Yogananda was the Hindu Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. Paramahansa Yogananda authored the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers and yoga enthusiasts today. This unconventional documentary has won critical plaudits everywhere it has screened.
"Fittingly enlightening, Awake: The Life of Yogananda is a vivid, elegantly assembled portrait of the savvy guru with the cherubic face and penetrating gaze who brought meditation to the West." — Michael Rechtschaffen, LA Times
"Gentle sitar music, languorous camerawork and soothing narration ... This could be a good movie to do yoga by." — The New York Times
Belle star Gugu Mbatha-Raw is marvellous as the extraordinary young singer who is propelled in to a rollercoast career in pop by her ambitious mother (Minnie Driver). The movie chronicles how the music industry remakes Noni in its own highly sexualized image, but suggests (with an element of wish fulfillment) that there is a way out, and true love can save the day.
"One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I had this year." — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
"Magnificent ... On its surface [it] seems to be a candy-colored pop fantasy about the love between a beautiful hip-hop superstar and a hunky cop. To be fair, it’s not not that. But how bracing today to have a film that’s at once fun, patient, romantic, and real… Beyond the Lights is a deft, gorgeous movie ... As we watch this dreamy, colorful piece of musical and romantic wish-fulfillment, we get the distinct sense we’re watching real life unfold." — Bilge Ebiri, New York magazine
1960 Academy Award Winner and winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus retells the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice against the madness of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. With its magnificent color photography and lively soundtrack, this film brought the infectious bossa nova beat to the United States.
"A riotous, rapturous explosion of sound and color, Black Orpheus is less about Orpheus’s doomed love for Eurydice than about Camus’s love for cinema at its most gestural and kinetic." — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
The release of The Theory of Everything, and indeed, the "science" of box office hit Interstellar, allows us the perfect excuse to bring back this fascinating meeting of minds between Stephen Hawking and eminent US documentarian Errol Morris. With a score by Philip Glass.
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.
After receiving its North American premiere at last year’s VIFF, this French-made documentary about political cartoonists around the world has acquired terrible new relevence after the atrocity of the Charlie Hebdo murders.
“Just like the best political cartoons, the documentary ... manages to synthesize a vast subject in ways both insightful and, at times, frightfully funny.” — Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter
"Sexy, sunny and sweet-natured, this lovely animation by film-maker Fernando Trueba and artist and designer Javier Mariscal is a 1940s love story with all the brassy passion of a Barry Manilow number, set in the nightclubs of Havana and New York." — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"The year’s best musical and one of the year’s finest animated films, this utterly delightful Spanish movie is an affecting, funny, historically accurate and at times pleasingly erotic story." — Philip French, Observer
"A delightful riot of colour, design, emotion and music." — Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight
In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras was in the process of constructing a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four,” who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her.
"The documentary of the year may also be its most hair-raising thriller." — Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"This patient, beautiful, painful, engrossing film pits husband and wife against each other and their world in a series of extended conversations/confrontations." — Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
"Tense and frightening ... a primal political fable for the digital age." — New York Times
Who likes short shorts? We like short shorts. The NorthWest Comedy Fest and VIFF are proud to announce An Evening of Comedy Short Shorts a delightful hodgepodge of original Pacific Northwest submissions and curated comedy pieces from up and down the Left coast.
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.
The thinking pervert’s 50 Shades of Grey, this ritualized SM lesbian love story is at once tongue-in-cheek erotica, a high art porno pastiche, and, most perversely of all, a sincerely unsettling but genuinely moving love story worthy of Luis Bunuel himself.
"Visually ravishing, emotionally wise, and kinky as a coiled rope, writer-director Peter Strickland’s third feature The Duke of Burgundy is a delight." — Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter
"Strickland’s sapphic giallo dream is a tied up and twisted masterpiece." — David Ehrlich, Little White Lies
"So teasing and elusive that after one viewing, you just want to watch the thing again, and feel your way again around its contours." — Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph
Documentary about the Portuguese singer Camané and the process of creating one of fado’s key works, revealing a rigorous search that allows him to achieve masterful interpretations. Featuring music by José Mário Branco, Raul Ferrão, Frutuoso França, Sérgio Godinho, Alfredo Marceneiro, Alain Oulman.
The first Iranian Vampire Western ever made, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype, and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave.
"Amirpour has crafted a beguiling, cryptic and often surprisingly funny look at personal desire that creeps up on you with the nimble powers of its supernatural focus. The director combines elements of film noir and the restraint of Iranian New Wave cinema with the subdued depictions of a bored youth culture found in early Jim Jarmusch ... The comparisons go on and on, but the result is wholly original." — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
"A wildly inventive Iranian vampire movie that grabs you by the throat with its dark, moody style, pulsating soundtrack and offbeat love story." — David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
Pasolini was a Marxist and an atheist, but above all he was a poet, and his film of the life of Christ gives us the feeling that we are there, with Jesus, cinema-vrite style. This is also the most contemplative film about Christ.
Guest Michael Audain is chairman of Polygon Homes, Chair of the Audain Art Museum and the Audain Foundation. He is also the first Honorary Chairman of the Vancouver Art Gallery, a past Chair of the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Vancouver Art Gallery Foundation.
“In this 2014 sequel to the award-winning You’ve Been Trumped, director
Anthony Baxter once again follows American billionaire Donald Trump and a cast of other greedy characters who want to turn some of the Earth’s most precious places into golf courses and playgrounds for the super rich.”
This event is $10 and includes a panel discussion/Q&A and a dinner buffet/beverages.
Directors Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott’s 2013 film “chronicles ‘America’s leading environmentalist,’ Bill McKibben, in a David-vs-Goliath battle to fight the fossil fuel industry and change the terrifying math of the climate crisis.” This event is $5 and includes a panel discussion/Q&A and snacks/beverages.
Micah Smith’s 2013 Honor Diaries “is the first film to break the silence on ‘honor violence’ against women and girls. Honor Diaries is more than a movie, it is a movement to save women and girls from human rights abuses around the world.” This event is $5 and includes a panel discussion/Q&A and snacks/beverages.
Meet "the happiest sound in jazz" — and maybe the brightest mentor, too. Clark Terry was Dizzy Gillespie’s favourite trumpet player, but he’s also an inspirational teacher — the antithesis of the character played by JK Simmons in Whiplash. At 93, Terry is still teaching, taking blind 23-year-old piano prodigy Justin Kauflin under his arm, just as he did with Quincy Jones and Miles Davis before him.
"Consider it this year’s “Rocky” of documentaries: a heartfelt, uplifting tale that celebrates the joy of life and the triumphs of succeeding against all odds. The film stands as a loving tribute to the affable 93-year-old Terry, who performed in the bands of both Count Basie and Duke Ellington and seems to have influenced just about every jazz giant on the planet ... One need not be a jazz aficionado to enjoy this film. All that’s required is a smile." — David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
“Keep On Keepin’ On is ultimately an examination of the pursuit of greatness. It is a grueling and demanding endeavor, for sure, but also, for Mr. Terry and anyone lucky enough to enter his orbit, a source of unending joy." — AO Scott, New York Times
"As joyful as a jumping jazz riff, Keep on Keepin’ On is an inspiring story of devotion, dedication and multi-generational friendship." — Linda Bernard, Toronto Star
First shown in theatres just once, in 1970, this landmark documentary chronicles the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama, and culminating with his assassination in Memphis in 1968. It features dramatic readings by Harry Belafonte, James Earl Jones and Paul Newman, among others, with archival newsreel footage to create a comprehensive record of Dr King’s work with the Civil Rights movement.
"History of immense power." — Los Angeles Times
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.