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VIFF 2009: 'Week One' of Vancouver's Film Fest Concludes


VanRamblings asks: Is there any more glorious and rewarding way to spend 16 days of your life than to be huddled in a Vancouver Film Festival theatre with hundreds of other movie-loving patrons just as dedicated as you are to participating in an event that brings to our shores the very best of world cinema, which provides an insightful window on our contemporary world, and seeks to remind us that we are — wherever we live across this planet of ours — participants in a common struggle for justice, equality and humanity, in our endeavours to make our Earth a better place for all of us?

Day 7 of the, always glorious, 28th annual Vancouver International Film Festival brought the conclusion of Week One of our Festival-by-the-sea, with another week (and a couple of days more) still left to go, with even more moving film fare yet to be screened in the Festival's remaining days.

Before we commence with, as the case may be, eviscerating or praising the films we saw on Wednesday, note should be made that the fine folks at VIFF have added a special final screening, this Saturday, of Soundtrack for a Revolution. The film, about which we wrote on October 4th will screen ...

Soundtrack for a Revolution
Saturday, October 10, 2009
1:50 p.m.
Granville 7, Theatre 2

Soundtrack for a Revolution is our favourite film at this year's Festival.

You'll want to click on Buy on this page, or reserve your ticket TODAY, at 604.685.8297. Once you've secured your ticket (for your friends, as well), you'll want to make sure to line up for the film at least an hour in advance.

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Okay, here we go: Wednesday proved another salutary day on our Festival screening schedule, with four more much-anticipated films on tap ...

Salt (Grade: B+): Tracking award-winning, internationally-renowned photographer Murray Fredericks on his annual solo pilgrimage to Lake Eyre, in the northern region of South Australia, as he captures the desolate beauty of the remote hinterland to which he has travelled each year for the past decade, it is not just the breathtaking imagery and spectacularly beautiful photographs Fredericks has taken and we see on the screen, it is as well Fredericks' own story, his love for his wife and how he has set about to come to terms with the death of his parents that proves moving and transformative for him, as well as for us. Fredericks' award-winning 28-minute short, which will screen for a final time this Saturday, October 10th @ 11 am, at the VanCity Theatre, is paired with the tremendous ...

12 Canoes (Grade: A): One of our very favourite films at the Film Festival this year, in 12 Canoes Rolf de Heer has filmed the stories of the Yolngu people of Ramingining, the founding Australian aboriginal culture, through 12 wonderful, movingly narrated visual poems, covering Creation through the arrival of the 'First White Men' to Kinship, Ceremony, Language, and contemporary days. De Heer's 66-minute cinematic tour-de-force is one of the must-see films at the 28th edition of Vancouver's annual Film Festival. As above, paired with Salt, Saturday, Oct. 10th @ 11 am, VanCity Theatre.

Next up, on our 'climate change' film schedule, Yann-Arthus Bertrand's ...

Home (Grade: C): A brutally condescending piece of alarmist 'feel good' climate change crap, Home is at best second-rate Imax fodder, but in 2-D on the Granville 7 Visa screen, in order to protect one's sanity it was best to leave the theatre to commisserate with fellow filmgoers who were equally put off by Glenn Close's droning, patronizing narration, to discuss with them far better, far more worthwhile films they'd seen and recommend.

For instance, Jurgen recommended: Broke, which screens again at 1:30 pm, Saturday, Oct. 10th @ Pacific Cinémathèque, and a range of 'music films', including Ashes of the American Flag: Wilco Live (Tues., Oct. 13th, 4:20 pm, Gran7, Th2), Charlie Haden: Rambling Boy (Thurs., Oct. 15th @ 6:30 pm, Gran7, Th2 and Fri., Oct. 16th @ 1:15 pm, VanCity ), and Phil Grabsky's In Search of Beethoven (Wed., Oct. 14th @ 11 am, Gran7, Th2).

Mr. Shayne and VanRamblings then tripped outside to Granville Street, as we waited for the next movie to begin, and ran into ...

Videomatica's Graham Peat Videomatica's Graham Peat, outside the Granville 7

For those of you who live elsewhere, and may not be aware of the handsome gentleman pictured above, Graham Peat is the 'art house' video God of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia and western Canada.

Way back in 1984, Graham and his partner, Brian, opened up Videomatica, in trendy, friendly Kitsilano, and as they say in the movies, the rest is history. With the largest collection of 'nostalgia DVDs' (1910 thru the swinging '60s), and 'art house films' available anywhere in western Canada, Videomatica is the place cinephiles go to, after the Festival is over, to catch the films they missed at the Fest. Although it is true that only 20% of the films that play the Vancouver International Film Festival ever arrive back on our shores to play on a big screen, somehow each year, Graham manages to find a goodly number of the more recommendable film festival titles to place on the shelves of his essential West 4th Avenue video emporium.

Afer bidding Graham adieu, it was time for the final screening of the day ...

Precious, from the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire (Grade: B+): A certain Oscar nominee — Oprah is one of the executive producers of this film, and let's face it, her imprimatur carries a lot of weight, in Hollywood and elsewhere — and one of the two break-out films from this year's Sundance Film Festival (the other, An Education, which will play twice next week), Precious, from the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire tells the bleak, gritty, harrowing story of Clareece "Precious" Jones, an overweight black teenager in 1980s Harlem. Bullied at school, tormented by her mother, and repeatedly raped by her stepfather (at movie's outset, she is pregnant with her second child by her 'father'), Precious' life is a living nightmare. Precious, the film, does not offer your regular, subtle film festival fare. The only restrained aspect in the film is singer Mariah Carey's subdued performance as Precious' social worker. Screens again tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 9th @ 2:30 pm, Gran 7 Th 3.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 8, 2009 11:45 AM in VIFF 2009


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