Vancity Theatre Screening
Films in this Series
The release of The Theory of Everything, and indeed, the "science" of box office hit Interstellar, allows us the perfect excuse to bring back this fascinating meeting of minds between Stephen Hawking and eminent US documentarian Errol Morris. With a score by Philip Glass.
The first Iranian Vampire Western ever made, Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut basks in the sheer pleasure of pulp. A joyful mash-up of genre, archetype, and iconography, its prolific influences span spaghetti westerns, graphic novels, horror films, and the Iranian New Wave.
"Amirpour has crafted a beguiling, cryptic and often surprisingly funny look at personal desire that creeps up on you with the nimble powers of its supernatural focus. The director combines elements of film noir and the restraint of Iranian New Wave cinema with the subdued depictions of a bored youth culture found in early Jim Jarmusch ... The comparisons go on and on, but the result is wholly original." — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
"A wildly inventive Iranian vampire movie that grabs you by the throat with its dark, moody style, pulsating soundtrack and offbeat love story." — David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
Yogananda was the Hindu Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. Paramahansa Yogananda authored the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers and yoga enthusiasts today. This unconventional documentary has won critical plaudits everywhere it has screened.
"Fittingly enlightening, Awake: The Life of Yogananda is a vivid, elegantly assembled portrait of the savvy guru with the cherubic face and penetrating gaze who brought meditation to the West." — Michael Rechtschaffen, LA Times
"Gentle sitar music, languorous camerawork and soothing narration ... This could be a good movie to do yoga by." — The New York Times
After receiving its North American premiere at last year’s VIFF, this French-made documentary about political cartoonists around the world has acquired terrible new relevence after the atrocity of the Charlie Hebdo murders.
“Just like the best political cartoons, the documentary ... manages to synthesize a vast subject in ways both insightful and, at times, frightfully funny.” — Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter
In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras was in the process of constructing a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four,” who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. In June 2013, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald flew to Hong Kong for the first of many meetings with the man who turned out to be Edward Snowden. She brought her camera with her.
"The documentary of the year may also be its most hair-raising thriller." — Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"This patient, beautiful, painful, engrossing film pits husband and wife against each other and their world in a series of extended conversations/confrontations." — Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
"Tense and frightening ... a primal political fable for the digital age." — New York Times
“In this 2014 sequel to the award-winning You’ve Been Trumped, director
Anthony Baxter once again follows American billionaire Donald Trump and a cast of other greedy characters who want to turn some of the Earth’s most precious places into golf courses and playgrounds for the super rich.”
This event is $10 and includes a panel discussion/Q&A and a dinner buffet/beverages.
Directors Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott’s 2013 film “chronicles ‘America’s leading environmentalist,’ Bill McKibben, in a David-vs-Goliath battle to fight the fossil fuel industry and change the terrifying math of the climate crisis.” This event is $5 and includes a panel discussion/Q&A and snacks/beverages.
Micah Smith’s 2013 Honor Diaries “is the first film to break the silence on ‘honor violence’ against women and girls. Honor Diaries is more than a movie, it is a movement to save women and girls from human rights abuses around the world.” This event is $5 and includes a panel discussion/Q&A and snacks/beverages.
Belle star Gugu Mbatha-Raw is marvellous as the extraordinary young singer who is propelled in to a roller-coaster career in pop by her ambitious mother (Minnie Driver). The movie chronicles how the music industry remakes Noni in its own highly sexualized image, but suggests (with an element of wish fulfillment) that there is a way out, and true love can save the day.
"Magnificent ... On its surface [it] seems to be a candy-colored pop fantasy about the love between a beautiful hip-hop superstar and a hunky cop. To be fair, it’s not not that. But how bracing today to have a film that’s at once fun, patient, romantic, and real ... Beyond the Lights is a deft, gorgeous movie ... As we watch this dreamy, colorful piece of musical and romantic wish-fulfillment, we get the distinct sense we’re watching real life unfold." — Bilge Ebiri, New York magazine
"One of the most pleasurable moviegoing experiences I had this year." — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
When tenor Paul Potts performed Puccini’s Nessun Dorma on the first episode of TV show Britain’s Got Talent in 2007 it caused a sensation. 115 million YouTube hits later, the South Wales phone salesman’s story has inspired this warm, funny, very British feel-good movie, a curtain-opener for our 2015 Royal Opera House series, which starts in March.
"Irresistible." — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
"A sweet, funny, heartfelt film." — Annlee Ellingson, LA Times
"Hits all the right notes." — Anthony Kaufman, Screen International
Ana Valine’s darkly comic drama centres on mother/daughter con artists who just can’t catch a break. Seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Sammie (Paloma Kwiatkowski)—who lives with her pill-popping, alcoholic mom Marlene (Suzanne Clément)—this bittersweet journey leads us through dysfunction, love and addiction, before culminating with an unusual deliverance for this compelling pair. Winner, Best Director, Leo Awards 2014.
Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, this is a contemporary story imbued with the rich, tangy flavour of Celtic mysticism. Ben is a lousy big brother to six-year-old Saoirse — he’s resentful that she can’t (or won’t) speak, and can’t forgive that his mum died during childbirth. Their dad (voiced by Brendan Gleason) hasn’t gotten over it either, but still their life together on the lonely island where he’s a lighthouse keeper seems infinitely preferable to the conventional upbringing their gran has in mind for them, living with her in Dublin. What none of them understands is how fundamentally Saoirse is connected both to her mother, and to the sea ... Dazzling kaleidoscopic imagery and a soulful approach make Song of the Sea is a magical experience, recommended for all ages.
"A quite delightful piece of magical animation ... a bewitching, moving and often enchanting film." — Mark Adams, Hollywood Reporter
"Song of the Sea is a wonder to behold. This visually stunning animation masterwork, steeped in Irish myth, folklore and legend, so adroitly mixes the magical and the everyday that to watch it is to be wholly immersed in an enchanted world." — Kenneth Turan, LA Times
"If I had to recommend the best children’s film out there for all ages, this one, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, would easily top the charts." — Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
Discovered by a wood cutter inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl lights up the life of this childless peasant and his wife — even though they’re perplexed by the lightning speed with which she grows into an exquisite young lady. Their "little princess" enthralls everyone she meets, and bestows such bounty on the family that they wood cutter moves them to a city mansion, where she is courted by the most eligible bachelors far and wide. A gem of a film from Studio Ghibli’s other master, Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies).
“Princess Kaguya has the feel of a true Takahata film, from its unshrinking emotional fidelity to its sudden, exhilarating leaps into fantasy ... There is a deep wisdom in this film, but a deep sadness too. If it is Takahata’s farewell, it’s one that will have a long echo, just like his 1,000-year-old source.” — Mark Schilling, Japan Times
"A visionary tour de force." — Maggie Lee, Variety
A pinnacle of animation in the new millennium." — Matt Patches, IGN Movies
The thinking pervert’s 50 Shades of Grey, this ritualized SM lesbian love story is at once tongue-in-cheek erotica, a high art porno pastiche, and, most perversely of all, a sincerely unsettling but genuinely moving love story worthy of Luis Bunuel himself.
"Visually ravishing, emotionally wise, and kinky as a coiled rope, writer-director Peter Strickland’s third feature The Duke of Burgundy is a delight." — Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter
"Strickland’s sapphic giallo dream is a tied up and twisted masterpiece." — David Ehrlich, Little White Lies
"So teasing and elusive that after one viewing, you just want to watch the thing again, and feel your way again around its contours." — Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph
Once upon a time in Vancouver, there was a baseball team called the Asahi, This was in the 1930s, when the city had a small Japantown on the downtown wharves, and the team was formed by the Canadian-born kids of immigrants. Smaller, and weaker, than the Caucasian teams, they struggled at first — but then they figured out a smarter way to win ... Like a Fred Herzog exhibition brought to life, this is a lavish historical piece, a more philosophical type of sports movie than we’re used to in N America, but something that we can recognize as part and parcel of our own cultural heritage.
"From a Vancouver perspective it’s a fascinating film. Beautifully shot, it recreates a lost world in Japantown, when Powell Street was all Japanese businesses and the Powell Street Grounds (today’s Oppenheimer Park) was a baseball park filled with throngs of Asahi fans." — John Mackie, Vancouver Sun
Like 50 Feet From Stardom this is the story of unsung heroes, the session musicians who made the 60s swing. Guaranteed, you will never hear pop from that era the same way again. Touching on everyone from the Beach Boys to Elvis, Sinatra to Sonny & Cher, this is an astonishing glimpse behind the scenes at the hey day of American pop. "Wonderful, touching and hilarious." — Elvis Costello
"A treasure trove of witness-at-creation anecdotes and enduringly potent ’60s pop classics, The Wrecking Crew is a well-nigh irresistible treat for aficionados of music from the era when acts like the Beach Boys, the Association and the Monkees were topping the charts. Pic celebrates a loose-knit group of largely unknown (except by industry insiders) session musicians, many of whom supplied the defining licks and backbeats — and in some cases, actually played instruments for band members — on legendary recordings." — Joe Leydon, Variety
Presenting one of the most popular romances of recent times in a less than wholesome new light, this is the Valentine’s Day show for anyone who can’t get date, doesn’t want one, or has partnered up with someone as cynical, bitter and sardonic as themselves. Whether you love The Notebook, hate it, hate that you love it, or tell anyone who will listen that you’ve never seen it, come vent your "frustrations" at the saccharine love story that set the bar for romance at an unattainable height and unleashed Gosling fever upon the universe with a no-holds-barred text takedown. Bring your drinks into the theatre, leave your phone on, flex your thumbs, stretch your wit, and heckle until your sides split.
Download the iOS MuVChat app to your iphone or send texts through your regular texting service.
A masterpiece from Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the Palme d’Or winner at Cannes last year is a dense, Chekhovian drama about Aydin, a middle-aged hotel owner (a retired actor who fancies himself a man of learning and enlightenment), his considerably younger wife, his divorced sister, and several of his tenants – all of whom harbour resentments Aydin simply cannot comprehend.
"A richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful magnum opus." – Justin Chang, Variety
“Intricate, monumental and mysterious. This is masterfully staged and performed.” – Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader