De Palma’s delirious mash-up of Phantom of the Opera, Faust, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and 70s glam-rock is the musical/horror/comedy freak-out that Rocky Horror wanted to be. His rock opera stolen by Machiavellian record producer Swan and his face disfigured when it lands in a record press, songwriter Winslow Leach dons a silver mask and vows to spread terror through the duplicitous Swan’s rock palace The Paradise.
In the mind-bending first feature from Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, The Wrestler and Noah) Max is a renegade mathematician searching for numerical order in the New York Stock Exchange. He’s looking for the perfection in the world, an order underneath all the chaos. He believes that if he puts a numerical analysis on the data he’ll be able to find this unifying order. Instead, his discoveries have the opposite effect…
On the surface, Rude Boy is about Ray, a hapless, young Londoner in the late 1970s with no prospects who leaves his seedy job in Soho to work as a roadie for The Clash. Not only does Rude Boy have the best filmed footage of The Clash, on stage, backstage, in hotel rooms and rehearsal rooms, but it also shows Punk, stirring up youth and making it prey to both the Trotskyite left and the Fascist National Front. All this is portrayed against the breakdown of social democracy in Britain with frightening street battles and demonstrations, resulting in the triumphant ascent of Mrs Thatcher to Downing Street.
Guest programmer: Adrian Mack, film editor at the Georgia Straight
"The World Is Yours." Half a century after Howard Hawks and Ben Hecht delivered their brutal critique of the American Dream as personified by Al Capone in 1932’s Scarface, De Palma and screenwriter Oliver Stone found the Dream alive and kicking in Miami. Cuban hoodlum Tony Montana (Al Pacino) sees the fast track to success lies in cocaine, murder and pure ambition. Though only a modest success on its initial release, Scarface became one of the most iconic and resonant movies of its era.
A young reporter (Jennifer Salt) witnesses a murder from afar, but cannot prove it. The truth is more grim than she imagines… Sisters has a grand guignol conceit but it’s not really a horror movie - rather it’s a witty mystery suspense thriller drawing from Rear Window and Psycho. Ironically through Hitchcockian pastiche De Palma found his own voice as a filmmaker. Even at this early stage includes extraordinarily adept use of split screen, lengthy travelling shots, and an operatic "Eye of God" storytelling sense - or if you prefer, a deeply twisted sense of humour.
In adapting journalist Stevie Cameron’s book On The Farm, producer Rupert Harvey, screenwriter Dennis Foon and director Rachel Talalay have elected to keep the focus predominantly on the women: the addicts and sex workers of the Downtown Eastside; the activists who offer refuge to that community; and a lone female cop who believes the missing women deserve serious investigation. Eschewing sensationalism and relegating Pickton himself to a bit-part, the film is inevitably, and rightly, a demanding watch, but its sympathies are clear to see, alongside an uncompromising indictment of the callous sexism, exploitation and social neglect that allowed Pickton’s crimes to go undetected for so long. This preview ahead of its CBC broadcast will be followed by a panel discussion.
Gloriously lyrical, sumptuously shot, occasionally funny and unabashedly romantic—Miguel Gomes’ (Our Beloved Month of August) latest "moves from modern-day Lisbon to a rapturous evocation of romance in colonial Africa. But no plot description can do justice to the idiosyncratic poetry of director Miguel Gomes." Sight & Sound.
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…
With a screenplay by David Mamet and a magnificenct cast (De Niro, Costner and Connery!) De Palma enjoyed one of his biggest hits with this big scale, mythic rendering of the Elliot Ness/Al Capone story.
Pitched somewhere between dream and reality, this surreal tale follows two party girls and their close encounter with… the devil? “An exciting example of Iranian independent filmmaking, one that gives hope for the future.” Alissa Simon, Variety
The second of Fassbinder’s great BRD Trilogy, this is the true story of an UFA starlet, rumoured to be a mistress of Goebbels, who falls to drug addiction after the war. Shot in icy black and white, it’s intentionally reminiscent of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd but more devastating still.