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VIFF 2010, Day 6: Another Rewarding Day at the Film Festival

Nearing the end of the first week of the Film Festival, and VanRamblings finds itself firmly ensconced within the 29th annual Vancouver International Film Festival. And we're mighty glad we chose (very) well again on Tuesday.

Our usual routine goes something like this: up at 8 a.m. for breakfast, and by 9 a.m. we're on the bus heading downtown to the passholders' lineup to pick up our tickets for the day. First screening of the day at 10 a.m., followed by 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. screenings. On the bus home by 11:30 p.m., home by midnight and writing til 3 a.m. And then it's up again 5 hours later to do the whole thing over again.

On Tuesday, the first rewarding film of our VIFF 2010 movie day was ...

Poster for David Guggenheim's Waiting For Superman

Waiting for Superman (Grade: A): A miracle of a film, one of the most heartrending, hopeful and inspirational 'change agent' films we've seen at this year's Festival, director David Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) offers a scathing indictment of a failed American education system in one of the most moving and emotionally resonant films we're likely to see this year. Allowing the audience inside the lives of dispossessed young kids, each of whom becomes a rooting interest for the filmgoer, Guggenheim's sure-to-be Oscar nominated documentary (and probable winner) subtly and with trenchant power sets the agenda for the next two years of Obama's term in office (at least, Obama better be listening, because there are some very powerful truths being told here). Screened for a final time at VIFF on Tuesday, but due to open at Fifth Avenue Cinema on October 15th.

Following the screening of Waiting for Superman somehow we ended up in an almost two-hour discussion of the VIFF's non-fiction series (as well as American politics) with retired professor Robert Schwenke, who each year focuses almost exclusively on the documentary portion of the Festival. Following our illuminating tête-à-tête, we were off to a screening of ...

When We Leave (Grade: A-): Addressing the corrosive nature of culture and the destructive potential for decimation of the family, writer-director Feo Aladag's intense, tragic and brilliantly realized début film tells the story of young mother, Umay (Sibel Kekilli in a stunning, textured performance) who, trapped in an unhappy and abusive marriage in Istanbul, flees to her family in Berlin with her five-year old son, Cem. Even though her family understands the horrific nature of her brutish marriage, Muslim tradition and unrelenting pressure from the Turkish immigrant community mandates she return to her husband. Winner of the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at this year's Tribeca Film Festival (the festival's top award), When We Leave offers a genuine and gut-wrenching insight into the oppression of women still prevalent in many cultures, and in doing so opens up an intimate window on a world about which we know too little. A final VIFF screening on Wed., Oct. 13 @ 11:40am, Gr 7, Th3. A must-see.

And finally on Tuesday, October 5, VanRamblings took in a screening of ...

Stephen Frears' Tamara Drewe

Tamara Drewe (Grade: B+): A delightful cinematic romp wittily told by master director Stephen Frears, this well-wrought British comedy of coincidence proved the perfect antidote to the heavier fare we've seen while in constant attendance at the Vancouver Film Festival these past six days. Exploring the deadly sins of envy, lust and salacious gossip in deepest rural England, in adapting Posey Simmonds' colourful graphic novel Frears scratches below the rural leafy lanes, rolling fields and thatched houses suffused in an idyllic glow to find ... well, that would be giving it away, wouldn't it? Not often are we afforded the opportunity to see an intelligent and generously funny big screen comedy, and this one is definitely that. Two more VIFF screenings of Tamara Drewe are on tap, this Friday, Oct. 8th @ 1:15 pm, Gr 7, Th7, & Thanksgiving Monday, Oct. 11th @ 1:15 pm, Vancity Theatre, after which it'll open in theatres on Friday, October 15th.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 6, 2010 1:21 AM in VIFF 2010


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