his education.

"So existential, so romantic … The great beauty of [Bay] is the way the croupier’s spiraling wheel becomes a metaphor not for life’s randomness, but for its lack of permanence, its riskiness[:] [a] hardened demimondaine can bet on a number and suddenly abandon it to dash after her beloved — an ecstatic ending a few films later revealed as the cause of another heroine’s melancholy" (Fernando F. Croce).

DOCside

Beauty Is Embarrassing is a funny, irreverent, joyful and inspiring documentary featuring the life and current times of one of America’s most important artists, Wayne White. "One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I’ve had this year." Leonard Maltin

"One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I’ve had this year." Leonard Maltin

"White is such a hysterically funny, wacky and weird guy that the documentarian need only train his camera upon him in order to make it entertaining. It is a genuinely hilarious film, but it’s funny because of the pathos too, the sadness in White that makes him want to live everyday to its fullest, to make a silly puppet because it’s fun, and why not today?" Katie Walsh, The Playlist

"This movie ought to be required viewing, not just for Oscar voters but for every aspiring artist wondering how to build a life doing what they love. Beauty is Embarrassing isn’t simply a testament to the talents of Wayne White; it’s a snapshot of the ways in which creativity and the business of daily living can be inseparably fused." Elina Shatkin, LA Magazine

Vancity Theatre Screening

The first in a double bill featuring two of the most highly acclaimed US features of the year, Before Midnight is Richard Linklater’s bittersweet study of a love affair languishing in middle-age - his follow up to generational touchstones Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

Before Midnight is a wonderful paradox: a movie passionately committed to the ideal of imperfection that is itself very close to perfect." AO Scott, New York Times

Vancity Theatre Screening

"Don’t be afraid. A new world of sound awaits you…" This dense, resonant experimental thriller casts Toby Jones as a genius sound-mixer, a Brit invited to work on the post-production of an Italian horror movie in the late 1970s (something by Dario Argento, perhaps?). Almost from the first this unusual assignment comes with disturbing undertones of mystery and menace - as if the bloody supernatural thriller we hear being constructed (but almost never see) is spilling out into the sound studio…

"Utterly distinctive and all but unclassifiable, a musique concrète nightmare, a psycho-metaphysical implosion of anxiety, with strange-tasting traces of black comedy and movie-buff riffs. It is seriously weird and seriously good." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

"A delicately detailed immersion into the world of Z-grade Italian horror cinema that ultimately may or may not be a horror film itself, Peter Strickland’s “Berberian Sound Studio” is a tense, teasing triumph." Guy Lodge, Variety

"The creepiness builds with symphonic precision until reality truly is indistinguishable from fantasy." 4 stars. Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

(Dupa dealuri)
Vancity Theatre Screening

The latest from 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days director Mungiu is a slow burning but utterly transfixing exorcism drama based on a news story from 2005. A novice nun in an Orthodox monastery in Romania, Voichita welcomes an old friend from their days in the orphanage - but she is taken aback when Alina tries to persuade to come away to Germany. Meanwhile the monastery’s stern priest becomes convinced Alina is a temptress possessed by the Devil.

"A quintessentially praiseworthy festival film: weighty in intent, unfamiliar enough in setting, rigorously masterful in execution… But what is remarkable about Beyond the Hills and the unexpected interrogations it awakens is the lingering sense of doubt it leaves you with. Not merely as to the virtues of organized religion—that would be too simple—but just as much the facile condemnation of it… It is a work that forces you into the not entirely pleasant yet oddly rewarding territory of moral uncertainty."—Joumane Chahine, Film Comment

"If you long for the bleak intelligence of an Ingmar Bergman film, where humankind is deeply flawed and God is indifferently silent and the landscape is cloaked in perpetual winter, then Beyond the Hills promises to be your cup of despair." 3 stars Rick Groen, Globe & Mail

"Riveting to watch and fascinating to think about afterwards." Philip French, The Observer

Coenpalooza!

Some film only get better the more you see them - and this may be the best time Hollywood has given us in the last 20 years. It’s a whacky, warped slacker generation riff on Raymond Chandler, a shaggy dog story which delights in going sideways at every turn. Jeff Bridges is the Dude, and what he really wants is to get his rug back…

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