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.
Roger Ebert wasn’t just the most popular North American film critic of the late twentieth century, in part by seizing the opportunities afforded by TV, he was also one of the most insightful and articulate, a wonderful writer with an insatiable curiosity about the world, deep knowledge of cinema, and the passion to communicate it. This acclaimed film from Steve James (Hoop Dreams) captures yet another side of Roger: how he blossomed in the loving family he found late in life, despite the terrible struggle with cancer that ravaged his body and left him unable to speak.
"Life Itself is a work of deftness and delicacy, by turns a film about illness and death, about writing, about cinema and, finally, and very movingly a film about love." Geoffrey O’Brien, The New York Times
In the first of our two-part tribute to the late great crime novelist Elmore Leonard, a kidnapping plot hits a snag when it turns out the corrupt developer played by Tim Robbins doesn’t particularly care to get his wife back - he was on the point of filing for divorce. An unofficial "pre-quel" to Jackie Brown, this witty comedy thriller introduces the characters played by Robert De Niro, Samuel L Jackson and Bridget Fonda in the Tarantino movie (and here, by John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey, and Isla Fisher). Jennifer Aniston and Will Forte also star.
"This is a droll and well-observed comedy thriller that recreates the 1970s in convincing fashion while retaining enough of a sense of menace to avoid ever drifting off into whimsy." Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent
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.
This riveting crime thriller follows Oscar, a recent emigrant to Manila who gets pulled into a harrowing world of corruption and violence when he takes a job as an armored car driver to support his family. "It begins as a swirling drama of survival in the Filipino capital - but then suddenly it slips off down an alleyway, only to emerge a scrupulously engineered, Christopher Nolan-ish crime thriller." Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph
Winner: Sundance Film Festival’s World Audience Award; Best British Independent film 2013.
"It begins as a swirling drama of survival in the Filipino capital - but then suddenly it slips off down an alleyway, only to emerge a scrupulously engineered, Christopher Nolan-ish crime thriller." Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph
"One of the most enrapturing experiences I’ve had at the movies in 2013: fiercely, grandly humanist, and almost unbearably tragic." MaryAnn Johanson
"The influence of Ken Loach makes way for the dynamics of a Quentin Tarantino-style heist. The result is an expertly crafted heartbreaker that cuts to the core of desperate lives." Allan Hunter, Daily Express
Someone is killing aboriginal girls on a remote stretch of road, but no one seems to care… That’s the set up for this evocative Australian thriller, a genre movie which doubles as a critique of post colonial racism and corruption and which should echo loud and strong in British Columbia.
"Imagine a racially charged Outback Chinatown and you have the measure of this terrific Aussie noir written, shot, directed, edited and scored by Ivan Sen. As Aaron Pederson’s aboriginal detective returns home to investigate a murder, he discovers a township driven by corruption, where the fug of meth and malaise has made life lose all value." Total Film
" Mystery Road has the evil, epic sweep of LA Confidential, but a grimmer grasp on reality, burning a long trail of TNT to a final, point-blank showdown." Nick Hasted, The Arts Desk
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
In the first of our series bringing you opera productions from London’s Royal Opera House, a chance to enjoy the company’s new staging of Richard Wagner’s epic, his final masterpiece. A young man ignorant of everything, including his own name, arrives at the Kingdom of the Holy Grail. Is he the ‘pure fool, enlightened by compassion’, who, it has been prophesied, will purify the kingdom?
Running time includes two intermissions.
An unforgettable experience!
Render’s focus is on innovative and cutting-edge music videos that push the creative boundaries of the art form. The music video is often seen as a supplement to the music in the video: Render turns this understanding upside-down, championing the videos, the work that goes into them and the people who make them. There are videos from bands including The Knife (director Bitte Andersson), They Might be Giants (director Alex Italics), Asbjorn (director Powerclap), Marcel Dettmann & Emika (director Parker Ellerman), and The Ramona Flowers (director Bouha Kazmi). We also have a few Vancouver favourites: Wintermitts (director Artino Ahmadi) and PrOphesy Sun (director Eliot Zee).
Arguably the most popular building site in the world, the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona is still a work in progress, 125 years after the first stones were laid. Designed by the controversial Catalan genius Antonio Gaudi, the Sagrada is a testament to Faith… Faith in God, in the natural forms that so inspired the architect, and also in man, for Gaudi always knew this work would have to be completed long after his life-time.
"This film is more than a documentary, it tells the story using beautiful and quiet images of the transformation of ideas, talks of human endeavour for perfection and in so doing, illustrates that the essential meaning of this edifice lies in its creation process and not only in its completion.
This creative process is illustrated in varying perspectives from inside the incomplete church as well as the complex structure of the exterior parts of the church.
The film gives cause for self-reflection on how the past and present are related, portraying people and destinies involved in the construction of the church and ultimately proves that something incomplete also has its own significance." Jury citation, Erasmus Euro Media Awards
"Both exhaustive and astounding in its detective-like exploration of the history of the impossibly ornate Catalonian house of worship." Jackson Scarlett, 7x7SF
A hitman for the Sicilian Mafia, Salvo is solitary, cold and ruthless. When he sneaks into a house on an assignment, he discovers Rita, an innocent young blind girl who must stand by powerlessly while her brother is assassinated. What follows is an intense exchange fueled by adrenaline and fear between the killer and his witness, one that changes their two lives in an instant. The darkness is lifted from Rita’s eyes just as Salvo decides, against his murderous instincts, to spare her life. From then on, both haunted by their brief encounter, these two damaged souls will attempt to navigate their dangerous next steps side by side.
“Moody… fully immersive… effortlessly intense.” Boyd van Hoeij, Variety
"A soulful romance, an existential action flick and something of a miracle movie - the appealing slow-burner "Salvo" hovers at the crossroads of genre." Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"A sparse and languid Italian thriller that carries a debt to Melville." David Parkinson, Empire
Two short films from the Vancouver based producer, writer, director Jonathan Kitzen, including last year’s Academy Award-winning non-fiction short subject The Lady in Number Six: Music Saved My Life (a portrait of 109 year old Holocaust survivor Alcie Herz Sommer), and his new film, Soldiers’ Stories, a war remembrance document that draws parallels between the Battle of the Somme in WWI and today’s conflicts. The latter is presented in 3D and introduced by Jonathan Kitzen.
Jonathan Kitzen will be in attendance and introduce the films
Former intelligence officer John Le Carre wrote his first espionage novel in 1962, just a year after the completion of the Berlin Wall, which loomed large in the book. That same wall - demolished 25 year ago, Nov 9, 1989 - also figures in the opening and closing scenes of Martin Ritt’s acclaimed film adaptation. It’s one of the key Cold War movies, the antithesis of James Bond escapism, and features arguably Richard Burton’s finest screen performance.
The title is a prison term for the graduation from a youth offenders’ detention centre to an adult correctional facility, which happens to be the journey taken by 19 year old Eric (Jack O’Connell) in this explosive British drama. The prison also happens to be home to Eric’s estranged father (Ben Mendelsohn), though the reunion is not a happy one…
"An edgy, teeming thriller, brilliantly disorienting." New York Magazine
"Starred Up is an edgy, teeming thriller, brilliantly disorienting, making strange a world we thought we knew, at least from other movies." David Edelstein, New York Magazine
"O’Connell bristles with terrifying hair-trigger unpredictability. Watching him, you feel like you’re witnessing the arrival of a new movie star." Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
"Brutal and boisterous… Turns the complicated dynamic between a young prisoner and his problematic mentor into a ferocious psychodrama that locks you in and refuses to let you go." AO Scott, The New York Times
Tacoma garage rock band Girl Trouble has always traveled on their own unique and idiosyncratic musical path. For over 30 years, they have been standard- bearers for the collaborative spirit and do-it-yourself aesthetic that the Northwest’s indie rock scene was founded on. Director Isaac Olsen weaves together the band’s treasure trove of treasured memorabilia with present-day interviews with the band’s numerous collaborators, including Neko Case, Calvin Johnson, and Art Chantry. But ultimately, Olsen wisely lets the band members tell the story of their journey from self-proclaimed “weirdos” to Tacoma’s local champions and defenders of rock and roll.
Discovered by a wood cutter inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl lights up the life of this childless peasant and his wife - even though they’re perplexed by the lightning speed with which she grows into an exquisite young lady. Their "little princess" enthralls everyone she meets, and bestows such bounty on the family that they wood cutter moves them to a city mansion, where she is courted by the most eligible bachelors far and wide. A gem of a film from Studio Ghibli’s other master, Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies).
“Princess Kaguya has the feel of a true Takahata film, from its unshrinking emotional fidelity to its sudden, exhilarating leaps into fantasy […] There is a deep wisdom in this film, but a deep sadness too. If it is Takahata’s farewell, it’s one that will have a long echo, just like his 1,000-year-old source.” Mark Schilling, Japan Times
"A visionary tour de force." Maggie Lee, Variety
A pinnacle of animation in the new millennium." Matt Patches, IGN Movies
Powerful music, a gripping story and a tragic end: Puccini’s ever-popular Tosca performed with a fabulous cast. Among the star singers in this revival are Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel. Jonathan Kent’s detailed production draws to the full on the historical backdrop of Rome in 1800, an atmospheric backdrop to the love of the beautiful diva Tosca, the idealism of her lover Cavaradossi and the deadly, destructive obsession of the malevolent Chief of Police, Scarpia.
Just in time for Christmas … the noirest of the noir and the last extravaganza that Orson Welles directed for a Hollywood studio, Touch of Evil is considered to be one his greatest movies achievements. There is a lot of plot, but it’s more of a character story about the grunting, wheezing detective Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles), a man who is truly in hell. The concept of borders and "crossing the line" is essential to Touch of Evil as many taboo topics are addressed in this baroque nightmare of a south-of-the-border mystery.
Richard Eyre’s produciton of Verdi’s masterpiece has been one of the most successful opera stagings in the long and celebrated history of the Royal Opera House. We present the original, definitive incarnation of that production, starring the incomparable Renee Fleming as the ill-fated courtesan Violetta, oppose Joseph Calleja as Alfredo and Thomas Hapson as his unyielding father.
Andrei Serban’s staging of Puccini’s final opera is a glorious pageant of rich colour, dance and drama. Turandot is a tale of disguised identities, riddles, ritual executions and powerful, triumphant love.