SON OF MAN
Saturday, October 7th 3:30 pm, Empire Granville 7 Theatre 2
Tuesday, October 10th 9:45 pm, Empire Granville 7 Theatre 2
Sundance is the first film fest out of the gate each year, and what I kept hearing from critics this past January was that two runaway favourites were LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (which definitely seems to be this year's Summer Sleeper) and... A Jesus movie! VIFF writes; "Mark Dornford-May's SON OF MAN (South Africa) is the story of one mother and one child, even though that child is Jesus and his mother the Virgin Mary. Set in contemporary Africa, the film is filled with searing images and music so powerful it may stop your heart." And here's the blurb from the CBC Preview Guide: "A gripping journey of love, deception and betrayal, SON OF MAN translates Jesus' life to modern-day South Africa, where a new politics of compassion incites revolution during a military dictatorship. The new collaboration from Dimpho di Kopane, a South African lyric theatre ensemble and director Mark Dornford-May whose U-CARMEN garnered last year's Berlin Golden Bear."
INTO GREAT SILENCE
Sunday, October 1st 12:15 pm, Empire Granville 7 Theatre 6
Monday, October 9th 12:15 pm, Empire Granville 7 Theatre 6
Wednesday, October 11th 8:00 pm, Empire Granville 7 Theatre 6
Also highly praised at this year's Sundance Festival. It won't be for everybody, but will definitely be for me. The Carthusian Order is a highly reclusive monastic order: when the film-maker approached the head of order's mother house asking to make a documentary about life in the monastery, he was given permission - provided not only the film-maker but the film itself followed the order's vow of Holy Silence. Not a word is spoken in this 160 minute immersion in the quotidian realities of monastic life. "Mesmerizing, almost hypnotic" - VIFF Guide
Sunday, October 1st 4:00 pm, Visa Screening Room @ Empire Granville Th7
Saturday, October 7th 1:00 pm, Ridge Theatre
Sunday, October 8th 9:00 pm, Empire Granville 7 Theatre 4
Based on the same historical events as THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, but from what looks like a fundamentally different perspective than that of EMILY director/writer Scott Derrickson, whose Christian faith comes through in his treatment. Olaf Moller in Film Comment, May-June 2006: "Inspired by the last officially sanctioned exorcism performed in the German Federal Republic, Hans-Christian Schmid's REQUIEM presents a similar journey into death. Set in the Seventies, it tells the story of a devoutly Catholic college student (Sandra Huller, winning the Best Actress Silver Bear) who must decide whether she suffers from epilepsy or is possessed by the devil. At the top of his form, Schmid takes a dour, direct approach to his depiction of this martyr-to-be's negotiation between two irreconcilable realities (a dilemma faced by many during that era). Those around her are well intentioned and genuinely concerned - it's just that their arguments happen to be structured differently than hers. It's less a case of 'Everybody has their reasons' than 'My argument is more compatible with your best interests.'
Those are my three top Soul Food picks. But there's lots of "world religions" stuff that looks great. Some that catch my eye...
THE JUDGE & THE FANATIC (Germany)
"What does Jihad really mean? Documentary explores the Islamic tradition of using dialogue as a means of rehabilitating radicals through discussions about the Islamic faith."
ENCOUNTER POINT (USA/Israel)
If you lost your family to violence, would you seek revenge or find another means to go on? These are the questions that face a group of Israelis and Palestinians..." Audience Award, Best Doc, San Francisco International Film Festival
BUDDHA'S LOST CHILDREN (Netherlands, Mark Verkerk)
"Phra Khru Bah is the Tiger Monk, a former Thai Boxer turned one-man crusader, hose mission it is to help Thailand's poorest children. In a place beset by methamphetamine addiction, poverty and suffering, The Golden Horse Orphanage offers a different way of life through ancient Buddhist principles. A thoughtful work from director Mark Verkerk."
IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS (USA)
Documentary illuminates post-war Iraq in three acts, a vivid picture of a country pulled in different directions by religion and ethnicity."
Flicks that may contain traces of soul food include SOUND OF THE SOUL and WHEN THE ROAD BENDS, blurbed thusly - "Musicians come together to create something ephemeral that nonetheless can unite people divided by religion, culture, and ethnicity - Stephen Olsson's SOUND OF THE SOUL: THE FEZ FESTIVAL OF WORLD SACRED MUSIC (USA) brings together people from remarkably disparate cultures to sing and praise together. So too, the gypsy musicians in Jasmine Dellal's WHEN THE ROAD BENDS (USA) share a common need to make a holy noise."
And maybe THE FOUNTAIN, Darren Aronofsky's follow-up to PI and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, an "eagerly awaited epic metaphysical adventure: over the span of a thousand years, Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz and Ellen Burstyn searc for love, loss and the fountain of youth"; and how about FROM AFAR, "A trilogy of spiritual quests set in contemporary Tehran, a hero in three different incarnations perpetually seeks the ineffable," or HEAVEN'S DOORS, "three interconnected stories of revenge and justice set in contemporary Casablanca, a world in which young men must make many - often lightning fast - moral decisions."
A few others that may not have any particularly spiritual angle, but which have caught my eye; COLOUR ME KUBRICK, kind of CLOSE-UP meets BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, "based n the antics of real-life Brit conman Alan Conway who made his way around London posing as Stanley Kubrick... anchored by John Malkovich's delectable lead performance"; THE PERVERT'S GUIDE TO CINEMA, "an exhilarating thrill ride through cinema's subconscious, guided by star Slovenian psychoanalytic academic: Zizek speaks from within the films themselves" - Norman Bates' cellar, the BLUE VELVET wardrobe, etc.
Tickets on sale at 685-8297 or www.viff.org
Oct 13: Festival closes
Oct 14-16: "VIFF Repeats" showcase of the Festival's most popular films (at VIFC)