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Italian Film Festival

A beautifully structured and photographed film, John Turturro’s rapturous Passione offers a vibrant exploration and celebration of Neapolitan music in all its grit and glory, presenting 23 musical numbers that encompass a millennium’s worth of influences.

DOCside

If you think Amour was too sentimental, then this extraordinary documentary from Brian Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky (Frances) is just what you crave: the filmmakers spent years visiting a nursing home, charting the progress of senility, dementia, and of course death among the residents. All this narrated with bleak, wrily philosophical humor by one of their number. The film is not journalistic, but poetic, a "dirge", in the words of the filmmakers - and one you will not forget in a hurry.

"The Patron Saints was the single best film I saw during the festival run of Putty Hill." - Matt Porterfield

"Mainly, this observational realism serves the filmmakers exceedingly well, creating a humane, almost elegiac atmosphere, with occasional flashes of black humour, all of it heightened by a soundtrack of choral music that culminates in Arvo Part’s ethereal version of My Heart’s in the Highlands." Kate Taylor, Globe & Mail

"Bleak, moving, expressionistic." NOW magazine

Vancity Theatre Screening

A People Uncounted tells the story of the Roma, commonly referred to as Gypsies-a people who have been both romanticized and vilified in popular culture. The Roma have endured centuries of intolerance and persecution in Europe, most notably the Holocaust genocide where an estimated 500,000 were murdered. A People Uncounted documents their culturally rich yet often difficult lives, and demonstrates how their present state has been deeply shaped by the tragedies of the past.

“Profoundly moving…a powerful documentary on the plight of the Roma people through history…an expansive essay on prejudice and the resilience of the human spirit. 4 stars” Montreal Gazette

"The eye witness accounts in this film cry out to be heard." Chris Knight, National Post

Vancity Theatre Screening

A rebellious teenager (Tatiana Maslany, Grown Up Movie Star) forced to repeat her last year of high school is caught between adolescence and adulthood — and between two very different male admirers — in this charming and vibrant debut feature from writer-director Kate Melville.

“One of the smartest movies on youth I have seen since “Freaks & Geeks.” Jason Whyte, efilmcritic

 

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“Smartly written and directed by Kate Melville, Picture Day is a well-executed coming-of-age drama that distinguishes itself with its strong sense of its characters and their emotional universe.” Adam Cook, Filmmaker Magazine

“Engaging, funny and evokes all the beautiful awkwardness and confidence of being a teenager … Kate Melville has tapped into something very funny, real, and uniquely female … Tatiana Maslany absolutely steals the film as Claire … One of the best teen films this country’s ever produced.” Katarina Gligorijevic, Toronto Film Scene

Vancity Theatre Screening

The Golden Lion winner at last year’s Venice Film Festival, this is a controversial and intense drama about a tough, brutal loan shark redeemed by the unqualified love of a woman claiming to be his long-lost mother. Violent and provocative, Pieta is nothing if not extreme, a movie reveling in almost absurdist dichotomies of good and evil. But if you can stomach the challenging first hour, the pay off tells us something unexpectedly poetic and moving about the relative value of money and compassion in today’s capitalist society.

"A master provocateur playing out his own neuroses and obsessions on the big screen…Like Lars Von Trier, his films don’t always work. But when they do … well, when they do Kim is capable of creating work that disturbs and troubles and finds beauty in unexpected places. This is one of those films." Todd Brown, Twitch

"The worst major festival winner since the Palme d’Or for Amour." Christoph Huber, Cinema Scope

"Pieta," a curiously engaging and wickedly twisted tale of crime and punishment on multiple levels, displays its theatrical minimalism like a dour badge of honor. " Eric Kohn, Indiewire

DOCside

8 players with 703 years between them compete in the World over 80s Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. Terry (81) having been given a week to live, gets in sight of winning gold. Inge (89) has used table tennis to train her way out of the dementia ward she committed herself to. Australian legend Dorothy deLow is 100, and finds herself a mega celebrity in this rarefied world and Texan Lisa Modlich, a new-comer at 85 years old, is determined to do whatever it takes to win her first gold.

"It is about ageing, mortality, friendship, ambition and love. The stories stay with you for hours, weeks, after the credits have rolled. But perhaps its most powerful achievement is to leave us with a more humane conception of sport, and of life itself."

Matthew Syed - The Times

"What a heart-warmer… ’Inspirational’ barely covers it." Anthony Quinn, The Independent

"An unabashed crowdpleaser bouncing between sweetly satirical and sincerely moving." Total Film

DOCside

This portrait of deaf-blind Korean poet and essayist Young-chan is one of the most life-affirming films you will see - it’s a film about the communication of the senses, and the magical symbiosis of a loving marriage.

"Planet of Snail is simple, direct and magical. The warm, intimate story of a singular couple, it won the top prize at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, and it will win you over as well if you give it the chance." Kenneth Turan, LA Times

"A love story of uncommon loveliness and simplicity." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

"A perfect date movie." Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

WOODY ALLEN 4 SEASONS: Woody in Winter

During the Great Depression, a New Jersey housewife returns again to again to watch RKO’s latest madcap Manhattan romance. So great is her devotion to the movie that one of the characters, Tom Baxter, can’t refrain from commenting on it - stepping down from the screen and into real life. Complications ensue.