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Woody Allen: Spring Collection

The second part in our year-long retrospective, Woody Allen: 4 Seasons brings us to the Spring Collection, and several examples of what Allen himself famously dubbed "the early, funny ones". Take the Money and Run qualifies on both counts: his very first feature as director, it’s an hilarious spoof true crime documentary. Woody plays Virgil Starkwell, public schmuck number one.

"Very special, and eccentric, and funny." The New York Times

"Roll in the aisles, hold-your-sides laughter." LA Times

The Best of Hot Docs


TICKET PACKS
* VIFC Guest + Volunteer Passes are not valid for Best Of Hot Docs Series

Director Cullen Hoback will host a Q+A following the screening.

How much of yourself have you already given away on the internet? Nobody really reads the terms and conditions routinely applied to almost every digital service agreement, but if we did, what would we find there? Cullen Hoback’s scary doc has answers to the questions you don’t even want to Google.

"This documentary should be mandatory viewing for everyone who uses the internet." John Ford, Slug Magazine

"If you believe the privacy promises of online giants like Google and Facebook, then Cullen Hoback’s doc will remove the scales from your eyes and your hand away from your mouse." Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

"Witty yet chilling." Brian D Johnston, Macleans

Vancity Theatre Screening

How much of yourself have you already given away on the internet? Nobody really reads the terms and conditions routinely applied to almost every digital service agreement, but if we did, what would we find there? Cullen Hoback’s scary doc has answers to the questions you don’t even want to Google.

"This documentary should be mandatory viewing for everyone who uses the internet." John Ford, Slug Magazine

"If you believe the privacy promises of online giants like Google and Facebook, then Cullen Hoback’s doc will remove the scales from your eyes and your hand away from your mouse." Peter Howell, The Toronto Star

"Witty yet chilling." Brian D Johnston, Macleans

Italian Film Festival

When an elderly Sicilian fisherman rescues a boatload of African immigrants, he must decide whether to do what the law demands or what he knows to be right. A political powder keg sparks intense drama in Emanuele Crialese’s compelling and relevant piece of humanist filmmaking.

"Crialese is a sentimentalist at heart, but a fine one, and his compassion for the wretched of the earth is thrillingly amped by the movie’s ecstatic imagery. Like his neo-realist forebears before him, the director turns everyday activities and furtive acts — tending to a rotting boat, beating desperate refugees away from a tiny vessel, the tender ablutions of those same refugees on the shore — into a theater of danger, cruelty and sensual delight." Ella Taylor, NPR

"A stirring commentary on our better angels." Gary Goldstein, LA Times

Vancity Theatre Screening

Author Robert K Elder asked 35 filmmakers to champion a movie that they love, but which had either been overlooked or reviled by critics and audiences. The result, ’The Best Film You’ve Never Seen’ is fascinating both for what it reveals about the directors he talked to and for their insights into some seriously neglected films. Case in point: Frank Perry’s The Swimmer, starring Burt Lancaster as a man who decides to swim his way home across Connecticut, one backyard swimming pool at a time. Selected by Alex Proyas (Dark CIty), this is seriously strange movie, but one that stands the test of time.

"As do few movies, The Swimmer stays in the memory like an echo that never quite disappears." Vincent Canby, New York TImes

"Enigmatic, poetic, disturbing." Kim Newman, Empire

"Burt Lancaster is superb in his finest performance." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

Witches

Based on a notorious historical incident in which the sixteenth century French town of Loudun was swept up in tide of witch-hunting mania, Ken Russell’s searing movie kept censors busy all over the world with its shocking imagery and no-holds-barred assault on ecclesiastical hypocrisy. Forty years on it retains its power, not least for the astounding, career-best performances from Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave, Derek Jarman’s bold production design, and the electrifying score by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

"The pinnacle of Russell’s astonishing career, blending the exuberant visuals and musical underpinning of his most most exotic fantasies wieh a serious undercurrent of outraged political intent… a fearsome, breathtaking masterwork." Mark Kermode, BBC

"A garish glossary of sado-masochism… a taste for visual sensation that makes scene after scene look like the masturbatory fantasies of a Roman Catholic boyhood." Alexander Walker, Evening Standard

Vancity Theatre Screening

Produced over the first decade of the twenty first century, Micha Peled’s Globalization Trilogy puts a human face on complex issues resulting from global economic forces that are shaping life today worldwide. "Store wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town" (2001) focuses on consumerism in the U.S., observing the impact in a small town when Wal-Mart decides to build a new mega-store there. "China Blue" (2005) is a heartbreaking expose of the sweatshop labor conditions in China that allow us to buy cheap blue jeans in the West. The third film in the trilogy (showing separately) "Bitter Seeds" (2011) looks at the raw materials, and specifically Monsanto’s push to supply cotton seeds to farmers in India - with devastating results.

"Store Wars becomes a fascinating study in community action and a valuable reminder that people still can care enough about a place to fight for it." New York Times

"China Blue, a heartbreaking and meticulous documentary about life inside a blue-jeans factory in China, reveals more than we may care to know." The New York Times


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.

Panelist include:

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.

 

 

(Padroni di casa)
Italian Film Festival

Equal parts drama, comedy and thriller, The Landlords is a riveting film from actor-turneddirector, Edoardo Gabbriellini with a sensational cast including legendary real-life singer Gianni Morandi making a return to the big screen after 40 years. Cosimo (Valerio Mastandrea) and Elia (Elio Germano) are two young brothers dreaming of success in the construction business. They travel from Rome to a remote Apennines mountain village where they have been contracted to rebuild a villa for the retired singer Fausto Mieli, a divisive local figure who is planning a comeback concert.

(Le dernier des injustes)
Vancity Theatre Screening

Claude Lanzmann, whose epic "Shoah" is certainly the definitive film about the Holocaust, returns to one of the subjects from that masterpiece to unravel the tale of the ‘model’ concentration camp, Theresienstadt, and the ambiguous leader of its Jewish Council, Benjamin Murmelstein.

"A discursive, essential Shoah postscript centered on as fascinating and inconvenient a figure as may have survived Hitler’s annihilation." Michelle Orange, Village Voice

"Those who think this is a black-and-white issue will be surprised, as Lanzmann himself appears to have been, by what is said here." Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“Utterly fascinating. A reminder of another way documentaries can be made: simply, agonizingly, without comedy or narcissism, and with unforgettable, almost unbearable power."

Stephen Marche, Esquire

SPARK FX

Filmed in BC, John Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic is a bone fide Antarctic chiller. American antarctic researchers come across a burned out Norwegian base - and the buried UFO which may be linked to the carnage.

"The Thing is one of [Carpenter’s] greatest moments, creating a terrifying atmosphere of claustrophobia, suspense and paranoia. And Kurt Russell is as good as he’s ever been, wearing one of the best beards in movie history." Total Film

SPARK FX

Ingeniously devised to dovetail with events at the remote Norwegian Antarctic base, this underrated prequel to Carpenter’s modern classic is a tense chiller that pays respect to the past while showcasing cutting edge CGI fx by Vancouver’s Image Engine.

"It’s full of chills and thrills and isolated Antarctic atmosphere and terrific Hieronymus Bosch creature effects, and if it winks genially at the plot twists of Carpenter’s film, it never feels even a little like some kind of inside joke." Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

007 Reloaded: Bond vs Bond

Emilio Largo, the Number 2 at SPECTRE, has stolen two nuclear warheads. He threatens to destroy a city in the United States and England unless a ransom of $100 million in diamonds is paid. 007 heads out to the Bahamas to stop him.

"It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Super-Bond!" Hollywood Reporter

(El lugar mas pequeño)
After Effects: Guatemala and El Salvador

Joy and sorrow: These are the first words uttered in Huezo’s film, and the emotional key notes in one of the most moving documentaries of recent times. On the surface The Tiniest Place is the story of Cinquera, a village literally wiped off the official map during El Salvador’s 12-year civil war. But on a deeper level it is a story about the ability to rise, to rebuild and reinvent oneself after a tragedy.

"A profound expression of the twin powers of life and death…The subject of the Central American wars of recent decades has rarely received such a level of artistic treatment onscreen." Robert Koehler, Variety

"Unforgettable…One of the finest docs I’ve seen over the past year." Howard Feinstein, Filmmaker Magazine

"Superb. 10/10." —Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters

Vancity Theatre Screening

Intrepid and determined, climate journalist and adventurer Bernice Notenboom introduces a sneak preview of her upcoming Knowledge Network TV series Tipping Points, and will talk about how her work exposes the cutting edge of climate change.

The Royal Opera House presents...

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.

Vancity Theatre Screening

Master director Jia Zhangke’s most popular film yet, this Cannes prize-winning drama shows China’s gangsters, massage parlours, vicious bosses and desperate workers drawn into a whirlwind of violence, passion and vengeance. This brilliantly achieved film is a vital state-of-China bulletin, torn straight from today’s bloody headlines.

"A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, "A Touch of Sin" is at once monumental and human scale." Manohla Dargis, New York Times

"A bold, invigorating statement from a director who keeps reinventing himself." Scott Tobias, The Dissolve

"Intensely, consistently gripping." AA Dowd, AV Club

Vancity Theatre Screening

Candida Brady’s documentary looks at the growing global crisis of trash, highlighting how human health and the environment are threatened by the pollution from burning and discarding waste. Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and beautiful: an interplay of human stories and ecological disruption. But it ends on a message of hope: showing how the risk to our survival can be averted through sustainable pathways that provide economic solutions while protecting our air, water and food resources

"Crucial viewing for realists and alarmists both." 5 stars! Joe Neumeier, NY Daily News

The Royal Opera House presents...

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.

Tickets $22

Vancity Theatre Screening

Heroes don’t come more gold-plated than Muhammad Ali. But if you’re too young to remember the 1960s then you may be shocked to discover how controversial the heavyweight champion was in his heyday. Indeed, he was a constant thorn in the side of the establishment, and a hate figure for much of the mainstream media.

"The best Muhammad Ali doc I’ve ever seen and - dare I say - I’ve seen ’em all.” Dave Zirin, The Nation

"A wholly illuminating look at Muhammad Ali in all his complexity, providing a surprisingly fresh and vivid portrait of a man who played rope-a-dope with history, religion and sport." Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

"Bill Siegel’s audacious documentary puts new heat and focus on what an extraordinary figure Muhammad Ali was outside the boxing ring. No film has probed this deeply into the fallout from his name change or his complex bond with Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam. And the saga of Ali’s refusal to be drafted during Vietnam becomes a profile in courage — a tale of shocking vilification and faith lost and found. A-" Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Vancity Theatre Screening

Inexplicably repudiated by most critics and audiences last year, Killing Them Softly is ripe for rediscovery, a highly stylized, caustic satire which uses a hired killer (Brad Pitt) as an emblem for the last word in private enterprise. Based on George V Higgins’ novel Cogan’s Trade, but updated to the economic meltdown (and Presidential election campaign) of 2008, and set in a mildewed, post Katrina New Orleans, the movie may be the last great film noir. Gandolfini is at his very best as another professional killer, a bloated, vicious, self-pitying wreck of a man, perhaps the ghost of Coogan’s Future.

"Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly is a slick ensemble-nightmare of middle-management mobster brutality and incompetence in the tradition of Goodfellas and Casino, Pulp Fiction and TV’s The Sopranos, with something of the opening voiceover monologue from the Coens’ Blood Simple: the one about being on your own. It is outstandingly watchable, superbly and casually pessimistic… a smart, nasty, gripping movie." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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