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
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
“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.
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
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).
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
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
"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
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
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…
The third film in Micha X Peled’s Globalization trilogy (following Store Wars and China Blue) Bitter Seeds looks at the raw materials that feed our cycle of over-consumption, and specifically Monsanto’s push to supply cotton seeds to farmers in India - with devastating results. A staggering 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the past 16 years
"The crisis depicted in Bitter Seeds is all the more dire when you consider that half the world’s population are farmers. Peled could have turned his cameras… to any place that industrial agriculture has driven out the little guys. One reason the tiny Indian community of Telung Takli makes sense is Amberwar—a compelling central character whose personal story raises additional issues about gender, class and non-farming employment opportunities." Peter Debruge, Variety
“Films like this can change the world.” Alice Waters
“A tragedy for our times, beautifully told, deeply disturbing.” Michael Pollan
Filmmaker Micha X Peled is our guest to introduce specific screenings and participate in a FREE panel discussion exploring these issues on Sunday May 19, 8.30pm.
The panel will be moderated by Charlie Smith, Editor of the Georgia Straight.
Tzeporah Berman, Environmental activist and author of This Crazy Time, . Considered "Canada's Queen of Green."-Readers Digest, Tzeporah Berman has been successfully designing and managing green campaigns for nonprofits for the last two decades, leading Bill McKibben to call her "a modern environmental hero." She currently works as a strategic advisor for dozens of environmental organizations, First Nations and philanthropic advisors on clean energy, oilsands and pipelines. She is the former co-director of Greenpeace International's Global Climate and Energy Program, Executive Director and Co-founder of PowerUp Canadaand Co-founder and Campaign Director of ForestEthics.
Gerardo Otero is Professor of sociology and an associated professor of the School of International Studies at Simon Fraser University. His latest edited book is Food for the Few: Neoliberal Globalism and Biotechnology in Latin America (University of Texas Press, 2008, reissued in paperback in 2010), which is forthcoming in Spanish as La dieta neoliberal. His latest article, “The Neoliberal Food Regime in Latin America,” was published in the Canadian Journal of Development Studies in 2012. In co-authorship with Gabriela Pechlaner and Efe Can Gürcan, he has a forthcoming article September 2013 in Rural Sociology: “The political economy of ‘food security’ and trade: uneven and combined dependency.”
Micha X Peled has made documentaries for broadcasters in the USA, Britain, France and Germany, winning over 20 awards along the way. His films were released theatrically in the U.S., Europe and Japan, and on DVDs in eight languages (officially). Micha made his first film in 1992, when his mother sent him the manuscript of her life story, which became Will My Mother Go Back to Berlin? When celebrated Los Angeles Times critic Charles Champlin wrote “it’s a damn good movie,” Micha believed him, quit his job to become a fulltime filmmaker, and never looked back. Not that it was all smelling the roses – he got out of Iran shortly before being exposed for filming illegally, in China his crew was arrested and his footage confiscated, and his shoot in Bombay’s central train station was cancelled when a terrorist group started shooting first. In New York the audience shouted, “Traitor” at the premier of You, Me, Jerusalem, which he co-directed with a Palestinian filmmaker. His Globalization Trilogy began in the U.S. with Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town about a small town fighting to keep out the world’s largest retailer. It was followed by China Blue, the story of a teenage Chinese girl who leaves her village to get a job in a jeans factory and descends into sweatshop hell. After a fiction short, Delinquent, he completed the final film in the trilogy, Bitter Seeds. The film looks at the farmers' suicide crisis in India, through the story of one farmer who grows cotton exported to China's garment factories.
Barbara Steele became an icon for horror fans with her double role in this Mario Bava’s unforgettable debut feature. She plays both the innocent Katia, and the witch-vampiress Asa Vajda, who returns to life in 1830, 200 years after she was tortured and executed.
Shot in black and white by the former cinematographer, this gothic classic has an extraordinary creepy atmosphere and shots that imprint themselves on the back of your skull, almost with the force of that mask of death which gave the film its original Italian title.
"One of the movies that remain with me probably stronger than anything is Black Sunday… there’s a lot of old films – [Bava’s] in particular – where the vibe and the feeling is what it’s about… [t]he feeling’s a mixture of eroticism, of sex, of horror and starkness of image, and to me that is more real than what most people would consider realism in films…" Tim Burton
Classified PG. Under-19s welcome with adult accompaniment.
Perhaps you remember Tilikum? The killer whale was a star attraction at Oak Bay, British Columbia’s Sealand of the Pacific park from 1983 to 1992 - when he was shipped out to SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. The sale took place shortly after the tragic death of a trainer, Keltie Byrne, who slipped and fell into the pool. Although Tilikum was officially exonerated from the death, eye-witnesses tell a very different story. And as filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite discovered, this was not to be the last human death associated with the bull orca.
"Blackfish has the capacity to stand the test of time as a gripping documentary synonymous with changing the way people see both killer whales and the multi-billion dollar industry that continues to exploit killer whales as playful tourist attractions" Daniel Pratt, exclaim
"A mesmerizing psychological thriller with a bruised and battered killer whale at its center." Variety
"Has the potential to take our society on the first step in the right direction." Alex Koehne, Twitch
In this brilliant retake on the Grimm fairytale, Blancanieves (Snow White) escapes her wicked stepmother to become a famous matador. Propelled by the Flamenco rhythms of Alfonso de Villalonga’s score, this is one tribute to silent film that has the verve and passion of a musical.
“This film is a wonderment! A striking… full-bodied, visually stunning film.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“An original! Inventive… Contemporary… Imaginative… Charming… and Clever!” David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“Daringly original! A gorgeously shot extravaganza has the cojones to think outside the box and comes out on top.” Boyd Van Hoeij, indiewire
Opening Night supported by First Weekend Club. Come early to enjoy a reception, Siobhan Devine's Vancouver-made short film OMG (starring Gabrille Rose and Matreya Fedor, and a post screening Q&A with director Sean Garrity.
At 41, Nicole is at a point in her life when she is asking is this all there is - or whether she still has more to offer? One day she gets a letter from an anonymous observer who seems to know her daily habits intimately. More than that - he seems to intuit a potential Nicole herself has buried deep inside. He has a plan for her, if she is interested… And so begins a dance that is by turns adventurous, romantic, erotic, reckless and potentially disastrous.
“The plot will creep under your skin and raise your pulse.”
Chris Knight, The National Post
"Tightly crafted… very gripping with a fabulous performance by Michelle Giroux." Brian D Johnson, City TV
“Garrity fashions something tense, steely, and affecting out of a premise that might’ve yielded an erotic fantasy if the events here weren’t so rooted.” Jason Anderson, The Grid
A curtain-raiser for tomorrow’s Coen Bros marathon: the brothers’ first movie, a delectably twisted film noir set in modern day (well, mid 80s) Texas, where Marty (Hedaya) doesn’t much care for the fact that his wife Abby (McDormand) is playing around behind his back. This is one of the great debut films, bursting with malicious wit and style, with an unforgettable performance from character actor M Emmett Walsh as a private dick with a very personal notion of ethics.
"It’s the boys’ most immediately gratifying movie: The goods are delivered in a hearse." Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner
"A tight, beautifully ugly neo-noir classic." Kim Morgan, Portland Oregonian
"As black, sinful and nasty as a weekful of Hitchcocks, this is as fresh and intoxicating now as it was back then. In a word: deadly." Ian Nathan, Empire
Join Canada’s foremost James Bond expert Murray Gillespie for a friendly 007 trivia competition in our atrium lounge. Compete individually or in teams. Prizes to be won! Admission Free but VIFC membership is required (costs $12 but comes with a free movie ticket).
A bluegrass musician and his wife learn their young daughter has cancer in Felix van Groeningen’s masterful evocation of the power of music to convey both joy and sadness. "An immaculately observed, desperately moving story of love, loss, and bluegrass music…"—Indiewire
"Innately understands that sorrow truthfully communicated and shared can be cathartic, rather than depressing." Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
"A gloriously devastating bluegrass masterpiece… Something of a miracle…. Earnest, warm and utterly human." Kurt Halfyard, Twitch
"Intensely moving." David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
Two brothers, orphaned as children: Tomas is now a drifting and withdrawn young man who has an instinctive compassion for others; his older brother Rafael is a university philosophy professor, detached and alone. Their struggles with each other and the world around them take a dramatic turn when they find themselves at a rural Zen center.
An ambitious and imaginative film that uses animation and contemporary voices including poets Jane Hirshfield and US Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, and Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman to explore the life and meaning of the man who became “awake,” and who continues to inspire the diverse Buddhist traditions all over the world.