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Highlights from Cannes at VIFF 2015

We’re excited to unveil 20 titles that were showcased at the Cannes Film Festival this spring that will be playing our 34th edition this fall.

A number of these films come courtesy of filmmakers adored by Vancouver film-lovers, including Palme d’Or winner Dheepan from Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust and Bone). Audiard’s character-driven story of a Sri Lankan refugee and former Tamil fighter starting a new but equally fractious life in the Paris suburbs is but one of the involving social dramas on offer, with Best Actor winner The Measure of a Man featuring a security guard (Vincent Lindon) wrestling with his conscience and Critics' Week Grand Prix winner Paulina detailing an Argentinian teacher wrestling with her convictions in the wake of a sexual assault.

On a grander scale, The Assassin – from decorated Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien, who scored Best Director at Cannes – is a supremely beautiful martial arts drama set in 9th century China. Also on offer will be the latest work from other mainstays of our celebrated Dragons & Tigers series. Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart is a characteristically ambitious drama spanning decades and crossing continents, while past Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul returns with Cemetery of Splendour. Finally, after winning the Rogers People’s Choice award at VIFF 2013 for Like Father, Like Son, Kore-eda Hirokazu helps the equally graceful and engaging Our Little Sister.

There will also be familiar faces in front of the camera, with Tim Roth starring as a hospice nurse in Michel Franco’s involving Chronic, Catherine Deneuve delivering a typically commanding turn in Standing Tall and Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux and John C. Reilly headlining The Lobster, an outrageous satire from Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth).

More films (including additional Cannes titles) will be announced on a weekly basis, with the full festival program revealed on September 3, 2015.


CANNES AWARD WINNERS
FRANCE | DIR: JACQUES AUDIARD
Jacques Audiard's (A Prophet, Rust and Bone) latest dramatic inquiry into life on society's margins is an alternately gripping and tender love story about the eponymous former Tamil fighter (Antonythasan Jesuthasan) and his improvised family, who exchange war in Sri Lanka for violence of another kind in Paris. "A searing yet hopeful slow-burn drama... Audiard delivers another distinctive [work] with this portrait of a family forged out of necessity..." — Hollywood Reporter

Winner, Palme d’Or, Cannes 2015

(NIE YINNIANG)
TAIWAN | DIR: HOU HSIAO-HSIEN
In 9th century China, 10-year-old Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts. One day, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised. A slave to her mistress' orders, Nie Yinniang must choose: sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins. "Perhaps the most ravishingly beautiful film [Hou Hsiao-Hsien] has ever made..." — Variety

Winner, Best Director, Cannes 2015.

(SAUL FIA)
HUNGARY | DIR: LÁSZLÓ NEMES
Interned in Auschwitz, Saul (Géza Röhrig) is tasked with the unthinkable: aiding his Nazi captors in their methodical massacre. Pushed past his breaking point, he nobly claims one of the fallen as his own son and vows to restore the boy’s dignity with a proper burial... Unfolding with passion and purpose that rival its protagonist’s, László Nemes’ Holocaust drama is both an involving moral quest and a staggering, immersive experience. "A bombshell debut..." — Film Comment

Winner, Grand Prix, Cannes 2015.

(LOI DU MARCHÉ)
FRANCE | DIR: STÉPHANE BRIZÉ
The zero-sum game that is the "law of the market" (the French title)—wherein if one wants a job another must be let go—lies at the heart of Stéphane Brizé's profoundly humanist drama. Vincent Lindon is superb as an unemployed mechanic whose new job in security at a big-box supermarket forces him to make decisions that go against everything he believes in... "A powerfully affecting social drama... Lindon [gives] a veritable master class in understated humanism." — Variety

Winner, Best Actor (Lindon), Cannes 2015.

(PATOTA)
ARGENTINA/BRAZIL/FRANCE | DIR: SANTIAGO MITRE
Altruistically abandoning her promising law career in order to teach the impoverished, socially conscious Paulina (Dolores Fonzi) finds herself horribly out of her depth in an Argentinean backwater. In the wake of a violent assault, her convictions are tested and Santiago Mitre’s provocative drama is elevated into a complex examination of the emotional ramifications for victim, perpetrators and those who stood idly by. "Fonzi is riveting in a demanding role..." — Hollywood Reporter

Winner, Critics' Week Grand Prix, Cannes 2015.

(ABRAZO DE LA SERPIENTE)
COLOMBIA/VENEZUELA/ARGENTINA | DIR: CIRO GUERRA
In Ciro Guerra’s vibrant and wildly original feature, two explorers embark on parallel journeys—albeit 40 years apart—down the Colombian Amazon. Both are in search of a sacred flower with mythical healing powers. Both encounter a native shaman and his tales of colonialism’s devastating toll. As unlikely friendships take root, Ciro Guerra’s drama enwraps viewers in seductive visuals and alluring ethnographic details. "A soulful, strange and stunning discovery." — Indiewire

Winner, Art Cinema Award, Directors' Fortnight, Cannes.

(TROIS SOUVENIRS DE MA JEUNESSE)
FRANCE | DIR: ARNAUD DESPLECHIN
A terrific, emotionally piercing coming-of-age story, told in flashback from the point of view of Mathieu Amalric's anthropologist Paul, Arnaud Desplechin's (A Christmas Tale) supremely intelligent drama is visual storytelling at its finest. "Rich and intensely personal... A roving, restless tale of unhappy childhood, amateur espionage and agonizing first love, [it features] some of the most fluid, emotionally resonant filmmaking of Desplechin’s career..."
Variety

Winner, Prix SACD, Directors' Fortnight, Cannes 2015

MEXICO/FRENCH/US | DIR: MICHEL FRANCO
Tim Roth delivers an understated performance as a hospice nurse whose selfless devotion to the terminally ill sometimes distorts into more inscrutable behaviour in Michel Franco’s deft character study. Recalling Michael Haneke’s Amour in its unsentimental depiction of life’s closing chapters, this mesmerizing psychological drama also examines the heavy toll exacted on this caregiver who’s at ease with impending death but at a loss with life. "A captivating work." — Screen

Winner, Best Screenplay, Cannes 2015.

GREECE/UK/IRELAND/NETHERLANDS/FRANCE | DIR: YORGOS LANTHIMOS
The pressures of courtship are pushed to absurdist extremes in this outrageous comedy from Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth). Confined to an isolated resort, singles (including Colin Farrell) must take a mate within 45 days or be transformed into animals. As Farrell falls in with a band of rebel loners (who count Rachel Weisz among their members), Lanthimos wrings much pathos from his outlandish premise. "A wickedly funny, unexpectedly moving satire... Perversely romantic..." — Variety

Winner, Prix du Jury, Cannes 2015.

(HRÚTAR)
ICELAND/DENMARK | DIR: GRÍMUR HÁKONARSON
In this enchanting Icelandic export, two estranged, unmarried brothers are reunited after 40 years when an infectious disease threatens to decimate their prized flocks of sheep. As they face financial ruin and emotional devastation (their love for these animals is endearingly evident), Grímur Hákonarson fashions a richly detailed tragicomedy concerning idiosyncratic vocations and immediately relatable sibling dynamics. "Wonderfully wry, charmingly understated..." — Variety

Winner, Grand Prix, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2015.


OTHER CANNES HIGHLIGHTS
(GLACE ET LE CIEL)
FRANCE | DIR: LUC JACQUET
Luc Jacquet (the Oscar-winning March of the Penguins) returns to the Antarctic to trace the fascinating life and groundbreaking work of French scientist Claude Lorius, now 83. Lorius discovered that, by drilling into ice and extracting cores from enormous depths, one could show a link between man-made greenhouse gases and climate change... "Jacquet’s film is... a call to arms to the environmental movement destabilised and buffeted by the denial industry... This is a powerful testament, and one that ought to have a considerable impact." — Guardian

IRAN | DIR: IDA PANAHANDEH
Having fallen in love again after her divorce, Nahid (Sareh Bayat) finds many obstacles lying in wait should she choose to follow her heart. Not only would remarriage mean surrendering custody of her son, it would also entail forsaking the semblance of independence she’s fought so hard to establish. Ida Panahandeh’s deeply humane melodrama recalls Oscar-winner A Separation in its compassionate and compelling depiction of contemporary Iran's legal and social constraints.

Winner, Avenir Prize, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2015.

(TÊTE HAUTE)
FRANCE | DIR: EMMANUELLE BERCOT
Catherine Deneuve, as a concerned judge dealing with delinquent youth, and newcomer Rod Paradot as Malony, the teen offender she counsels, are the twin poles in Emmanuelle Bercot's sobering drama tracing ten turbulent years in Malony's life. As Malony is shuffled from agency to agency, "Bercot studiously avoids the sort of catharsis-oriented pop psychology the genre so often peddles... [while] taking a page from the Dardenne brothers’ brand of social realism..." —Variety

USA | DIR: CHLOÉ ZHAO
"Stirring in its own quiet, unhurried way... Chloé Zhao's plaintive first feature is a heartfelt dramatized contemplation of life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, experienced partly through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl... [The] project clearly was made with profound respect for its subjects, from families ravaged by alcoholism to daredevil young bull-riders to those who cling even through tough times to their belief in community."
Hollywood Reporter

(SHAN HE GU REN)
CHINA/JAPAN/FRANCE | DIR: JIA ZHANGKE
Commencing in northern China in 1999 and closing in Australia in 2025, this epic from the masterful Jia Zhangke is as exquisitely crafted as it is astonishingly ambitious. Moving with captivating velocity, it charts the lives, loves, hopes and disillusionment of a family over two generations. In turn, "it starts by resembling a classic studio picture from Hollywood... Then it morphs into a futurist essay on China’s global diaspora... Exhilarating..." — Guardian


(UMIMACHI DIARY)
JAPAN | DIR: KORE-EDA HIROKAZU
Three sisters—Sachi, Yoshino and Chika—live together in a large house in the city of Kamakura. When their father—absent from the family home for the last 15 years—dies, they travel to the countryside for his funeral and meet their shy teenage half-sister. Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu, they invite her to live with them. Suzu eagerly agrees and a new life of joyful discovery begins for the four siblings... "Meticulously shot and gracefully orchestrated..." — Variety

(OMBRE DES FEMMES)
FRANCE/SWITZERLAND | DIR: PHILIPPE GARREL
Male narcissism and infidelity are analyzed in veteran Phillipe Garrel's gorgeously shot (in 35mm!) B&W drama about a married documentary filmmaker (Stanislas Merhar) who falls for a younger woman... "The currents of desire, jealousy and resentment that flow through a relationship over time receive an exquisite close-up from director Garrel in [this] tightly focused romantic drama that exudes... the lucid craftsmanship of a filmmaker in full command of the medium." —Variety

(AS 1001 NOITES)
PORTUGAL | DIR: MIGUEL GOMES
Miguel Gomes' (Tabu, Our Beloved Month of August) astonishing three-volume, six-hour epic draws inspiration from the tales of Scheherazade (here played by Crista Alfaiate) and once again uses a fascinating combination of reality and fiction to comment on Portugal's past, present and future. "There's Bunuelian satire, lo-fi crime, Brechtian allegory, and high fantasy all in the mix. It’s dizzying stuff... a film that’s moving, sad, exciting, fiery, and funny." — Indiewire

(COMOARA)
ROMANIA | DIR: CORNELIU PORUMBOIU
Romanian auteur Corneliu Porumboiu is at the height of his low-key powers in this affectionate tale of Costi, a dutiful father who’s plunged into a stone-faced caper comedy when he catches wind of a fortune supposedly buried on a nearby estate. Indulging his fantasies of striking it rich, Costi instead spends a fateful weekend unearthing old disappointments, revisiting Romanian history and navigating the loopholes presented by local bureaucrats. "A deadpan gem..." — Variety

Winner, Talent Prize, Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2015.

(RAK TI KHON KAEN)
THAILAND/UK/GERMANY/FRANCE/MALAYSIA | DIR: APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL
Soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness are transferred to a temporary clinic in a former school. The memory-filled space becomes a revelatory world for housewife and volunteer Jenjira, as she watches over Itt, a handsome soldier. Magic, healing, romance and dreams are all part of Jen’s tender path to a deeper awareness of herself and the world around her. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest mingling of the mystic and mundane is undeniably "a strange film in its way... But there is something sublime in it." — Guardian

MARK YOUR CALENDARS
TUE AUG 4
Passes + Ticket Packs On Sale Now (online only at viff.org)

THU SEP 3
All Ticket Sales (online at viff.org, starting at noon)
VIFF Complete Festival Program Guide available at locations around town

SAT SEP 12
In-Person Advance Sales start at Vancity Theatre Box Office, 1181 Seymour St (Noon-7pm).

THU SEP 24
34th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival opens
All venue box offices open, 30 minutes before the first screening of the day

Announcing VIFF Industry Exchange...Where Content Means Business!
In partnership with the CMPA-BC, VIFF Industry will produce VIFF Industry Exchange, the only Canadian marketplace of its kind devoted specifically to Digital Online Content. The marketplace will focus on business development programming for Canadian digital and traditional content creators that includes the participation of online/digital and conventional buyers. Programs will include B2B meetings with buyers, commissioning editors, advertising and branding agencies; Ted style talks; and buyer briefings.

VIFF Industry Exchange will take place during the 30th annual VIFF Industry Conference, Sept. 29 – Oct. 3. Offering five days of professional and business development for registered delegates and featuring guests from around the world topping their craft, the programming is wide-ranging and trend-engaging, from content creation and financing, marketing and direct distribution, to storytelling, Virtual Reality and discoverability.

TUE AUG 11
VIFF Industry + Industry Exchange Passes On Sale

TUE SEP 29 - SAT OCT 3

VIFF Industry Conference viff.org/industry

WED SEP 30 - THU OCT 1
VIFF Industry Exchange