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EXTRAORDINARY PLACES & AMAZING VISIONS

EXTRAORDINARY PLACES

 

One of the huge pleasures of attending film festivals is travelling the world through cinema and discovering extraordinary places and unique ways of living. Same planet, different worlds! This has never been truer, given the amazing new digital cameras that filmmakers now have at their disposal. These cameras allow for unprecedented mobility and the ability to shoot in extreme conditions, whether it’s underwater in Indonesia or in the Alps at dusk. Here are just a few upcoming VIFF films which transport us to the ends of the earth and provide huge pleasure by allowing us to experience amazing seascapes and landscapes. Seeing them on a small screen is not an option!

FAITH CONNECTIONS

India / France
DIR: Pan Nalin | Website & Trailer | Review

 

Pan Nalin, whose Samsara and Ayurveda: Art of Being struck such chords with Vancouverites, turns his spiritually questing eye towards the Kumbh Mela, the sacred Hindu pilgrimage/festival that unfolds along the Ganges and attracts 100 million devotees. By alternating specific characters—a 10-year-old runaway, an aging holy man—with the sheer spectacle on display, Nalin's gorgeous film is a celebration of diversity.

OF HORSES AND MEN

(Hross I Oss)

Iceland / Germany
DIR:
Benedikt Erlingsson | Trailer

 

An impromptu tryst between two horses serves as the catalyst for further dark comedy in this celebration of equine grandeur and human eccentricities. Benedikt Erlingsson's debut is every bit as rugged, otherworldly and striking as its Icelandic backdrop. "A hugely enjoyable film from the wild side of the wild side... [It] deserves its cult status."—Guardian.

 

Winner, Best New Director, San Sebastián 2013.

CORN ISLAND
(Simindis kundzuli)

Georgia / Germany / France /
Czech Republic / Kazakhstan

DIR: George Ovashvili | Trailer

 

Eloquent and engrossing, George Ovashvili's fable-like drama unfolds on a tiny island that emerges each summer from a river between warring Georgia and Abkhazia. For the skillful elderly peasant who plants its amazing corn crop and his nubile young granddaughter, it's soon the site of a desperate struggle for survival. "A master class in emotionally charged minimalism..."—Hollywood Reporter.

 

Winner, Crystal Globe, Karlovy Vary 2014.

MONSOON

Canada / France
DIR:
Sturla Gunnarsson

Trailer | Official Website | Director’s Website

 

Sturla Gunnarsson’s latest is a personal reflection on chaos, creation and faith in a land of believers. He explores the incomparably vast seasonal weather system that permeates and unifies the immense and varied cultures of India. As the huge system gradually engulfs every region of the country, we meet a remarkable array of individuals whose lives are fundamentally affected by the phenomenon.

WALKING UNDER WATER

Poland / Germany / UK

DIR: Eliza Kubarska | Trailer | Take Action

 

The nomadic Badjao tribe are citizens of the sea, subsisting for centuries on the spoils of their compressor-diving expeditions. Eliza Kubarska‘s poetic documentary follows 10-year-old Sari as he sets out on his first fishing trip and is initiated into his people’s traditions and lore. "A mythological tale of wonder and water..."—DOX.

 

Winner, Special Jury Prize: International Feature, Hot Docs 2014.

THE CREATOR OF THE JUNGLE

(Sobre la marxa)

Spain
DIR:
Jordi Morató | Trailer

 

In the heart of Catalonia, a bit west of Dali's Figueres, lies the wooded terrain of an artist of a different stripe: a 72-year-old eccentric named Garrell who, for 45 years, has been playing Tarzan and handcrafting elaborate tree houses, labyrinths, waterfalls and towers in the forest. Documentarian Jordi Morató captures Garrell's beautiful world in all its delightful wonder.

RED KNOT

USA / Argentina

DIR: Scott Cohen
Official Website | Review | Review

 

Forsaking a traditional honeymoon, newlyweds Peter (Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser) and Chloe (Olivia Thirlby) book passage on a research vessel bound for Antarctica. As seasickness sets in, romantic bliss sours and Scott Cohen's astonishingly assured, elegantly shot debut sets course for troubled, Polanski-indebted waters. "A quiet stunner of a drama..."—Hollywood Reporter.

 

Winner, Grand Jury Prize: Best New American Cinema, Seattle 2014.

HIGHWAY

India
DIR:
Imtiaz Ali | Trailer

 

Improvised across six Indian states, Imtiaz Ali's drama is anchored by A.R. Rahman’s lilting music and Alia Bhatt's amazing turn as a kidnapped heiress. "Abduction paradoxically results in liberation for both the sheltered daughter of a rich industrialist and her hardened-criminal kidnapper in... this Bollywood road movie, which intertwines dark social issues and blithe romance, thanks in part to relative newcomer Alia Bhatt’s endearingly cockeyed performance."—Variety.

THE WONDERS

(Le meraviglie)

Italy / Switzerland / Germany
DIR
: Alice Rohrwacher
Original Language Trailer

 

An entrancing coming of age story, this is a superb companion piece to Alice Rohrwacher's remarkable debut, Corpo Celeste. Drawing on Rohrwacher’s own childhood, it’s the tale of a young girl forging her identity while her beekeeper father attempts to sidestep financial ruin. "A wistful but no-tears swan song... The tone hovers mysteriously between dream and reality..."—Hollywood Reporter.

 

Winner, Grand Prix, Cannes 2014.

COME TO MY VOICE
(Were Dengê Min)

Turkey / Germany / France
DIR:
Hüseyin Karabey | Trailer

 

Passionate and utterly compelling, Hüseyin Karabey’s beautifully crafted film is founded in political absurdity. When the Turkish military surrounds a Kurdish village, takes alleged rebels into custody and demands the return of nonexistent guns, a little girl and her grandmother set off in search of a weapon—any weapon—that might earn her father's freedom. Breathtaking vistas and nerve-wracking suspense await.

 

Winner, Audience Award, Istanbul 2014.

WINTER SLEEP

(Kis uykusu)

Turkey / Germany / France
DIR:
Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Trailer | Review | Interview with the Director

 

"Nuri Bilge Ceylan [Once Upon a Time in Anatolia] is at the peak of his powers with [this] richly engrossing and ravishingly beautiful magnum opus... [The film] tunnels into the everyday existence of a middle-aged former actor turned comfortably situated hotel owner—and emerges with a multifaceted study of human frailty whose moral implications resonate far beyond its remote Turkish setting."—Variety.

 

Winner, Palme d'Or, Cannes 2014.

FORCE MAJEURE (AKA TOURIST)

(Turist)

Sweden
DIR:
Ruben Östlund | Trailer

 

Echoing The Hunt's psychological intensity, Ruben Östlund’s riveting drama features another desperate man whose world crumbles around him. After an avalanche at a ski resort in the Alps, a family's narrow escape is overshadowed by husband/father Tomas' cowardice in the clutch. It seems that running for his (own) life is a slight his wife Ebba just can't shake. "Precisely calibrated... Visually stunning... Emotionally perceptive..." —Variety.

THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY

UK / USA / France

DIR: Hossein Amini | Trailer

 

Disposing of a dead body makes reluctant bedfellows out of American con artist Chester (Viggo Mortensen) and Athens hustler Rydal (Oscar Isaac) in Hossein Amini’s absorbing 60s-set adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel. As they evade the authorities, Chester’s wife (Kirsten Dunst) finds herself torn between these seductive charlatans. "An elegantly pleasurable period thriller, a film of tidy precision and class."—Telegraph.

NUOC 2030

Vietnam

DIR: Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo
Website & Trailer

 

This sophisticated sci-fi drama is set in 2030, when rising sea levels have flooded much of the farmlands on the Mekong Delta. Former farmers live in a hut on stilts, planted in the sea above their former land. A high-tech enterprise located nearby is experimenting with growing vegetables in salt water. The male farmer dies under mysterious circumstances. His wife investigates...

YAKONA

USA
DIR:
Anlo Sepulveda, Paul Collins

Website & Trailer

 

Anlo Sepulveda and Paul Collins' visually stunning (much of it is shot underwater) and totally mesmerizing chronicle of Texas' San Marcos River—its history, its place in First Nations' mythology, its more utilitarian position in modern times, its uncertain future—has been compared to Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi for the way it forces us to contemplate our relationship with the natural world.

 

Winner, Audience Award, SXSW 2014.

MY NAME IS SALT

Switzerland

DIR: Farida Pacha | Trailer | Official Website

 

Farida Pacha's documentary transports us into the middle of nowhere and leaves us with a sense of awe. We follow one of the thousands of Indian families who leave their villages, mine salt in the desert and transform the earth in astounding ways. "Exquisite, a film crystalline in its austere purity... a beautifully crafted meditation."—Hollywood Reporter.

 

Winner, Best Documentary, Edinburgh 2014.

THE SALT OF THE EARTH

(Le Sel de la terre)

France / Italy / Brazil

DIR: Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado

Review | Trailer

 

Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado's magnetic portrait of photographer Sebastião Salgado, is "illuminating and uplifting... [It moves] from his early years growing up on a Brazilian farm... through to his increasingly large-scale photographic projects that took him to many of the world's most hostile and dangerous conflict zones... A moving tribute to a peerless talent."—Guardian.

 

Winner, Special Jury Prize, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2014.

AMAZONIA 3D

Brazil / France

DIR: Thierry Ragobert | Website & Trailer

 

A circus-trained capuchin must quickly adapt to life in the wild when it suddenly finds itself lost in the Amazon rain forest. This unwitting, endlessly expressive little guide leads us through Thierry Ragobert's awe-inspiring, family-friendly docudrama, acquainting us with this lush wonderland’s exotic denizens and other breathtaking splendours. "A thrilling tale... the cinematography is exceptionally vivid throughout..."—Hollywood Reporter.


AMAZING VISIONS

 

Just as cinema can open our eyes to other places, it can also force us to see the world anew. Here are some upcoming VIFF films which transform the world through extraordinary cinematic imagination.

GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE 3D

(Adieu au langage)

France

DIR: Jean-Luc Godard

Trailer | Review | Review | Extended Trailer
Interview with the Director

 

"Jean-Luc Godard’s 3-D opus, was easily [Cannes 2014’s] defining event ... Less a culmination of the polyphonic mode that is Late Godard than an acceleration, the film is a furiously associative meditation on humanity and history, cinematic and linguistic meaning, the world of nature and the nature of reality—all refracted through fragmentary episodes involving an adulterous couple and dog’s-eye-view roamings through a light-streaked forest." —Art Forum.

 

Winner, Prix du Jury (ex aequo), Cannes 2014.

AUGUST WINDS

Brazil

DIR: Gabriel Mascaro | Trailer

 

Lyrical, sensual and poetic, yet grounded in a bracing naturalism that speaks to Brazilian documentarian Gabriel Mascaro's roots, August Winds tells the tale of a young man who finds a skull (and then a whole corpse) while diving for octopus, only to find the authorities completely uninterested ... "Mascaro's first narrative feature is a beautiful meditation on life and death ... It's a striking accomplishment..."—Indiewire.

ABOVE US ALL

Netherlands / Belgium

DIR: Eugenie Jansen | Official Website

 

A daring formal experiment lies at the heart of this exploration of loss. Eugenie Jansen films her story—a young, half-Aboriginal girl copes with being transplanted from Australia to Belgium after her mother's death—in 50 fps 3D and uses 360-degree pans to evoke time's inexorable movement. The result is a boundary-pushing drama that is as affecting as it is bold in execution.

FIELD OF DOGS
(Psie Pole)

Poland / Switzerland / Italy

DIR: Lech Majewski | Trailer | Review

 

Lech Majewski's follow-up to The Mill and the Cross is another visually ravishing tale, this one about a poet coping with the car-accident deaths of his beloved and his best friend. "[Like The Mill...], the visuals are again striking and the theme of death deeply examined... Again there is a strong feeling that the stakes are high—a dialogue with God, a struggle for the soul..."—Hollywood Reporter.

THE OWNERS

Kazakhstan

DIR: Adilkhan Yerzhanov | Trailer | Review

 

Decamping to the countryside, three siblings discover an alcoholic squatter holed up in their late mother's cabin. Given that the local police chief is the intruder's brother, an escalating blood feud becomes unavoidable. "Kafka meets Kaurismäki... [Adilkhan Yerzhanov's film] is a caustic critique of small-town corruption and cronyism in contemporary Kazakhstan. It is also poetic, surreal and visually arresting."—Hollywood Reporter.

FREE FALL

Hungary / France / South Korea

DIR: György Pálfi

Review | Original Language Trailer | Teaser

 

Hungarian director/ringmaster György Pálfi turns an apartment building into seven rings of carnivalesque hell in this audacious offering. Backed by Amon Tobin's pulsing score, Pálfi essays the grotesqueries of contemporary culture through short stories that run the gamut from social realism to sci-fi. "It’s thrilling to see a director in such clear command of the cinematic medium operating in such a playfully stylized way."—Variety.

MEAT AND MILK

(De chair et de lait)

France

DIR: Bernard Bloch

 

Given reactions to the recent exposé of cruelty at a Fraser Valley dairy farm, this revealing, unsentimental account of where cattle stand in our world is bound to strike a chord. But this is not just a journey into a charnel house. It's an unforgettable, globetrotting (from the Algerian Sahara to the Amazon to the Alps), ravishingly cinematic study of man's relationship with his bovine brother.

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT

Iran / USA

DIR: Ana Lily Amirpour

Teaser | Director’s Website

 

Looking for love (and hemoglobin) in the desolate streets of Iranian ghost town Bad City, a lonesome, alluring vampire (Sheila Vand) must also navigate the comically offbeat, unequivocally cool reality envisioned by director Ana Lily Amirpour. Channelling vintage Jarmusch and cranking the post-punk soundtrack to spellbinding effect, "Amirpour has crafted a beguiling, cryptic and often surprisingly funny look at personal desire."—Indiewire.

JOURNEY TO THE WEST
(Xi You)

Taiwan / France

DIR: Tsaï Ming-liang | Trailer | Review

 

A small miracle of a movie, Tsai Ming-liang’s insanely slow, magnificently gorgeous film is his most beautiful in years. For 56 minutes we watch Tsai’s actor fetiche Lee Kang-sheng, accompanied by French art-house icon Denis Lavant, walk ever-so-slowly through a series of urban spaces in Marseilles. Hilarious visual puzzles; plays of light and space; pure cinema magic.

N: THE MADNESS OF REASON

Belgium / Germany / Netherlands

DIR: Peter Krüger | Trailer | Facebook

 

Based on the life of French musician Raymond Borremans, who moved to West Africa in the 20s and tried to compile an encyclopedia of The Ivory Coast (he got to "N" before dying in 1988), this poetic semi-documentary is beautiful and revelatory. Nigerian novelist/poet Ben Okri co-wrote the script, director Peter Krüger authored the striking visual style and the great Michael Lonsdale embodies Borremans' spirit.

THE BOY AND THE WORLD

(O Menino e o Mundo)

Brazil

DIR: Alê Abreu

Official Website | Teaser | Trailer | Review

 

Alê Abreu's animated odyssey follows a young boy as he journeys from the country into a towering metropolis in search of his father. Awaiting him is a world where music gives birth to birds, cities float in the sky and good and evil clash in a riot of colour. "A simple, universal parable... An enchanting visual treat..."—Dennis Harvey, Variety.

JAUJA

Argentina / Denmark / France / Mexico / Germany / Brazil

DIR: Lisandro Alonso | Review | Trailer

 

Lisandro Alonso returns with a gorgeous, 19th-century-set existential exploration. Viggo Mortensen is a Danish engineer who heads into the Patagonian wilderness in search of his missing daughter. "This hallucinatory head-trip Western remains unmistakably Alonso’s film... a metaphysical road movie in which origin and destination are markedly less important than the journey itself."—Variety.

 

Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2014.

PARASITE

(Huba)

Poland / UK

DIR: Wilhelm Sasnal, Anka Sasnal

Official Website | Related Article

 

Wilhelm Sasnal—whose paintings hang in MOMA and Paris' Pompidou—has a second life, alongside his wife Anka, as a director; their Parasite is a haunting, gorgeously made evocation of contemporary Polish alienation. Centred on a lonely old man and a troubled younger mother (with baby) who move in together, this formally daring work has both a rare immediacy and an aching sense of compassion.

LA SAPIENZA

France / Italy

DIR: Eugène Green
Behind the Scenes | Facebook

 

A celebrated Swiss architect and his wife embark on a trip to Ticinio and Rome in hopes that it will reinvigorate them (and kickstart his book about baroque architect Francesco Borromini). An encounter with teenage siblings en route dramatically changes the course and purpose of their journey. A work that's both weighted with scholarly inquiry and an undercurrent of poignancy unlike anything else."—Indiewire.


 

FESTIVAL VENUES


We’re excited to once again be presenting these films in Vancouver’s finest auditoriums.

The Centre for the Performing Arts
777 Homer Street (at Robson)

The Cinematheque
1131 Howe Street (at Helmcken)

Cineplex Odeon International Village
88 West Pender Street (at Abbott)

Rio Theatre
1660 East Broadway (at Commercial)
Liquor served. Ages 19+ unless otherwise noted. ID and bag checks are possible.

SFU’S Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street (between Cambie and Abbott inside SFU Woodward’s)

Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour Street (at Davie)
Liquor served. Ages 19+ unless otherwise noted.

Vancouver Playhouse
600 Hamilton Street (at Dunsmuir)

 


 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

 

NOW ON SALE

PASSES + TICKET PACKS on sale at viff.org

Registration is now open for the VIFF INDUSTRY CONFERENCE at viff.org

 

September 4
FULL FESTIVAL PROGRAM posted to viff.org + ADVANCE BOX OFFICE opens (online only)


September 6
VIFF COMPLETE FESTIVAL GUIDE available at locations around town

 

September 13
ADVANCE IN-PERSON SALES start at Vancity Theatre Box Office, 1181 Seymour Street, noon — 7pm


September 25
33rd ANNUAL VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL opens


October 1
VIFF INDUSTRY CONFERENCE opens


 

Film selections are subject to change.

 

Vancouver International Film Festival

September 25 - October 10, 2014