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SPARK FX

40 years ago, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist redefined screen terror with its slow but atmospheric build up mounting to a sustained crescendo of graphic, visceral horror. Audiences had never seen special effects like these before, and reacted with panic and revulsion - as if Satan himself was at loose in this film.

"A credible portrait of the modern, urban world ripped apart by an obscene, ancient evil… the graphic desecration of everything considered wholesome and good about the fading American Dream - the home, the family, the church, and, most shockingly, the child." Mark Kermode

SPARK FX

Paris, 1911: When a pterodactyl hatches in a museum and begins terrorising the town, clueless detective Caponi (Lellouche) seeks the connection between the prehistoric menace, a mad old professor (Nercessian) conducting resurrection experiments and intrepid reporter Adèle Blanc-Sec (Bourgoin), whose pursuit of ancient artefacts is a desperate personal mission…

A whimsical, madcap action adventure romp in the spirit of Indiana Jones from the director of The Fifth Element, Nikita and Leon: The Professional.

"This is utterly delightful from start to finish, thanks to a witty script, gorgeous production design, enjoyably pacey direction and a wonderful performance from Louise Bourgoin. Highly recommended and one of the best films of the year. Don’t leave before the end credits." Matthew Turner, This Is London

(Federico degli spiriti)
Italian Film Festival

Maestro Federico Fellini died just over 20 years ago, 31 October 1993. His passing - and the star-studded funeral that followed three days later - inspired one of the first great media events of the new electronic age, a circus of celebrity, culture, imagery and emotion that Fellini probably enjoyed from on high. This new documentary brings those moments back to life again with the help of Fellini’s friends, colleagues and admirers.

The Best of Hot Docs

 

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Filmmaker-historian Nelson George conducts a passionate archeology of funk music—the crucial bridge between ’60s soul and ’80s hip hop—replete with loving testimonials about Dayton, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan, in their funk heydays, where in the basements of now-mythical music makers like Sly Stone and P-Funk, the funk explosion was catalyzed. With The Roots member Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson as our guide, and warm regaling from notable musicians such as Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Sheila E. and Mike D of the Beastie Boys, we’re transported to the hippie-ish ’70s when a mad fever of savvy creativity saw the transmutation of jazz, soul and R&B into infectiously danceable funk.

"Not to spoil the ending, but director Nelson George absolutely does find the funk. 3 stars." Brad Wheeler, Globe & Mail

"A lesson every music fan should have." William Brownridge, Toronto Film Scene

Vancity Theatre Screening

This extraordinary documentary - one of the most popular films at VIFF last year - shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the life story of the late Vivian Maier, a career nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most accomplished and insightful street photographers.

"Compelling… haunting… captivating." Variety

"Poignant, informative, occasionally disturbing." Globe and Mail

This film of the 1958 Broadway musical by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein was groundbreaking for its use of a predominantly Asian-American cast, and for treating Chinese-Americans as Americans.

"There’s nothing subtle or fragile about this "Flower Drum Song." It is gaudy and gaggy and quite melodic. Along those lines, it is quite a show." Bosley Crowther, New York Times (1961)

(Francesco, giullare di Dio)
Italian Film Festival

When Cardinal Bergoglio became Pope Francis last year, it was an expression of the humility and love he admired in Saint Francis of Assisi - which also happens to be the subject of this beautiful, sweetly spiritual and unexpectedly whimsical film written by Federico Fellini along with the pioneer of neo-realism, Roberto Rossellini, who also directed.

“I’ve never seen the life of a saint treated on film with so little solemnity and so much warmth.” Martin Scorsese

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

VANCOUVER PREMIERE - An intimate look at students and masters living in scattered retreats dotting China’s Zhongnan Mountain range today. These peaks have been home to recluses since the time of the Yellow Emperor. Filmed on location in China with humor and compassion, presenting the hardships and joy of their everyday lives among the clouds.

IBFF 2013 Vancouver (International Buddhist Film Festival)

SPECIAL PREVIEW PRESENTATION - A young filmmaker returns to China from study abroad, speaking French on the phone. He journeys from the bustling metropolis of Shanghai to a remote monastery on Tian-Mu Mountain where he’s reunited with his mother after a tragic fire. A subtle, intimate and mysterious study in contrasts that touches on family, loss, guilt and creativity. Here is a China in transition, with confusion and alienation along with the steady beat of Buddhist chants.

007 Reloaded: Bond vs Bond

Roger Moore shows the right stuff in this slightly more realistic adventure. A ship containing an Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator (ATAC), which can control ballistic missile attacks, is sunk. Bond is sent to retrieve the ATAC before the Russians can.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Greta Gerwig is delightful - a kind of modern day Annie Hall - in this lovely, deft, funny/sad movie from Noah Baumbach. Frances Halladay is 27, living in New York, and not really pulling things together yet. She’s in the wrong job, and her most intimate friend is her flatmate, who’s moving out. Simultaneously optimistic and melancholy, romantic and unsentimental, it’s the finest comedy of the year.

"An irresistibly lovely, melancholic acknowledgment that love is impossible, and that the more candid a young woman is, the less eligible she becomes in the standard romantic sweepstakes… Frances Ha also marks the rare instance in which an actress has the perfect role at the perfect time. Ms. Gerwig’s work here is fragile, delicate, subject to bruising; something that could wither under too much attention. Perhaps Ms. Gerwig is the greatest actress alive. And maybe Frances Ha is just the ghost orchid of independent cinema." John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

"There’s an optimism and an empathy in “Frances Ha” that feels genuine and earned.The plot doesn’t build to a gigantic, sweeping climax, but the understated final moments made me happier than any other filmgoing experience I’ve had all year." Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

Vancity Theatre Screening

Can you rewire the brain, just by taking a breath? In 1992 Professor Richard Davidson, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, met the Dalai Lama, who encouraged him to apply the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety to the study of compassion and kindness, those qualities cultivated by Tibetan meditation practice. The results of Davidson’s studies are portrayed in Free the Mind as they are applied to treating PTSD in returning Iraqi vets and children with ADHD. The film poses two fundamental questions: What really is consciousness, and how does it manifest in the brain and body? And is it possible to physically change the brain solely through mental practices?

"Grips your heart from the first moment." Film Comment

"By the end of this documentary, you’ll feel like a kid again, filled with wonder and questions about humanity and yourself." Marco Chown Oved, Toronto Star

"There is something healing about simply watching Free the Mind." Gary Goldstein, LA Times

Vancity Theatre Screening

What if everything you thought you knew about drugs was wrong? What if society has misread - or been misled - about what science says about psychedelic substances? What if prohibition only exists to safeguard social inhibition (and big pharma profits)? Through interviews with the world’s foremost researchers, writers, psychologists and pioneers in psychedelic psychotherapy, Vancouver filmmaker Oliver Hockenhull explores the history of five powerful psychedelic substances (LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, Ayahuasca and Cannabis) and their now established medicinal potential.

"Fuses science, art and spirituality into a seamless whole." Geoff Olson, Vancouver Courier

007 Reloaded: Bond vs Bond

When MI6 gets a chance to get their hands on a Lektor decoder, Bond is sent to Turkey to seduce the beautiful Tatiana (Daniela Bianchi), and bring back the machine. With the help of Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz), Bond escapes on the Orient Express, but might not make it off alive. Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and Timothy Dalton have all cited From Russia With Love as their favourite Bond film.

"Highly immoral in every imaginable way; it is neither uplifting, instructive nor life-enhancing. Neither is it great film-making. But it sure is fun." Richard Roud, The Guardian (1963)

Vancity Theatre Screening

The latest in our irregular series of archival shows throws a well-earned spotlight on the late Phil Keatley, whose long career at the CBC ranged from the 1950s to the 70s. Keatley is probably best known for his work as a producer on The Beachcombers, but here we look back further, to three black and white dramas he produced in BC between 1958 and 1967.

Set in Yokohama in 1963, the latest animated feature from Studio Ghibli is a poignant teen love story, graceful, understated but full of feeling. Written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his son Goro, the movie tells the story of a lonely high school girl who becomes involved in the fight to save a delipidated boys’ club house.

"With its beautiful visuals and songs, Poppy Hill finds a deserving place among its Studio Ghibli peers."

- Variety

"A beautifully artful, wistfully nostalgic coming of age romance!"

- Twitch

Make a Valentine’s Day date with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in one of the most delightful Hollywood musicals of the Golden Age. A romantic comedy with songs by George and Ira Gershwin, Funny Face is a delectable satire on the then-nascent fashion industry, with a remarkable comic turn from Kay Thompson as a Diana Vreeland-type editor for Quality magazine.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Are animals sentient beings, or are they property? Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur has made it her life’s work to challenge the widespread willful ignorance that allows animal abuse to carry on unchecked. For more than a decade she has documented animals held in captivity to supply our food, clothing, scientific research, or simply our entertainment. Her photos are sometimes heartbreaking, but also often unexpectedly beautiful, always soulful, and inspiring. The same could be said of Liz Marshall’s film, which gives a sense of the horrors humans inflict on animals, but also the immense spiritual bond which many of us naturally feel for other living beings.

"A superb example of committed fimmaking." 4 stars. Susan Cole, Now magazine

Vancity Theatre Screening

Introduced by UBC Film professor Ernest Mathijs, author of the first book length study of the movie, a rare chance to see arguably the best Canadian horror movie of the new millennium in 35mm. Emily Perkins and Katherine Isabelle star.

After Effects: Guatemala and El Salvador

Imagine gold "as far as the eye can see". All you have to do is rip it out of the ground. But one man’s nirvana is another’s hell. Gold Fever witnesses the arrival of Goldcorp Inc to a remote Guatemalan village. 500 years after the conquistadors, and still reeling from decades of US-backed repression, Diodora, Crisanta and Gregoria are caught in the cross-hairs of another global frenzy for gold. Together with their community, they resist the threat to their ancestral lands in the face of grave consequences.

“Beautifully-made. Sobering and tragic, but ultimately empowering.”

The Yes Men

“Tests Guatemalan society’s willingness to confront what might be today’s biggest challenge: overcoming the social unrest caused by the massive extraction of natural resources.”

Uli Stelzner, Muestra de Cine Internacional Memoria Verdad Justicia

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