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VIFF 2013: Miles to Go, Films To See, Tears To Shed


In the middle of last week, VanRamblings was having a conversation with VIFF programmer extraordinaire, PoChu AuYeung, when we suggested to PoChu that there were some very good films at VIFF 2013, but perhaps the this year the quality of films was not quite up to the standard of previous years. PoChu's reply: "You're less than a week into the Festival. There are a great many wonderful films that you'll love that are still to come."

And as PoChu had predicted, so has it come to pass.

I Belong (Grade: A+). The Patience Stone, The Great Passage and I Belong exist in a category all their own at the 32nd annual Vancouver International Film Festival, cinematic experiences of transcendent and remarkable beauty, narrative erudition and artful craft, films that are so well realized as to make one weep with joy at the transformative experience the filmmakers have allowed us to feel, ground-breaking, truth-telling cinema of the first order, each film ranking among the most important films of the new millennium.

I Belong (the Norwegian title translates as "As You See Me") is a film possessed of uncommon insight into human existence, but for all that there is a welcoming, almost absurdist, comedic element within the film's narrative that serves, thankfully throughout, to temper the onslaught of painful realizations that the casual unintended cruelty of others serves too often to rent the fabric of our soul, or as the VIFF programme suggests ...

I Belong explores the complexity of communication and mutual understanding, the film illustrating time and again how an incidence of seeming relative insignificance to one person takes on an aspect of grande disaster for another. I Belong relates a series of stories about people who mean well, but without malice of intent cause grievous pain to another. The film also explores the notion that those possessed of humanity and integrity of action and intent are too often viewed as troublesome malefactors, in a society where the ideal is to behave rationally rather than humanely. Although I Belong alternates between the playful and pointedly poignant, director Dag Johan Haugerud's début feature film reveals a remarkable understanding of our human frailties, and the daily dilemmas that can cause us irreparable damage and pain.

Altogether, a shattering, ruminative, and magical film of uncommon import, as remarkable and exceptional as any film you'll see at VIFF 2013, or in any other forum this or any other year. I Belong is a wise and humane film of uncommon craft, and altogether a transformative cinematic experience. Let's hope VIFF brings back I Belong for the post-Fest week of screenings, and that Tom Charity, VIFF's erudite Vancity programmer, finds a place of prominence for I Belong in his calendar of transcendently lovely films.

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VanRamblings intends to continue posting til the end of the Festival on Friday, and beyond, and will likely take in one or more of the post-Fest screenings of VIFF films that, this year, will screen evenings at the Vancity, SFU Woodwards and The Rio — such decision to employ multiple post-Fest venues resulting in the effect of seeming to extend our much beloved Festival, allowing us in the process to catch for a first time (or perhaps a second), films of consequence that we just couldn't quite manage to squeeze into our VIFF programming schedule, due to one conflict, or another, but felt were deserving of our attention and attendance.

Oscars: Academy announces Best Foreign Language Film shortlist

Best Foreign Language Film Oscar

At the request of readers, please find below the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shortlist for the 2014 Foreign Language Film Oscar — totaling 76 submitted films.

The shortlist created some controversy — Japan nominating Ishii Yuya's The Great Passage over Like Father, Like Son, created quite some consternation among film's cognoscenti, but of course none of those who were kvetching have yet to see The Great Passage, a masterwork, and perhaps this year's best foreign language film.

That Afghanistan's The Patience Stone did not receive a nomination is, perhaps, this year's biggest oversight. But, as a British, French, German, Afghani co-production, and given the film's subject matter, The Patience Stone was an unlikely Best Foreign Language nomination for any of the countries associated with the production of this year's most important film. Correction: Mathew Englander sends along the following information ...

"A small correction: Afghanistan did, in fact, submit The Patience Stone to the Academy — last year, when it was eligible. It is a 2012 film."

VanRamblings' position: The Patience Stone should have won the Best Foreign Language pic last year. Thank you for the correction, Mathew.

The number, up from 71 films last year, sets a new record for the category and includes apparent frontrunners such as Asghar Farhadi's The Past from Iran, Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt from Denmark, and Wong Kar-Wai's The Grandmaster from Hong Kong. Abdellatif Kechiche's festival favourite lesbian drama Blue is the Warmest Colour from France, however, failed to make the cut-off date for eligibility, while India controversially submitted Gyan Correa's The Good Road over Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox.

Check out the full list of submissions below:

Afghanistan, "Wajma — An Afghan Love Story," Barmak Akram, director
Albania, "Agon," Robert Budina, director
Argentina, "The German Doctor," Lucía Puenzo, director
Australia, The Rocket, Kim Mordaunt, director
Austria, "The Wall," Julian Pölsler, director
Azerbaijan, "Steppe Man," Shamil Aliyev, director
Bangladesh, "Television," Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director
Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Felix van Groeningen, director
Bosnia and Herzegovina, "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," Danis Tanovic, director
Brazil, Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho, director
Bulgaria, "The Color of the Chameleon," Emil Hristov, director
Cambodia, The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh, director
Canada, Gabrielle, Louise Archambault, director
Chad, "GriGris," Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, director
Chile, "Gloria, Sebastián Lelio, director
China, "Back to 1942," Feng Xiaogang, director
Colombia, "La Playa DC," Juan Andrés Arango, director
Croatia, "Halima's Path," Arsen Anton Ostojic, director
Czech Republic, "The Don Juans," Jiri Menzel, director
Denmark, "The Hunt," Thomas Vinterberg, director
Dominican Republic, "Quien Manda?" Ronni Castillo, director
Ecuador, "The Porcelain Horse," Javier Andrade, director
Egypt, "Winter of Discontent," Ibrahim El Batout, director
Estonia, "Free Range," Veiko Ounpuu, director
Finland, "Disciple," Ulrika Bengts, director
France, "Renoir," Gilles Bourdos, director
Georgia, In Bloom, Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, directors
Germany, "Two Lives," Georg Maas, director
Greece, "Boy Eating the Bird's Food," Ektoras Lygizos, director
Hong Kong, "The Grandmaster," Wong Kar-wai, director
Hungary, "The Notebook," Janos Szasz, director
Iceland, "Of Horses and Men," Benedikt Erlingsson, director
India, "The Good Road," Gyan Correa, director
Indonesia, "Sang Kiai," Rako Prijanto, director
Iran, The Past, Asghar Farhadi, director
Israel, "Bethlehem," Yuval Adler, director
Italy, The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino, director
Japan, The Great Passage, Ishii Yuya, director
Kazakhstan, "Shal," Yermek Tursunov, director
Latvia, "Mother, I Love You," Janis Nords, director
Lebanon, "Blind Intersections," Lara Saba, director
Lithuania, "Conversations on Serious Topics," Giedre Beinoriute, director
Luxembourg, "Blind Spot," Christophe Wagner, director
Mexico, Heli, Amat Escalante, director
Moldova, "All God's Children," Adrian Popovici, director
Montenegro, "Ace of Spades - Bad Destiny," Drasko Djurovic, director
Morocco, "Horses of God," Nabil Ayouch, director
Nepal, "Soongava: Dance of the Orchids," Subarna Thapa, director
Netherlands, Borgman, Alex van Warmerdam, director
New Zealand, "White Lies," Dana Rotberg, director
Norway, "I Am Yours," Iram Haq, director
Pakistan, "Zinda Bhaag," Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, directors
Palestine, "Omar," Hany Abu-Assad, director
Peru, "The Cleaner," Adrian Saba, director
Philippines, "Transit," Hannah Espia, director
Poland, "Walesa. Man of Hope," Andrzej Wajda, director
Portugal, "Lines of Wellington," Valeria Sarmiento, director
Romania, "Child's Pose," Calin Peter Netzer, director
Russia, "Stalingrad," Fedor Bondarchuk, director
Saudi Arabia, Wadjda, Haifaa Al Mansour, director
Serbia, "Circles," Srdan Golubovic, director
Singapore, Ilo Ilo, Anthony Chen, director
Slovak Republic, "My Dog Killer," Mira Fornay, director
Slovenia, "Class Enemy," Rok Bicek, director
South Africa, "Four Corners," Ian Gabriel, director
South Korea, "Juvenile Offender," Kang Yi-kwan, director
Spain, "15 Years Plus a Day," Gracia Querejeta, director
Sweden, "Eat Sleep Die," Gabriela Pichler, director
Switzerland, "More than Honey," Markus Imhoof, director
Taiwan, Soul, Chung Mong-Hong, director
Thailand, "Countdown," Nattawut Poonpiriya, director
Turkey, "The Butterfly's Dream," Yilmaz Erdogan, director
Ukraine, "Paradjanov," Serge Avedikian and Olena Fetisova, directors
United Kingdom, "Metro Manila," Sean Ellis, director
Uruguay, "Anina," Alfredo Soderguit, director
Venezuela, Breach in the Silence, Luis Alejandro Rodríguez and Andrés Eduardo Rodríguez, directors

The nominees will be announced January 16th.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 9, 2013 1:46 AM in VIFF 2013


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