A & E






Newspapers & Magazines




Web / Tech

VIFF 2017: Films To Ensure You See Before VIFF Ends

2017 Vancouver International Film Festival, viff, final week, films to see

Today on VanRamblings, the must-see films screening in the final week of VIFF 2017, those films lauded by VIFF patrons, films with critical acclaim extraordinaire, films which will either provide you with early insight into what movies will be recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Oscars ceremony on Sunday, March 4th, 2018, or provide you with the opportunity to see outstanding cinema for the final time at VIFF 2017, cuz these films ain't a-gonna be making their way back to our shores any time soon, or (in fact) ever again. So, you know what to do ...

Playing once and only once at the 2017 edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival, a last-minute addition to the VIFF lineup, the most talked about American début feature of the year, having taken both the Telluride and Toronto International Film Festivals by storm, and set for a raft of Oscar nominations come Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 — including a Best Actress nod for Saoirse Ronan, and long overdue Best Supporting Actress recognition for Laurie Metcalf, not to mention Best Screenplay and Best Director nominations for — indie actress Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird ... Screens today, Monday, October 9th at 4pm at The Centre. See ya there!

Don't forget: Aki Kaurismäki's VanRamblings-recommended The Other Side of Hope screens directly after Lady Bird, 6:30pm at The Centre. At 9:15pm, VanRamblings' favourite film of 2017, Andrei Zvyagintsev's magnificent Loveless screens at the Vancouver Playhouse, on Hamilton Street.

On Tuesday, 6:15pm at the Vancouver Playhouse, you simply don't want to miss the single most buzzed about film at VIFF 2017, director Amanda Kernell's powerful multiple award winner, Sami Blood — the Grand Jury Prize and Best Actress (Lene Cecilia Sparrok) winner at last spring's Seattle Film Festival; Special Jury Prize winner and another Best Actress win for Sparrok at Tokyo's 2017 Film Festival, with a Best Director of a Début Film win for Amanda Kernell at this year's prestigious Venice Film Festival.

Nor do you want to miss Alain Gomis' Grand Jury Prize winner at the Berlinale this year, Félicité, a raw, near documentary-style music-infused reverie, an often dreamlike portrait of Félicité, a singer who is just barely scraping by in modern-day Kinshasa, a dirty, hardscrabble, lawless but irrepressibly energetic city. Screens twice at Cineplex International Village, both times in Cinema 10, on Tuesday, October 10th at 9:30pm, and the next day, Wednesday, October 11th at 4:30pm.

On Wednesday, October 11th there's a veritable cornucopia of fine cinema that will screen at VIFF 2017 on its third to last day ...

  • Ismael's Ghosts, VIFF fave Arnaud Desplechin's most daring film yet, a tour-de-force of mise-en-scène and a prismatic portrait of a filmmaker haunted by his past, starring Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard and Louis Garrel, which screens for the final time at 10:45am at Cineplex, Cinema 9;

  • Or, at 11:30am at Cineplex Cinema 9, you could take in British writer-director Francis Lee's remarkable, award-winning accomplished first feature, God's Own Country, about which VIFF patrons and critics alike have been raving, the story of a troubled, taciturn and volatile young man living on a remote Yorkshire farm that although it didn't court Brokeback Mountain comparisons directly enough with its tale of two young sheep farmers finding love in a hopeless place nonetheless seals the deal. Says VanRamblings critic favourite Guy Lodge in his review in Variety, "By the time the tightly controlled soundscape blooms into the widescreen baroque pop of Patrick Wolf for the closing credits, the resulting heart-swell feels thoroughly earned";

  • And let us take pains to remind you of how much we loved Alexandra Dean's kickass documentary, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, which screens for a final time at 3:45pm at the Vancouver Playhouse.

And then there are entirely remarkable evening screenings on Wednesday, October 11th that are not-to-be-missed ...

  • Sour Apples, VanRamblings' own David House's favourite VIFF film (and a VIFF cineaste favourite, too), writer, director and star Yilmaz Erdogan's boisterous and engaging Turkish epic, which spans decades as it recounts the story of Aziz Özay and his three beautiful daughters, as warm-hearted and inclusively crowd-pleasing a film as you could wish for, a perfect palliative and counterpoint to VIFF's usual Cinema of Despair programming (VanRamblings will find ourselves at 6:15pm at the Vancouver Playhouse to take in the final screening of Sour Apples);

  • Or, how about Phillippa Lowthorpe's Swallows and Amazons, Youth Jury Award and Best Feature winner at the Seattle Film Festival, an absolutely perfect film to take the kids to, incredibly engaging family fare, which will screen for a final time at VIFF, at 6:45pm at Cineplex's Cinema 9;

  • Or, Janus Metz's Borg vs McEnroe, at 6:30pm at The Centre, a compelling drama that has you in its grip from beginning to end, and a film that just knocked our socks off, easily 1000x better than Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' failed Battle of the Sexes, and a must-see if you possess any love at all for remarkable humanistic sports films;

  • Or at 6:15pm at The Rio, the final screening of Mina Shum's love letter to Asian mothers, Meditation Park, a small but significant picture, and a film about quiet, dignified resignation that will resonate with anyone who cherishes their family life.

And, heck, those are just the early evening screenings on Wednesday.

2017 Vancouver International Film Festival débuts Stephen Campanelli's Indian Horse

Indian Horse. A quintessentially Canadian story, adapted from Richard Wagamese's award-winning novel, Stephen Campanelli's moving drama sheds light on the dark history of Canada's residential schools and the resolute spirit of our nation's Indigenous peoples, focusing on the story of Saul Indian Horse of Manitoba's Ojibwe nation who, as a child, is separated from his family by Canada's reprehensible residential school system, where he and fellow Indigenous students suffer routine physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Teachers do their best to destroy the children's identities, in the name of the Christian god and the Canadian state.Then, Saul discovers hockey, where his talent helps him escape the school, on his journey to becoming a professional player. Only through his passion for the game and his rapidly improving skills does he glimpse a path beyond the horrors that have confined him. But is hockey enough to save him, or will his struggles to come to terms with the traumatic experiences of his past continue to haunt him? One of the buzz films at VIFF 2017, Indian Horse screens for a final time at VIFF, 9pm at the Vancouver Playhouse.

A Fantastic Woman, (Grade: A). Chilean director Sebastián Lelio's follow up to VIFF 2014's Gloria offers a sensitive, expressive melodrama about grief and the cost of being authentic in a world that too often fails to acknowledge gender variance and the lived, non-binary experience. A working of searing empathy, A Fantastic Woman traces the emergence from devastating grief of Marina (Daniela Vega), the film's young transgender protagonist, who is treated like a criminal in the wake of her older partner's sudden death from an aneurysm. A certain Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee, there's even talk that Vega — who dominates virtually every mesmerizing frame of the film — will emerge as the first transgender woman to secure a Best Actress Oscar nomination, or as Guy Lodge writes in his review for Variety ...

Vega's tough, expressive, subtly anguished performance deserves so much more than political praise. It's a multi-layered, emotionally polymorphous feat of acting, nurtured with pitch-perfect sensitivity by her director, who maintains complete candor on Marina's condition without pushing her anywhere she wouldn't herself go. At one point in her mortifying police examination, a photographer demands that she drop the towel from her waist. She reluctantly complies, yet the camera respectfully feels no need to lower it gaze: A Fantastic Woman is no less assured than its heroine of her hard-won identity.

There are a great many films that will screen on Thursday and Friday, the final two days of VIFF, that we'll write about later in the week. We are looking forward to VIFF 2017's final screening, Todd Haynes' transcendent:

Full VanRamblings coverage of VIFF 2017 is available by clicking here.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 9, 2017 12:45 AM in VIFF 2017


back to top