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VIFF 2011, Day 8: Week Two of the Festival Officially Underway


Heading into Week Two of the 30th annual Vancouver International Film Festival, those folks who are not die-hard Festival-goers (y'know, the type: VIFFers who attend 4 - 6 films each day) want to know: what are the buzz films at VIFF30, what are the must-sees in the final week of the Festival, on which films should I plunk down my hard earned cash to purchase tickets?

Lucky, lucky you: we have a few answers for you. Hang on to your hats for Part 1 of Week Two's buzziest, ya better not miss 'em, VIFF films to see!

  • The Sandman (Grade: A+): Although to this point in time we hadn't written so much as a capsule review of the buzz film of the Festival, we'll attempt to do so now. Kitschy, quirky, wonderfully hopeful, transcendently lovely and altogether delightful, Swiss director Peter Luisi's playfully dexterous The Sandman, a fable in an age of anomie, tracks the film's two main characters (an ungainly Fabian Krüger as Benno, and a gently morose Irene Brügger as Frölein Da Capo) through a series of magically pleasing and entirely enchanting mise en scènes.

    Initially, Benno comes across as one of the least likeable characters you'll see on screen this year, a misanthrope filled with pompous self-importance who treats downstairs neighbour and would-be singer Frölein Da Capo abominably, insulting her looks, her cooking and, most especially, her musical talent. The Sandman is one of those films where the two protagonists are so exaggeratedly opposed that you know that the only possible character arc is for the two of them to find the solace they seek ... together. The fun is in how they get there: through a series of shared dreams — and we're talking the dreamiest, most romantic of dreams here, affecting and wonderfully touching, and Benno's 'leaking of sand', which at first starts off as a trickle before turning into a sand dune. A stylish, ironic fairy-tale comedy of the first order, elegant, richly rewarding, and an absolute gem of a film, The Sandman is the Vancouver Film Festival's Week Two must-see. Screens two more times at VIFF: Saturday, October 8th, 9pm, Granville 7, Theatre 3, and Tuesday, October 11th, 11:40am, Granville 7, Th 3.

  • Pure (Grade: A+): A surprisingly provocative and poetic study of class, culture and identity, Lisa Langseth's stunning début film is, without any measure of a doubt, VanRamblings' very favourite film at VIFF30. We wrote about it on Tuesday; you can read our review there. Screens two more times at VIFF: Tuesday, October 11th, 3pm, Granville 7, Theatre 3, and Thursday, October 13th, 9:30pm, Granville 7, Theatre 7.

  • My Little Princess: VanRamblings hasn't screened Eva Ionesco's disturbing and autobiographical fairytale-like début narrative film yet, but we will. The buzz from a broad cross-section of friends who are as inveterate Festival diehards as VanRamblings has long been, have identified My Little Princess as a Week Two must-see. We trust their opinion. You should, too. Screens two more times at VIFF: Saturday, Oct 8th, 11:40am, Gr 7, Th 3, and Sunday, Oct 9th, 9pm, Gr 7, Th 3.

  • Crime After Crime (Grade: A-): In a year of powerful and affecting documentaries screening at VIFF30, Crime After Crime ranks right up there as one of the most powerful and incendiary docs you'll see this year. Screens one more time: Tuesday, Oct 11th, 2:50pm, Gr 7, Th 1. We wrote about Crime After Crime, and the next film, right here.

  • Wish Me Away (Grade: A-): Who'da thunk that a documentary about a country singer coming out would prove to be one of the most revelatory and affecting documentaries screening at VIFF30? As we wrote yesterday, this film had us on the floor. What incredible skill the filmmakers have brought to the telling of Chely Wright's story. And what fascinating characters we are afforded the opportunity to meet throughout the film. And what a spiritual journey Wright has undertaken (we get to see almost every moment of that journey). Wish Me Away is, quite simply, a tour-de-force, must-see VIFF doc. Screens once more: Wednesday, October 12th, 11am, Gr 7, Th 1.

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VanRamblings ran into Vancouver Film Festival Board of Directors Chair, Michael Francis after a screening Thursday, when we discussed the prospect of nominating VIFF Director Alan Franey for an Order of BC award. Turns out that Mr. Francis has experience in this regard (after all, he has worked in a senior capacity inside and outside government for years), and told us that he is on board with working with VanRamblings to secure the, what would have to be considered the much-deserved, award for Alan.

Dragons and Tigers award winner, VIFF 2011

VIFF Dragons and Tigers Award winners, director Sonthar Gyal and producer Xing Li,
won for their film The Sun-Beaten Path. Photo courtesy of The Straight

The Straight's Craig Takeuchi has written an expansive article on the winner, and contenders, for the Dragons and Tigers award for Young Cinema announced Thursday evening. VIFF has added a screening of The Sun-Beaten Path on Saturday, October 8th, at 4 p.m., at the Vancity Theatre, on Seymour.

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

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 7, 2011 7:56 AM in VIFF 2011


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