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Day Twelve: 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival


Although not as strong as the first week, the second week of the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival has possessed enough credibly realistic cinematic endeavour (in other words, fucking good cinema) as to gladden the heart of any true Festival-goer. Honestly, the 2007 VIFF has emerged as the strongest Festival in years, not just for the films VanRamblings has attended and swooned over, but also for the dozens of others films for which the buzz is near euphoric.

In addition to the films VanRamblings has written about previously, there are ever more films that are must-sees, films without conventional distribution which we can only hope (if there is a God in the heavens) that Mark Peranson and the programming crew at the VanCity Theatre will bring back during the next year ...


Battle in Seattle (Grade: A): One of the two punch-in-the gut films to screen at this year's Festival (the other, London To Brighton), offering a fictive treatment of the World Trade Organization’s 1999 meetings in Seattle, Battle in Seattle is the single most gut-wrenching film we've seen this year. The scene with Charlize Theron in the alley way is simply the most devastating two-and-a-half minutes of filmmaking you'll see this year. Who'da thunk that a fictional rendering of the 1999 World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Seattle would prove both so moving and movement-oriented? A tour-de-force work by first-time helmer Stuart Townsend — with outstanding, Oscar worthy performances from Charlize Theron, Sam Riley, Michelle Rodriguez, Woody Harrelson, Andre 3000 and Ray Liotta — Battle in Seattle is an absolute must-see when it returns for its regular run later this year. One of the best films of 2007.


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Grade: A+): Easily the best film at the 2007 VIFF, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is also the best film of the year (quite simply, you won't see more accomplished cinema this year). From the wrenching central performances of Marie-Josee Croze and Mathieu Amalric to the work of the film's outstanding supporting cast (Max von Sydow and Emmanuelle Seigner, among others), from Janusz Kaminski's cooly luminous cinematography to Ronald Harwood's erudite script, and mostly for its humanity and hopeful reflection on the human condition — man, woman and child — The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is must-see cinema. Slated to open in Vancouver on Christmas day.


The Edge of Heaven (Grade: A): German cinema is particularly strong at this year's Fest, but the best trend overall in world cinema in 2007 is the taut, spare nature of filmmaking from across the globe. Not ponderous American hoo-haw, but honest-to-goodness storytelling about real people, in films that don't dawdle and lead you on, but get in, rip your heart out with the story that is being told, and get out, leaving you devastated, changed, a better person for the experience. How wonderful to see Hanna Schygulla after all these years, and how wonderful, too, to witness the birth of a cinematic auteur in writer-director Fatih Akın. How fortunate for you that The Edge of Heaven screens twice this week — Tuesday, Oct. 9th at 1 p.m. at the Granville 7, and Wednesday, Oct. 10th at 10 a.m., again at the Granville 7. You'll want to skip work to see The Edge of Heaven.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 8, 2007 1:37 AM in VIFF 2007


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