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Vancouver International Film Festival 2016 | Sep 29 - Oct 14 | viff.org
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Panorama: Cinemas from Europe
European FilmsVIFF News

Having just announced a stellar selection of films for its long-standing Spotlight on France series, VIFF is thrilled to turn its focus to Europe's other nations and the exception work they're producing. Hailing from perennial cinematic powerhouses (Germany, Italy ) to nations that consistently punch above their weight (Romania) to emerging creative hotbeds (Bulgaria), this complement of films showcases the new narratives that are inspiring creators in some of the world's most storied countries.

This year, VIFF expands the frame to create multi-experiential programming streams that include curated screenings fused with related talks and events in a unique 'film plus' model. You can now find what you already love even more easily and discover new areas of interest. For a list of our streams and announcements click here.

European Films | VIFF 2016

Original Bliss
(Gleissendes glück)
SVEN TADDICKEN, GERMANY, 2016, 102 MIN.
North American premiere
TUE OCT 4, 9:15 PM, PLAYHOUSE
WED OCT 5, 4:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
The Lives of Others (2006) co-stars Martina Gedeck and Ulrich Tukur re-team for Sven Taddicken’s (My Brother the Vampire) wholly original drama about a seemingly complacent housewife (Gedeck, mesmerizing) whose underlying masochism leads her to embark on a relationship with her shrink (Tukur)… “An elegantly disquieting investigation into the interrelation of faith, violence and sexual degradation, held together by a rivetingly sure-footed performance by German star Martina Gedeck…”—Variety

All of a Sudden
(Auf Einmal)
ASLI ÖZGE, GERMANY/NETHERLANDS/FRANCE, 2016, 112 MIN.
SUN OCT 9, 1:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
MON OCT 10, 6:30 PM, RIO
Karsten (Sebastian Hülk) is in trouble. At the end of a party, there was one person left in his apartment. They talked, they kissed and then she stopped breathing. With her death, mysteries were born that might never be solved. Director Asli Özge has fashioned a riveting thriller; there’s danger in every glance, every seemingly innocent comment. She shows a mastery of the form, with each shot perfectly composed and each sequence exquisitely edited for maximum suspense. The tension never lets up.

The Complexity of Happiness
(La felicità è un sistema complesso)
GIANNI ZANASI, ITALY, 2015, 118 MIN.
THU SEP 29, 6:30 PM, RIO
WED OCT 12, 4:00 PM, SFU-GCA
In this rueful comedy, life isn’t so sweet for Enrico (Valerio Mastandrea), whose knack for persuading irresponsible CEOs to sell their companies meets its match in two earnest, orphaned heirs. Meanwhile at home, he has a suicidal tenant to contend with. As this good man strays out of his depth and into a classic case of 21st-century anomie, director Gianni Zanasi brings Sorrentino-esque flash and flamboyance to the proceedings, including a string of artfully choreographed, larger-than-life showstoppers

.
The Death of Louis XIV
(La mort de Louis XIV))
Spain/France | Dir: Albert Serra
Fri. Oct 7, 9:45 pm, Intl Village 10
Sun. Oct 9, 10:45 am, SFU-GCA
Catalan iconoclast Albert Serra (Story of My Death) pairs up with acting legend Jean-Pierre Léaud in this hypnotic study of the final weeks in the life of the Sun King. With observational precision and flights of dark humour, Serra crafts a singular vision of power fading away… “[The] film has a documentary-like authenticity, matching the unblinking instincts of a modern reality television series with the visual allure of the old masters… Serra has found his perfect Louis in Jean-Pierre Léaud.”—Screen


Dolores
Germany | Dir: Michael Rösel
Fri. Sep 30, 9:15 pm, Playhouse
Sun. Oct 2, 1:15 pm, Intl Village 10
In 1950s Germany, the chance meeting between precision-model builder Georg (Udo Schenk), possessor of mysterious powers, and movie star Dolores Moor (Franziska Petri) leads to a tale of obsession and murder… Alternately funny and chilling, and based on a graphic novel, Michael Rösel’s gorgeously designed tongue-in-cheek cross between mad-scientist movies and melodramas of the 50s is smashing fun. Think Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In crossed with Vertigo, and add one dollop of Sirk, plus two of comedy...

The Dreamed Path
(Der Traumhafte Weg)
ANGELA SCHANELEC, GERMANY, 2016, 86 MIN.
MON OCT 10, 9:00 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
THU OCT 13, 3:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 8
Angela Schanelec’s work is deliberately constructed, image upon image, and allows the viewer to read a seemingly realistic, yet artificially created world as it is being experienced. Here she tells the intertwined stories of two couples who experience alternate bleak realities: young backpacking lovers Kenneth and Theres, who meet in Greece, and, 30 years later, husband and wife Ariane and David, living in Berlin. This being a Schanelec film, attention is required, but it is more than amply rewarded.

The Giant
(Jätten)
JOHANNES NYHOLM, SWEDEN/DENMARK, 2016, 86 MIN.
FRI SEP 30, 6:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 8
MON OCT 10, 10:30 AM, VANCITY
Hilarious and moving by turns, Johannes Nyholm’s unforgettable debut introduces us to Rikard (Johan Kylén), a 30-year-old autistic with a severe facial deformation. Separated from his mother at birth, he regularly escapes from reality into an imaginary world where he is a 50-metre-tall giant. Is it there that he conceives of winning, for real, the Scandinavian Pétanque Championship as a way of regaining his mother’s love…? A simply extraordinary work—plus, you really do learn the rules of pétanque!
Glory
(Slava)
KRISTINA GROZEVA, PETAR VALCHANOV, BULGARIA/GREECE, 2016, 98 MIN.
North American Premiere
FRI SEP 30, 4:15 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
SUN OCT 9, 6:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 8
FRI OCT 14, 11:00 AM, SFU-GCA
When an honest railway worker finds a stash of money along the tracks, he turns in the cache to the authorities. PR spin doctor Julia (the amazing Margita Gosheva), in need of good publicity for her client, the corrupt Ministry of Transport, sets in motion a chain of events that will take a terrible toll… “[A] stiletto-sharp report on the state of modern Bulgaria… Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov have a rare ability to make gripping, politically charged drama that is entirely accessible.”—Screen

A Good Wife
(Dobra Zena)
MIRJANA KARANOVIĆ , SERBIA/BOSNIA/CROATIA, 2015, 95 MIN.
WED OCT 5, 6:15 PM, PLAYHOUSE
THU OCT 13, 4:00 PM, SFU-GCA
Mirjana Karanović brings us a drama about a woman’s courage, a husband’s secret, and a nation’s past. She plays Milena, a middle-aged Serbian wife whose life is relatively happy until she discovers a VHS tape from her husband’s war days. What she sees on that tape will change her life…“Karanović’s fearless performance is one of an actress right on the top of her game…[it] holds you hard in its gaze.”—Eye for Film
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki
(Hymyilevä mies)
JUHO KUOSMANEN, FINLAND/SWEDEN, 2016, 92 MIN.
THU SEP 29, 8:30 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
MON OCT 3, 1:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
WED OCT 12, 6:45 PM, SFU-GCA
As light on its feet as a featherweight champ, Juho Kuosmanen’s debut is a stunner, a wry and funny yet deeply humane black-and-white biopic that looks at the heroic status—attained at a price—accorded boxer (and baker) Olli Mäki in 1962 when he was set to fight American champ Davey Moore on home soil. “Olli Mäki’s warm, crinkled humanity, cockeyed humour and gorgeous, utterly immersive evocation of a less-distant-than-it-looks past exert a surprisingly universal arthouse pull… Remarkable…”—Variety

History's Future
FIONA TAN, UK/NETHERLANDS, 2016, 95 MIN.
THU OCT 6, 9:30 PM, SFU-GCA
TUE OCT 11, 1:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 8
Taking the subject of amnesia and turning it upside down, Fiona Tan’s drama is a meditation on memory, illusion and 21st-century Europe—not to mention a spellbinding mystery. A man known only as “Missing Person” wanders Europe, searching for his identity while the continent around him roils… Tan tears up the playbook and scatters the pieces; the result is dazzling, mind-bending cinema. “An explosion of ideas and imagery… [It] essentially attempts to rewrite the rules of cinema.”—Screen

The Last Family
(Ostatnia Rodzina)
JAN P. MATUSZYŃSKI, POLAND, 2016, 123 MIN.
TUE OCT 4, 6:00 PM, PLAYHOUSE
WED OCT 5, 1:15 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
SUN OCT 9, 6:00 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
For decades, Polish surrealist Zdzislaw Beksinski obsessively recorded—in photographs, on video and on audiotape—every aspect of his life in the modest apartment he shared with his wife, mother and mother-in-law. Inspired by this archive, Jan P. Matuszyński has constructed a portrait of the artist as a mild, unassuming husband and son, and a loving father to a troubled, volatile son of his own. The banal sits cheek by jowl with madness, death and desire in this trenchant, superbly executed debut.

Lily Lane
(Liliom Ösvény)
BENEDEK FLIEGAUF, HUNGARY, 2016, 91 MIN.
FRI SEP 30, 8:30 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
WED OCT 5, 4:00 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
A mother (Angéla Stefanovics) haunted by past trauma and the seven-year-old son (Bálint Sótony) she both captivates and frightens with tales that may or may not be true are the twin poles around which Benedek Fliegauf (Womb) weaves this eerie and indelible work. Be prepared to have your dreams disturbed… “An evocative mood piece [that falls] somewhere between Terence Malick and Andrei Tarkovsky… [An] aesthetically intoxicating study of childhood, memory and creepy bedtime tales…”—Hollywood Reporter



Like Crazy
(La pazza gioia)
PAOLO VIRZÌ, ITALY/FRANCE, 2016, 116 MIN.
SAT OCT 1, 9:15 PM, SFU-GCA
THU OCT 6, 2:30 PM, SFU-GCA
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti are both superb as (bi-)polar opposites who bond when they escape from a Tuscan mental institution in Paolo Virzì’s (Human Capital) smart and funny character study. Virzi’s characteristic concern with socio-political issues adds another level to a vastly entertaining film. “A terrific comedy-drama about two women in a mental institution that avoids the pitfalls such a scenario could encounter and boasts delicious dialogue with a rare sense of balance.”—Variety

Lost in Munich
(Ztraceni v Mnichově)
PETR ZELENKA, CZECH REPUBLIC, 2015, 105 MIN.
THU SEP 29, 9:15 PM, SFU-GCA
SUN OCT 2, 4:30 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
MON OCT 10, 6:30 PM, CINEMATHEQUE
A 90-year-old French parrot in Prague causes an international incident by reciting racist words spoken by Édouard Daladier, the French prime minister who signed the 1938 Munich Agreement granting Hitler much of Czechoslovakia… But wait! The parrot episode is part of a film within a documentary charting the dysfunctional feature’s collapse (think Truffaut’s Day for Night)… “Petr Zelenka’s mischievous mix of farce and tragedy [is wrapped] in levity, irony and warmhearted charm…”—Hollywood Reporter

A Man Called Ove
(En man som heter Ove)
HANNES HOLM, SWEDEN, 2015, 116 MIN.
TUE OCT 4, 9:30 PM, RIO
SAT OCT 8, 10:45 AM, SFU-GCA
Patrolling his neighbourhood for signs of disorder, sticking his nose into everyone’s business, observing no social niceties when dealing with “idiots”—Ove (Rolf Lassgard) is one cantankerous old git! The arrival of a young family next door, however, sets in motion a charming tale that uses flashbacks and wonderful acting to tell Ove’s story… “A touching comic crowd-pleaser… Hannes Holm’s irresistible adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s eponymous bestselling novel… [is] a heartwarming tale…”—Variety

Mother
(Ema)
KADRI KÕUSAAR, ESTONIA, 2016, 89 MIN.
SAT OCT 1, 11:30 AM, INTL VILLAGE 10
SAT OCT 8, 8:45 PM, SFU-GCA
THU OCT 13, 6:30 PM, SFU-GCA
If you’re looking for dark thrills or biting comedy, Kadri Kõusaar’s small-town Estonian crime thriller will prove quite the discovery! Schoolteacher Lauri (Siim Maaten) withdraws a large sum of money right before a gun accident leaves him comatose. Who did the deed and where’s the cash? That’s what everyone wants to know. Funny, suspenseful and chock full of eccentric characters, this is a droll delight. “A pleasure to watch… [the film] will keep you guessing until the very end.”—Variety

The Ornithologist
(O Ornitólogo)
JOÃO PEDRO RODRIGUES, PORTUGAL, 2016, 118 MIN.
THU OCT 6, 3:15 PM, INTL VILLAGE 8
MON OCT 10, 6:15 PM, VANCITY
João Pedro Rodrigues returns with a beautiful, provocative and highly personal modern reading of the life of St. Anthony of Padua. When we first see Fernando (Paul Hamy), he is idyllically pursuing his love of birdwatching. Soon, however, a canoeing mishap and a decidedly strange encounter with two (female) Chinese pilgrims mark the turn into queered up allegorical territory. Prepare to be dazzled and intrigued. “Puts the ‘vision’ in visionary… Remarkable [and] gorgeously realized…”—Hollywood Reporter

Quit Staring at My Plate
(Ne gledaj mi u pijat)
HANA JUŠIĆ, CROATIA, 2016, 105 MIN.
THU OCT 6, 9:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
WED OCT 12, 1:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 8
Written and directed by first-timer Hana Jušić, this honest and intelligent realist drama is a rare thing: a film from Croatia made by a young woman that focuses on a young woman and her problems. Marijana (newcomer Mia Petričević) lives in cramped quarters with her family in a provincial seaside town. When her autocratic father suffers a stroke, it falls to her—she’s a lab tech—to provide for all. The burden proves too much for the 24-year-old and she’s soon engaging in some seriously risky behaviour...



A Quiet Passion
TERENCE DAVIES, UK/BELGIUM, 2015, 125 MIN.
MON OCT 3, 6:00 PM, CENTRE FOR ARTS
SUN OCT 9, 11:00 AM, INTL VILLAGE 9
The life of the great American poet Emily Dickinson (played here by a superb Cynthia Nixon) is brought luminously to life by, appropriately enough, a master poet of the cinema, Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea). Davies imbues Dickinson’s cloistered life with a beauty that shows her for the quiet rebel she was. “Nixon does a brilliant job… Above all, though, it is Davies’ ability to invest even the most apparently humdrum moments with some form of intense radiance that sustains his film.”—Guardian

Scarred Hearts
(Inimi cicatrizate)
RADU JUDE, ROMANIA, 2016, 141 MIN.
MON OCT 10, 8:45 PM, VANCITY
FRI OCT 14, 3:45 PM, VANCITY
Set in 1937, Radu Jude’s (Aferim!) gorgeously shot and deeply felt adaptation of Romanian author Max Blecher’s autobiographical novel focuses on the young Emanuel (newcomer Lucian Tedor Rus, superb), a man suffering from spinal tuberculosis who absolutely refuses to let his debilitating illness destroy his lust for life… “Another compelling step forward from [Jude]… Alternately funny, raunchy and sad… [The film is] littered with colourful exchanges, passionate romances and emotional asides.”—IndieWire

Sieranevada
CRISTI PUIU, ROMANIA, 2016, 173 MIN.
FRI OCT 7, 9:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
MON OCT 10, 10:45 AM, INTL VILLAGE 9
No stone—whether familial, political, social or historical—goes unturned in Cristi Puiu’s (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu) mordantly funny, masterfully choreographed chronicle of one large family’s meal honouring a recently deceased relative. Puiu’s control and his cast’s performances are breathtaking. “A claustrophobic, quietly absurd, blackly comic family portrait, Sieranevada [is] a deeply involving, curiously mysterious experience… The sense of having shared real lives… is incontestable.”—Time Out



The Student
((M)uchenik)
KIRILL SEREBRENNIKOV, RUSSIA, 2016, 118 MIN.
SUN OCT 2, 9:30 PM, PLAYHOUSE
FRI OCT 7, 12:30 PM, SFU-GCA
A battle of wills between a fanatically Orthodox teen, Venya (Pyotr Skvortsov), and his atheistic biology teacher, Elena (Victoria Isakova), threatens to careen over into tragedy in Kirill Serebrennikov’s savage satire on the state of Russia today. As Venya’s extremism lurches into anti-Semitism and homophobia, Serebrennikov takes dead aim at Russia’s regression. “Splendid… A stormy, swoon-inducingly shot bout of Russian moral wrestling that hits as hard and as heavily as a nastoyka hangover…”—Variety


Suntan
ARGYRIS PAPADIMITROPOULOS, GREECE, 2016, 104 MIN.
FRI SEP 30, 4:00 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9 • MON OCT 3, 6:30 PM, RIO • THU OCT 13, 8:45 PM, SFU-GCA
It’s summer in Greece and the beaches are awash with tanned young hedonists. This proves the undoing of Kostis (Makis Papadimitriou), a doughy, middle-aged doctor who becomes infatuated with Anna (Elli Tringou) after dressing her flesh wounds. Adopted as her hard-partying gang’s sad-sack mascot, he’s summarily banished for failing to curb his rampant desire. Of course, ostracization only fuels his obsession, allowing Argyris Papadimitropoulos to deliver “an absorbing, discomfiting drama…”—Sight & Sound

Sweet Dreams
(Fai bei sogni)
MARCO BELLOCCHIO, ITALY/FRANCE, 2016, 134 MIN.
SUN OCT 9, 9:00 PM, RIO
WED OCT 12, 1:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 10
Continuing his career-long exploration of Freudian issues, Italian master Marco Bellocchio profiles a journalist (Valerio Mastandrea) who’s never come to grips with the passing of his mother (played in flashbacks by Barbara Ronchi). The temporally unmoored narrative sets us adrift through a life prematurely deprived of its most influential figure. “Embracing the melodrama of his source, Bellocchio’s sprawling, virtuosic drama [boasts] a subjectivity simultaneously sentimental and subtly satiric.”—MUBI

The Teacher
(Ucitelka)
JAN HŘEBEJK, CZECH REPUBLIC/SLOVAKIA, 2016, 102 MIN.
WED OCT 12, 8:45 PM, INTL VILLAGE 9
FRI OCT 14, 1:30 PM, SFU-GCA
Director Jan Hřebejk and writer Petr Jarchovský (Divided We Fall) are in top form with this compelling dramedy set in 1983 Bratislava. Mrs. Drazdechova (Zuzana Mauréry, best actress at Karlovy Vary), teacher and the head of the local Communist Party, uses her position and her pupils to squeeze their parents for material benefit—and if you don’t play the game, Junior’s marks plummet. But a revolt is brewing… Based on an incident from Jarchovský’s youth, this is deadly serious and darkly humorous by turns.

The Yard
(Yarden)
MÅNS MÅNSSON, SWEDEN/GERMANY, 2016, 78 MIN.
THU SEP 29, 6:00 PM, VANCITY
SUN OCT 2, 1:30 PM, SFU-GCA
TUE OCT 11, 9:00 PM, VANCITY
After ruining his career by publicly slamming his own new book, a morose middle-aged poet (Anders Mossling) takes a job in a shipping yard in the port of Malmö. Working alongside immigrants, our unnamed sad-sack manages okay—until he is fired. What must he do to regain his job? Lose what’s left of his dignity… “This tragicomic drama casts a Kafkaesque eye on the horrors of the modern industrial workplace… [There’s] plenty of visual poetry and dry humour in this fatalistic fable…”—Hollywood Reporter

Information - VIFF Sep 29 - Oct 14, 2016 viff.org

The festival's programming will be featured in the following streams:

  • Panorama: Special PresentationsDocumentariesSpotlight on FranceContemporary World CinemaCinemas of India/Iran/Africa/Middle East – The world's boldest creators and their exceptional works. The year's most anticipated international films and new discoveries curated specifically for VIFF audiences.
  • Ignite – A showcase of the inspired works emerging from the creative nexus that is British Columbia.
  • True North – A celebration of the extraordinary creativity and craft being demonstrated by Canadian storytellers from coast to coast.
  • Impact – Uncompromising films and insightful discussions that spark action and change the way we see the world.
  • Next – Virtual reality, gaming, music and emerging digital platforms serve as a catalyst for ground-breaking ideas and unforgettable next-level experiences.
  • Gateway – Journey into the compelling cinematic worlds envisioned by some of East Asia's most adventurous artists.
  • M/A/D – Music, art and design receive their deserved big-screen treatment in this aesthetically alluring stream that's enhanced by exhibitions and live performances.
  • ALT – Fantastic cinema that defies traditional classification and creators who push short form storytelling to its limits.
Important Dates
THU SEP 15
IN-PERSON: Box Office opens at The Vancouver International Film Centre. 1181 Seymour Street, at Davie (Mon-Sat: Noon - 7pm, Sun: 2pm - 9pm)

Program Guides are now available on-line and for pick up at The Vancouver International Film Centre. Distribution in various locations will be posted on viff.org soon.

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