Wednesday, September 29, 2010

viff 2010 | other films of interest

And here's a handful of other films in the 2010 Vancouver International Film Festival that caught my eye for one reason or another...

A couple years back, I played a juror in Pacific Theatre's staged reading of 12 Angry Men, a film I've loved since I was young. This treatment intrigues, and reminds me of what was probably the most powerful episode of my favourite radio program, This American Life.

12 Angry Lebanese: The Documentary
Winner of both the top prize for documentary film and the People's Choice Award at the Dubai Film Festival, Zeina Daccache's inspired project actually transformed the lives of many men. In Lebanon's infamous Roumieh Prison, inmates stage a version of 12 Angry Men. Revealing the tremendous dignity and despair of the prisoners, the process catalyzes hope and offers an extraordinary experience for the audience.
Fri, Oct 1st 7:00pm | G7
Sun, Oct 3rd 4:00pm | G7
Wed, Oct 6th 11:00am | G7

Actress friend Shannon Braithwaite recommends this one; "don't forget to check out a great Canadian film killing it on the festival circuit, Snow & Ashes, at VIFF. It won at Slamdance and has won one award or another at most every other festival it's screened at. I HIGHLY recommend it. I saw it and it blew me away. I was just so proud to be Canadian when it cleaned up down in Park City!
Snow and Ashes
Winner of the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Film at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival, Charles-Olivier Michaud's exceptionally strong first feature is a gripping tale about the extraordinary lengths that war correspondents go to for a story, and the bonds that are formed when their lives are constantly at risk. Foreign war correspondent Blais Dumas awakens from a coma to find himself in a hospital room in Quebec City. His best friend and collaborator David has not come back with him and David's girlfriend Sophie is waiting for an explanation. The story unfolds in a series of flashbacks that slowly shed light on the relationships between the three main characters and the events that led to David's disappearance.
Fri, Oct 8th 9:30pm | G7
Sun, Oct 10th 10:45am | Cinematheque

Any cinephile older than 25 remembers rep cinemas - The Ridge, the VanEast in their glory days - with nostalgia, and regret at their passing. (Video killed the rep cinema star.) 
My Film and My Story
Made by a team of seven students at Konkuk University, this highly entertaining feature is both a love-letter to the vanishing concept of repertory cinema and a comic riff on student dating. Each of the eight chapters is obliquely inspired by a favourite film: from Jarmusch to Wong Kar Wai via Fassbinder, Truffaut and Lang.
Sat, Oct 2nd 9:15pm | Cinematheque
Sun, Oct 3rd 1:30pm | Cinematheque

Ramin Bahrani's Chop Shop is a fine no-frills quasi-documentary about a boy and his sister scrabbling to build a life in the chaos of Willet's Point. Here's a full-on doc shot on that same turf.
Foreign Parts
(USA, 2010, 82 min)
A minority world of recycled refuse, the sprawling industrial zone of junkyards and auto salvage shops in Willet's Point, Queens, NY, is slated for demolition. Shot over three years, Verena Paravel and J. P. Sniadecki's remarkable observational doc presents this bustling community as it struggles to survive. Winner, Best First Film, Locarno 2010.
Mon, Oct 4th 10:45am | Pacific Cinematheque
Wed, Oct 13th 6:30pm | G7
Thu, Oct 14th 3:45pm | G7

Nothing to say about these three except the write-ups grab me....

Cold Weather
(U.S.A., Aaron Katz, 96 min)
One of the most critically acclaimed American films of the year, the irresistible Portland-set Cold Weather will knock your socks off. Aaron Katz's adventurous and entertaining leap forward is a shape-shifting feature that's a delicious amalgam of family-bonding drama, mumblecore riff and genuinely involving genre exercise.
Sat, Oct 9th 6:45pm | G7
Mon, Oct 11th 1:30pm | G7

Down Terrace
(UK, 2009, 93 min)
"Ben Wheatley's zingy, caustic first feature was co-written by Robin Hill, who stars opposite his real-life father, Robert, as pathetic dad-son kingpins of a two-bit syndicate in Brighton... Further autobiographical touches... heighten the sense in this kitchen-sink comedy that the greater psychopathological unit is the nuclear, not the crime, family..." Village Voice
Sun, Oct 3rd 11:00am | G7
Thu, Oct 7th 9:15pm | G7

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
(Romania, Andrei Ujica, 187 min)
Completely compiled from official Romanian state propaganda, Andrei Ujica's masterful third film in a loose trilogy is a galloping, globetrotting reinvention of found-footage filmmaking, showing Nicolae Ceausescu as the Great Dictator wanted himself to be presented. The parades in North Korea alone are worth the price of admission.
Wed, Oct 6th 2:15pm | G7
Mon, Oct 11th 8:30pm | G7

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