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Day Two, 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival
Beautiful, Strong Women Abound at This Year's Fest


Nine films screened by VanRamblings in the first two days of the 2007 VIFF, and six of those films proved to be outstanding. At this juncture it must be said: this is a fucking great Festival, one of the strongest in years.

The first film on Friday was one of the most hotly anticipated documentaries of the year, and a certain Oscar contender come years' end:


My Kid Could Paint That (Grade: A-): With 4-year-old Marla Olmstead an absolutely engaging presence at the centre of, but oblivious to, the maelstrom of activity involving questions as to the veracity of her talent for painting vibrant, ethereal abstracts, during the compact 81-minute running time of producer-director Amir Bar-Lev's thought-provoking film, the viewer is taken on a roller coaster ride the likes of which you're unlikely to experience in the cinema anywhere outside a screening of this film, this year. Marla's embattled dental assistant mother, Laura, comes across as the single most sympathetic, articulate, bright, strong and caring person you're likely to see on film this year. Rotten Tomatoes scores this film at 100%, and deservedly so. Screening again next Friday, October 4th at 6:20 p.m. at the Granville 7, and at 4 p.m. the following Thursday, October 11th at 3 p.m. this is one film you don't want to miss. Another must-see at the 2007 VIFF.

Next up on the day's film journey ...

7 Years (Grade B-): The second sub-par film in the Spotlight on France film series, 7 ans is a kitchen sink drama which relates the somewhat perverse story of a young woman who, in the course of visiting her husband in jail, comes to have an affair with one of her husband's keepers. Gritty and real, yet dramatically unsatisfying, 7 years offers low-budget, hardscrabble cable fare which manages only to be sporadically involving.

Taking a break in the afternoon to enjoy unseasonably warm and sunny weather, it was back to the Granville 7 at 6:20 p.m. for a screening of ...


Caramel (Grade: A-): Along with Shotgun Stories, this Lebanese film may very well be VanRamblings' favourite film thus far at the 2007 VIFF. Early Almodóvar in style and presentation, Caramel will likely emerge as the most accomplished film to screen at the this year's fest. Written, directed and starring the stunningly beautiful and talented Nadine Labaki, the film emerged as a big hit at Cannes this year. In the early going Caramel would have to be considered the odds-on favourite for a 2007 Best Foreign Film Oscar. Sun-drenched and absolutely lovely in its evocation of modern-day Lebanon (a revelation all on its own), Caramel harkens back to the country when it was considered to be the Paris of the Middle East. Every frame of this picture is painterly, and every line of dialogue and every performance is little short of revelatory. And, yet, this is "only" a picture about five women who operate a beauty salon in Beirut. Obviously, it is about so much more, and so much so that you'll want to make sure that you skip work on Monday afternoon, October 1st at 2 p.m. to catch the final screening of this absolutely wonderful film.

As the final film for the 2nd day of the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival, Mr. Shayne, music aficionado that he is, insisted on ...

Control (Grade: A-): Joy Division were the link between the Beatles and Nirvana, a Manchester-based band that pioneered the post-punk sound of the late 70s. In this revelatory adaptation of Debbie Curtis' chronicling of the era and first-hand account of the life and death of her husband / lead singer of Joy Division, Ian Curtis — adapted from her recently-published in-depth biographical account, titled Touching From a Distance — director / chronicler of the era, Anton Corbijn's stunning high-contrast monochrome movie played to appreciative, jam-packed Friday night houses in both the Granville 3 and 4, where the audience was kept in rapt attention by a film that was all at once somber, sad and compelling. Another 2007 must-see.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at September 28, 2007 11:51 PM in VIFF 2007


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