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VIFF2012: Vancouver International Film Festival Redux

Vancouver International Film Festival, VIFF Repeats

Although the 31st annual Vancouver International Film Festival may be shuttered until late September of 2013, in 'fact' the Festival is not over.

Not quite yet.

Commencing yesterday afternoon, the Vancouver Film Centre began showing the Best of the Fest, VIFF Repeats of some of 2012's Festival favourites. And, my oh my oh my, are there some great films screening this week in repeat, films deserving of your attention, and well worth a visit to the Vancity Theatre to take in what is almost sure to be the final screenings of these movies in Vancouver.

VIFF Repeats at the Vancity Theatre

Vancouver International Film Festival, 2012 VIFF Repeats

We are able to write in this post, that we absolutely loved many of the films you see scheduled in the Vancity Repeats graphic above.

Of course, Nuala — which deservedly won the Best International Documentary award this past Friday night, presented by VIFF Director Alan Franey — ranks among the best documentaries the Vancouver International Film Festival has ever screened. A powerful, unflinching, truth-telling exploration of the life of celebrated Irish novelist, journalist, broadcaster Nuala O'Faolain, Nuala is the story of a survivor, a person whose unimaginably difficult life was transformed into a life of meaning.

When the Night, which screened at the Vancity last night, simply blew our socks off with its Hitchcockian approach to what emerges as one of the greatest love stories to be captured on screen this year, or any year. We loved this film, and hope against hope that somehow When the Night makes it back to our shores.

Now on to today. First up on this rainy Sunday, at 2pm, a final screening of Side by Side: The Science, Art and Impact of Digital Cinema, a documentary film directed by Christopher Kenneally and warmly narrated by Keanu Reeves. Plotting the direction movies are likely to take in the digital age, interviews conducted with an array of prominent filmmakers — from Martin Scorsese and David Fincher to Steven Soderbergh, Christopher Nolan and many, many more — here's a film that enlightens and enrages, all while offering keen insight into both the filmmaking process and how, going forward, we will see images exhibited on our screens come to life. There is no better thing you can do with your Sunday afternoon than take in a screening of Side by Side: The Science, Art and Impact of Digital Cinema.

A scene from Nisha Pahuja's award-winning doc, The World Before Her

A scene from Nisha Pahuja's award-winning revolutionary feminist doc, The World Before Her

At 6:45pm, Vancity presents The World Before Her, one of the most involving, engaging and informative documentaries screened at VIFF2012. Presenting the 20 finalists in the Miss India contest as informed, educated feminist revolutionaries working to overturn conventional norms and the social order vis-à-vis women's roles in the society, and juxtaposing the stories of these women with that of a young fundamentalist Hindu Nation woman, Prachi, who has dedicated her life to preserving (even if by violent means) a social order that diminishes the humanity of women ... well, this is powerful documentary filmmaking of the first order, a film that has it all — a powerful and involving story, 'characters' on screen who could not be more sympathetic, and in being such present wildly engaging rooting interests, first rate production craft, and the fully realized vision of the film's director, Nisha Pahuja — all of this and more suggests that you should run, not walk to tonight's 6:45pm screening of The World Before Her at the Vancity.

And for the final film screening on this inclement and kind of chilly Sunday, The Hunt — which not only deservedly won the VIFF 2012 Audience Award this past Friday, but ranks among the best films of the year, the most well-made film of the year, the most involving and honest film of the year. Hell, you don't have to know anything about the film other than all that is written above in this paragraph. You would be doing yourself a disservice, if you didn't attempt to take in a screening of The Hunt at 8:45pm this evening. VIFF passholders who present their pass will be given free entrance to the screening (a previous screening had to be cancelled, so VIFF will consider tonight's screening of The Hunt a 'make-up screening').

The Angels' Share, Ken Loach's new film

We'll focus on two more films: The Angels' Share, which we saw at a sold-out early afternoon screening at the big Granville 7 theatre (just short of 1000 patrons in attendance), a film which finds celebrated British kitchen-sink dramaturge Ken Loach at his peak, The Angels' Share is a film possessed of humour, immense humanity and hope. And, Rob Stewart's Revolution, an entirely revelatory doc, one of the most engaging and informative and heartfelt documentaries to have screened at VIFF2012 (we were in tears at moments throughout the film). We went into the screening of Revolution doubting that the film would be anything more than a rehashed pedantic diatribe, and came out believing that Revolution should be mandatory viewing for every student, in every school across the globe (for adults, as well). We even tweeted Vancouver Board of Education Chair, Patti Bacchus (who we love like a sister, and whose husband, Lee, is one of our favourite people on the planet), with such suggestion.

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Throughout the Festival, we found opportunity to chat with the humane and erudite and entirely engaging Tom Charity, about which films might return to Vancity as part of the Vancity's regular programming schedule. The Straight's Craig Takeuchi has published a more complete compendium of the films that Tom has already booked into the Vancity, those film titles in the available link in this paragraph. We were thrilled to read ...

Vancity Theatre Programme Co-ordinator Tom Charity has informed me that they'll be bringing back the following films: Rebelle (War Witch) (which is Canada's official entry for best foreign-language Oscar), Tabu, Holy Motors, The Ambassador, Keep the Lights On, The Invisible War (one I also highly recommend for its in-depth and often shocking exploration of rape in the army), and Museum Hours.

In addition to the films listed above, Sean Baker's Starlet, and Travis Fine's Any Day Now — both of which have a distributor, in Music Box Films, in place so at least have the potential to return — may make their way to the Vancity. As for us, we will continue to work with Tom to get Mia Hansen-Løve's Goodbye First Love — which, by hook or by crook, we'll find a way to bring to Vancouver (we're resourceful when we want to be). The estimable Mr. Charity is supportive of the notion of bringing Goodbye First Love to the Vancity, but there may be — as is often the case in matters such as this — mitigating distribution issues. We'll see what we can do.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 14, 2012 12:11 AM in VIFF 2012


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