PLAYING THIS WEEK • January 17 - 23
Fri. Jan 17, 6:30pm; Sun. Jan 19, 4:45pm, 6:30pm; Mon. Jan 20, 6:30pm; Tue. Jan 21, 6:30pm; Wed. Jan 22, 6:30pm; Sat. Jan 25, 3:00pm
Australia, 2013, DCP, 96 min.
DIRECTOR: Kim Mordaunt
CAST: Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam, Bunsri Yindi, Sumrit Warin
Classified: PG, Youth under 18 may attend matinee screenings only (Jan 19 at 4:45pm & Jan 25 at 3:00 pm)
Related links: Website & Trailer | BUY TICKETS
Winner: Audience Awards, Sydney, Melbourne, and Tribeca Festivals. Best First Feature, Berlin Festival. Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Tribeca.
An audience favourite at VIFF, Australia’s submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (a co-production with Laos and Thailand) is both a rapturous crowdpleasing comedy and a surprisingly resonant, tough little movie about the tensions between the traditional way of life of indigenous peoples and the energy development imperatives of government and industry.
According to Laotian tradition, ten-year-old Ahio is cursed by virtue of being born a twin - though only his mother and his grandmother know it, having covered up the death of his brother in childbirth. When a succession of tragedies befall his village and his family, though, his granny can’t keep it a secret any longer. Could he really be to blame for the dam project that forces them off their ancestral land? And everything else besides? The irrepressible Ahio refuses to believe it, but even his dad harbours doubts as the mischievous, enterprising lad keeps landing in hot water. Only an orphaned playmate and her alcoholic uncle - a Vietnam war veteran who models himself after US singer James Brown - accept the boy for who he is. But when a home-made rocket-building competition offers a chance of redemption, everyone’s trust will be pressed to the limit…
Beautifully cloaked as an affecting coming of age tale, this award winning drama also says a great deal about a part of the world rarely seen on screen." — Colin Fraser, FILMINK (Australia)
The adventures of a 10-year-old Laotian boy are subject to radically different interpretations in The Rocket, Australian documentarian Kim Mordaunt's impressive narrative debut." — Ronnie Scheib, Variety
Fri. Jan 17, 8:30pm; Sat. Jan 18, 8:30pm; Sun. Jan 19, 8:30pm; Tue. Jan 21, 8:30pm
Canada, 2013, DCP, 82 min.
DIRECTOR: Charles Wilkinson
Related links: Trailer | BUY TICKETS
Guest: Director Charles Wilkinson will be in attendance January 17
Last September Neil Young spoke for many when he likened Fort McMurray to Hiroshima, "a wasteland." Local inhabitants were outraged, and at least one radio station banned Young from its playlist. Vancouver filmmaker Charles Wilkinson (Peace Out) treads a middle-ground with Oil Sands Karaoke, a portrait of the tar sands capital which includes both sobering vistas of massive environmental upheaval and an affectionate, non-judgmental look at the folks who live and work there, mostly when they’re letting their hair down at Bailey’s karaoke bar.
Among others, we meet Brandy Willier, a tiny driver of enormous trucks with a talent for tackling Britney Spears tunes, and Massey Whiteknife, an aboriginal entrepreneur better known on stage as Iceis Rain—a karaoke drag queen. Wilkinson applies the popular "Pop Idol" competition format to his own ends here, to put a human face on what’s going on in our neighbouring province and to draw in an audience that might be more inclined to listen to Sweet Home Alabama than another environmental sermon.
Opening night supported by the First Weekend Club. Q&A with Director Charles Wilkinson
Sat. Jan 18, 4:45pm; Sat. Jan 25, 4:45pm
USA, 2013, Blu-ray, 91 min.
DIRECTOR: Jennifer Steinman
Classified: PG, Youth under 18 may attend matinee screenings only (Sat. Jan 18, 4:45 pm & Sat. Jan 25, 4:45 pm)
Related links: Trailer | Official Website | BUY TICKETS
VIFF Audience Award: Best Documentary
The power, intensity and drama of desert ultramarathon racing is impressively conveyed in Jennifer Steinman’s documentary. Somehow keeping pace with the rare breed of athletes willing to tackle the 4 Deserts race series—which encompasses the Atacama, the Gobi, the Sahara and the Antarctic—the film is a compelling look at what motivates these extraordinary competitors to brave four grueling 250km treks across such inhospitable—but wholly cinematic—landscapes.
Steinman illustrates the distinct perils presented by each of these deserts—they represent the driest, windiest, hottest and coldest places on Earth—and examines the disparate motivations that guide these non-professional athletes. While one competitor is honouring the memory of his late wife, another is celebrating surviving a recent health scare. Thanks to the intimate bond that’s created with the intrepid racers, we watch with bated breath as they push themselves to—and frequently beyond—their breaking points.
Mon. Jan 20, 8:30pm
USA, 2012, Blu-ray, 98 min.
DIRECTOR: William Hechter, Peter Miller
FEATURING: Dr. John, BB King, Joan Osborne, Shawn Colvin, Dion, Leiber and Stoller, Ben E King. Narrated by Lou Reed.
Related links: Official Website | Trailer | Review | BUY TICKETS
"One Man Connects Elvis, Ray Charles, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and Dion…His Name Is Doc Pomus."
Paralyzed with polio as a child, Brooklyn-born Jerome Felder reinvented himself first as a blues singer, renaming himself Doc Pomus, then emerged as a one of the most brilliant songwriters of the early rock and roll era, writing “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment,” “A Teenager in Love,” “Viva Las Vegas,” and dozens of other hits. For most of his life Doc was confined to crutches and a wheelchair, but he lived more during his sixty-five years than others could experience in several lifetimes. A.K.A. Doc Pomus brings to life Doc’s joyous, romantic, heartbreaking, and extraordinarily eventful journey.
In his later years, Doc was a mentor to generations of younger songwriters, and a fierce advocate for downtrodden rhythm and blues musicians. He wrote a thousand songs – including some of the most recorded songs in the history of popular music – but his most lasting gift may have been his uniquely generous spirit. “If the music industry had a heart,” the record producer Jerry Wexler remembered, “it would be Doc Pomus.”Packed with incomparable music and rare archival imagery, A.K.A. Doc Pomus features interviews with Doc’s collaborators and friends, including Dr. John, Ben E. King, Joan Osborne, Shawn Colvin, Dion, Leiber and Stoller, and B.B. King. Passages from Doc’s private journals are read by his close friend, Lou Reed. Doc Pomus’ gripping life story makes for a powerful and lively film that introduces this unique American character to a new, much wider circle of admirers.
The thrilling story of Brooklyn’s most beloved polio-stricken white boy r&b genius, Peter Miller and Will Hechter’s A.K.A. Doc Pomus bops along with the simple, sturdy power of a good Doc Pomus song: It’s constructed with techniques familiar to anyone with a passing awareness of its genre—but also with such wit and insight and serious longing that it moves as much as it grooves…" — Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
Wed. Jan 22, 8:20pm
Germany, 2013, Blu-ray, 90 min.
DIRECTOR: Ralf Pleger
FEATURING: Katharina Wagner, Philippe Jordan, Laurence Dreyfus, Oliver Hilmes, Eva Rieger, Samuel Finzi, Pegah Ferydoni
English & German with English subtitles
Related links: Trailer | Music | BUY TICKETS
Winner: Audience Award, Best Documentary, Montreal World Film Festival 2013
You might not expect a documentary about 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner to borrow techniques from modern espionage films, graphic novels and 1950s melodrama. But Ralf Pleger’s marvellous film - timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth this year - does all of those things and still adds up to a respectful and informative portrait. (...) A must for classical music fans and an entertaining intro for Wagner neophytes." — Glenn Sumi, Now Toronto
Few composers inspire such extremes of love and revulsion as Richard Wagner, and few classical music documentaries go the extremes of this astounding German-made feature, which includes stylized, modern-dress reenactments of key moments in Wagner’s tumultuous life and digital animated graphics alongside more traditional expert testimony from the likes of Simone Young (conductor and music director of the Hamburg State Opera), Philippe Jordan (conductor and music director of the Paris Opera), Katharina Wagner (great-grandchild of Richard Wagner and director of the Bayreuth Festival) and Laurence Dreyfus (Professor of music at Magdalen College, Oxford).
With an audacity Wagner himself would surely have appreciated, the filmmakers don’t exactly shy away from their subject’s more dubious traits: his fraudulent financial transactions with "mad king" Ludwig of Bavaria (among many others); his scandalous love life - which included a passionate love affair with his best friend’s wife; his fetish for pink, feminine gowns… and of course his abhorrent anti-Semitic views, which would make him a cultural talisman for the Nazis.
At the same time, the movie revels in Wagner’s triumphant artistry. No composer before or since had such a grandiose vision for what opera could be.
Born in Brandenburg, Germany in 1967, Ralf Pleger studied music, art history and Italian in Berlin and Milan before freelancing as a dramaturge in opera and as a writer and director for radio and TV. His documentaries, dealing largely with musical subjects, include: A MUSICAL TOUR OF KRAKOW (1999), MUSIC IN ISTANBUL (2001), ANNE-SOPHIE MUTTER (2007), HANDEL: LIFE OF A POP ICON (2008), MADRID - ZEST FOR LIFE (2011), JOYCE DIDONATO, DRAMA QUEENS (2012), THE BEETHOVEN FILE (2013), VOCAL BATTLE ON THE HIGH SEAS (2013).
London’s Royal Opera House production of Richard Wagner’s final masterpiece, PARSIFAL, screens January 26 and 29.
Sunday matinée February 2, 3:00 pm
Pre-concert chat with host Matthew White at 2:15 pm
Vancouver Playhouse 600 Hamilton Street
In the late Renaissance, a young Jewish violinist named Salomone Rossi burst through the barriers of discrimination and became one of the most renowned composers and performers at the court of Mantua. Vocal ensemble Profeti della Quinta performed the music for the film Hebreo: The Search for Salomone Rossi, which documents the preparation for a special performance of Rossi's music in the ducal palace. Their Vancouver appearance marks a rare opportunity to catch a screening of the film in combination with a live performance of Rossi's music.
View the trailer for the film Hebreo
$36 regular price
$18 for audience members aged 35 or younger
To order, call Early Music Vancouver at 604-732-1610, or purchase online.
Rush Seats for Students with valid ID on sale for $10, at the door only, from an hour before the beginning of each concert. Subject to availability.
This concert is included in our Bring a Youth for Free programme.
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