A & E






Newspapers & Magazines




Web / Tech

VIFF 2011, Day 12: As The Festival Wends Its Way To a Close


VanRamblings is, this week, ramping down our coverage of the 30th annual Vancouver International Film Festival, as the Festival sets about to screen its final film this Friday evening, October 14th. And, of course, that will be it for VIFF30, resplendent with cinema from across the globe, 375 features and 100 more short films having screened at five venues across Vancouver.

Still, there are a few more films we'd like to write about, beginning with ...

  • My Little Princess (Grade: A): The most audacious directorial début we can recall in recent memory, Eva Ionesco's trenchant, autobiographical film offers a disturbing, accomplished and authentic tale of Ionesco's unconventional relationship with her mother, Irina, in the most fully realized and beautifully sweeping cinematic fever dream of a film we've screened at the 30th annual Vancouver International Film Festival.

    In the 1970s, Ionesco's mother rocked the Paris art world with photographs of her naked, pre-pubescent daughter. In interviews, Ionesco recalls that her mother began posing her provocatively when she was just four. In My Little Princess, Violetta (played with exquisite perfection by newcomer Anamaria Vartolomei, in the most auspicious and moving début performance we've seen at VIFF 30) is ten when her wildly unconventional mother, Hanna (Isabelle Huppert), takes the fun of dressing up in old clothes to a new and decidedly troubling level.

    As Irina increasingly sexualizes her daughter, Violetta turns into a Lolita figure, standing forlornly in the school playground in tight hot pants, swaggering into the classroom in full make-up and wearing clothes that could only be deemed inappropriate. Twelve-year-old Vartolomei is the saving grace of the film, as she gives a tough, moral, centered and very strong performance, always true to herself and to the character she is portraying, lending the film an integrity that otherwise may have not been present, in the process taking the film from what might have been considered demeaning and exploitative film fare to the realm of art.

star.jpg star.jpg star.jpg

In addition to My Little Princess, VanRamblings was also impressed with Las Acacias (Grade: B+), a road film set along the highway leading from Uruguay to Buenos Aires, Brazil (not dissimilar to Por el camino, another Latin American film we very much liked, in this regard), Las Acacias is a deeply felt tale about the potential for redemption in the love of another.

My Piece of the Pie (Grade: B+) was another stand-out film we screened earlier in the week, this one more conventional in its presentation than either of the films presented just previously today, but a strong film nonetheless, its contemporary tale of corporate downsizing and its effect on workers told in a comedic vein (with a wonderful performance by the superb Karin Viard at the movie's centre) with dexterity and despairing wit.

Black Bread, Marina Comas and Francesc Colomer
Black Bread's Marina Comas and Francesc Colomer

Black Bread (Grade: B+), Spain's Best Foreign Language Oscar nominee proved to be another keeper, perhaps not in the first-rank of VanRamblings' favourites at VIFF30, but certainly in the Top 20 of the 70 films we've caught at the Vancouver Film Festival thus far. Set in post-Spanish Civil War Catalonia, where the potential for hostility and death may occur around every corner, Black Bread's complex and gripping coming-of-age story revolves around 11-year-old Andreu (Francesc Colomer), his mother, Floréncia (Nora Navis, who won the Best Actress prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival earlier this year), and his father, Farriol (Roger Casamajor), who fought on the side of the anarchists (the losing side, in the parlance of the film). A harrowing portrait of the aftermath of war and life under Franco, Agusti Villaronga's Black Bread offers an exquisitely filmed and acted, and beautifully shot historical tale.

Full VR daily coverage of the Vancouver Film Festival may be found here.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 11, 2011 6:29 PM in VIFF 2011


back to top