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VIFF 2013: Vancouver International Film Festival Draws to a Close

The final day of the 2013 Vancouver International Film FestivalOur beloved 2013 VIFF is over for the year, and what of VIFF for VanRamblings in 2014?

Well, that's it for the 32nd annual Vancouver International Film Festival.

Sixteen days in, and at 11:30pm tonight, following the final screening, the Festival will have drawn to a close for another year, except for the few stragglers who'll be whooping it up at the Closing Gala soirée at The Playhouse — VanRamblings will, of course, find ourselves over at The Centre, along with many other hundreds of cinephiles, taking in a late night screening of the Festival's Closing Gala film, The Face of Love.

Throughout the day, Festival Director and Exhibitions Manager George Mah will be meeting for a debriefing session with venue management staff, in preparation for an even better 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival. First order of business: a hearty congratulations to everyone involved in bringing to Vancouver, and exhibiting, the 340 films from 70 countries that were screened at the seven venues (most of them new) to the amazement, delight, and often tear-filled joy (or, sometimes, horror) of VIFF cinephiles.

VanRamblings will continue to post on the film festival over the course of the next week, as we report out on the winners of the various VIFF awards that will be announced tonight, as well as, in the days to come, the films chosen by VIFF's cinephiles that rank in the top 30 films on offer in 2013.

As is the case with many, even though we took in more than 80 films, there were too many films that we missed. Although we had In Bloom on our original programme schedule — at the last minute, we replaced it with The Patience Stone, which, fortuitously, emerged as one of our three favourite films at VIFF 2013. Still, we're sad to have missed so many great VIFF films.

Fortunate for all of us, the VIFF Repeats begin tomorrow — when, over the weekend at The Rio, SFU Woodwards, and The Vancity (reducing to only The Vancity, beginning Monday, and running through until Thursday evening), you can catch VIFF films you missed. Hopefully, in addition to the VIFF Repeats, the VIFF'S Vancity programmer Tom Charity will bring back a plethora of fine indie and foreign language fare throughout the next year.

I BelongScenes from Dag Johan Haugerud's magnificent Norwegian production, I Belong. A must-see.

Of the VIFF repeats, we would strongly recommend the following...

  • I Belong. A film of transcendent and remarkable beauty, narrative erudition and artful craft, so well realized as to make one weep with joy at the transformative experience director Dag Johan Haugerud and his humane and human-scale cast have allowed us to feel, I Belong emerges as ground-breaking, truth-telling cinema of the first order, ranking among the most important films of the new millennium. Screens on Saturday, October 12th, at 4pm, SFU Woodwards.

  • Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia. Despairing, melancholy, screamingly funny at times, and filled with more wit and perspicacity than any film you'll see this year, here's the best non-fiction film to play at VIFF 2013, a doc that is not-to-be-missed. Quite simply, director Nicholas Wrathall, while offering a profound and immensely witty historical document on the nature of the 21st century state, has outdone himself. Sunday, October 13th, 06:45pm, The Vancity.

  • Felix. One of the three feel-good films at this year's Festival (the other two: Wadjda, and Gabrielle). An absolute must-see, a humble, deeply affecting, cross-cultural coming-of-age story set in South Africa that left the audience verklempt but heartened, with nary a dry eye in the house. Everything in Felix works: the cinematography, the production values, performances, screenwriting, and directorial ambition. Quite simply, a moving and accomplished film that is not-to-be-missed at VIFF 2013. Monday, October 14th, 4:30pm, The Vancity.

  • The Italian Character: The Story of a Great Italian Orchestra. Angelo Bozzolini's rich and wide-ranging documentary introduces us to the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, employing its principal conductor, Sir Antonio Pappano, as the humane narrator of this dazzling entertainment. Wed., Oct. 16th, 6:30pm, The Vancity.

  • From Neurons to Nirvana. We're also pretty high (so to speak) on Oliver Hockenhull's entirely captivating film on the effects of ayahuasca, MDMA, LSD and psilocybin, as medications that ought to be in wide (supervised) use, but are not because of the role Big Pharma plays in dictating our health and medication laws. A balanced, richly-illustrated, well-researched feature documentary. Thurs. Oct. 17th, 8:45pm, The Vancity.

  • Salmon Confidential. The must-see doc at this year's Festival for all of us who live in British Columbia, examining the reason why our wild salmon stocks are dwindling, and our fishing industry seems headed towards oblivion. You'll never buy a farmed salmon again, and you'll be damned pissed off at Christy Clark's Liberal government, and have your worst fears about the corrupt nature of Stephen Harper's Conservatives confirmed. Sunday, October 13th, 6:30pm, SFU Woodwards.

In addition to the titles above, there's been so much good buzz on Anne Wheeler's Chi, and Finding Vivian Maier — which many consider to be the best doc in the Festival, that next Tuesday, we're going to take in a double bill of these two docs, at 6:30pm and 8:15 pm, at The Vancity.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 11, 2013 1:53 AM in VIFF 2013


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