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VIFF 2011, Day 6: In Which We Recover From Long Festival Days


The rain fell throughout much of Day 6 of the Vancouver International Film Festival, festival patrons a little waterlogged as a consequence, choosing in many instances to remain inside the Empire Granville 7 for one screening after another for some of the most challenging cinematic fare to come to our shores this year. We all, each and every one of us, love our Festival.

The 'problem' with the early morning passholder ticket line up (which we mentioned yesterday) was resolved on Tuesday, the line moving more quickly than many of us could recall had ever been the case. Thank god for small favours, and for the opportunity to get out of the rain, was the grateful morning chant among the hardy 300 in Tuesday's ticket line-up.

According to our friend John Skibinski, the digital cinema projection problems in the Empire Granville 7's Theatre 7 were not resolved, or at least weren't resolved for the 1 p.m. screening of Almayer's Folly; patrons had to put up with a muddy DVD 'print' instead. More work for VIFF tech.

Final note: Due to popular demand, VIFF has added a 10:30 a.m. screening of Bullhead, tomorrow (Thursday), October 6th at the Granville 7.

Tuesday we took a bit of break from reclaiming our humanity, the theme of VanRamblings' 2011 film festival, and caught only an evening screening at the Vogue Theatre. We've caught other films in previous days, though, that we haven't recorded reviews of on our site, so that's what we'll publish below today: three capsule film reviews, two of which (docs) are splendid.

Bill Nowrie, VIFF Vogue Theatre Manager

VIFF Vogue Theatre Manager Bill Nowrie introduces the 7 p.m. screening of Footnote

  • Jess + Moss (Grade: B-): We're sorry that we mislead you in our previously published information on this film. Jess + Moss is not a tone poem, as was billed in the Festival's programme guide. And the rendition of Tammy's in Love was not Debbie Reynolds' version. So, VanRamblings had trouble with fidelity, or the lack thereof, in Jess + Moss. The real problem occurs with lead actress Sarah Hagan, who we found to be unsympathetic. As a consequence Jess + Moss was uninvolving, despite the craft director Clay Jeter brings to the film.

    For a film like Jess + Moss to succeed, casting the 'right' Jess was all important, and Hagan (despite giving a fine performance) is not that. In three of our favourite Festival films — Like Crazy, Corpo Celeste and Pure — the lead actresses (Felicity Jones, Yle Vianello and Alicia Vikander, respectively) come across as transcendent, warm and sympathetic, and in the process create on screen characters of depth, dimension and immense heart. As a consequence, these latter three films very much succeed, where Jess + Moss most assuredly does not.

  • Play (Grade: B+): Offering a slice-of-life insight into the liberal moral conundrum of immigrant inner city black youth who are up to no good, and based on a youth crime wave involving real cases of bullying and robbery that swept Gothenburg, Sweden between 2006 and 2008, director Robert Östlund offers a challenging and entirely involving observation on deprivation and its impact on identity. Tracking three young middle class youths who are kidnapped and robbed by five black youths, a sense of dread hangs over all that occurs in Play, a penetrating, omnipresent sense of pending human tragedy hanging in the air throughout the film. One of VIFF 2011's strongest documentary offerings, and a yet another VIFF must-see. Screens two more times at VIFF, today: Wednesday, October 5th, 3pm, at the Empire Granville 7, Theatre 3, and Friday, October 14, 8pm, Granville 7, Theatre 3.

  • Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (Grade: B+): A highlight in VIFF's remarkably poignant nonfiction series, and as we mentioned the other day "one of the most heartrending documentaries we've ever screened — the interview with the daughter of a one of los desaparecidos, now a lawyer, is the single most powerful scene we've ever encountered in a non-fiction film". Director Pamela Yates and producer Pace de Onis' moving, meticulous documentary tracks the ongoing efforts of human rights activists to bring José Efraín Ríos Montt, the brutal 1980s Guatemalan dictator, and the military commanders responsible for genocide in that country, to trial in an international court of law. Yates' recorded 1980s archival footage of military incursions into indigenous guerilla territory, and the 2011 interviews with the surviving guerillas, not only aid the case of the lawyers mounting the hearing for the Guatemalan peoples, but offers hope that justice for the families of los desaparecidos may one day prevail. Screens two more times at VIFF, today: Wednesday, October 5th, 3:20pm, at the Empire Granville 7, Theatre 5, and Thursday, October 13, 10:45am, Pacific Cinémathèque.

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

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 5, 2011 8:23 AM in VIFF 2011


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