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Vancouver International Film Festival 2017 | Sep 28 - Oct 13 | viff.org
Sponsors
Panorama — From France to Finland
Special Presentation
Spotlight on FranceWestern Europe & Scandinavia
Countries from Western Europe and Scandinavia that are featured include:
Austria • Denmark • Finland • Germany • Greece • Italy
Netherlands • Norway • Spain • Switzerland • Sweden
VIFF News

VIFF is proud to present its selection of films from Western Europe and Scandinavia, as well as the Spotlight on France series, sponsored by Air France and the Consulate General of France-Vancouver. This year’s Spotlight features the very best of contemporary French film, including work from contemporary masters and reigning veterans alike. Films from other Western European nations, as well as Scandinavia, are part of the popular Contemporary World Cinema series, sponsored by Delta Air Lines. This year’s series offers a look at the rich diversity of European culture, past and present, through the lens of cinema. Finally, VIFF introduces three of its Special Presentations—one from Western Europe and two from Scandinavia. With Happy End, Austrian maestro Michael Haneke offers an ironic dissection of the wealthy French; the Nordic coproduction Borg Vs. McEnroe tells the true story of a history-making tennis match; and, finally, Swedish director Ruben Östlund is back at the festival with The Square, which won the top prize at this year’s Cannes film festival.

Panorama Special Presentation Films | VIFF 2017

Happy End
MICHAEL HANEKE, FRANCE/AUSTRIA/GERMANY, 2017, 107 MIN.
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
With Michael Haneke directing, you know the title of his latest work is nothing if not deeply ironic. As the Calais refugee crisis unfolds, the rich, disaffected Laurent family—including paterfamilias Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and aunt Anne (Isabelle Huppert)—is sundered by the arrival of Anne’s 13-year-old niece (Fantine Harduin, superb)… “Distinguishes itself from much of [Haneke’s filmography] in the deployment of unexpectedly approachable dark wit and thriller-ish sensibility.”—Sight & Sound

Borg Vs. McEnroe
JANUS METZ, SWEDEN/DENMARK/FINLAND, 2017, 100 MIN.
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
One of the greatest tennis matches of all time—the 1980 Wimbledon Men’s Final between Björn Borg and John McEnroe—provides the baseline drama for this riveting sports movie. Director Janus Metz shoots the game in ways we have never seen before and elicits superb performances from Shia LaBeouf as McEnroe and Sverrir Gudnason (an uncanny lookalike) as Borg. Like all the best tennis games, the Final proves a nail-biting psychological thriller. This is the first tennis movie to truly ace it.

The Square
RUBEN ÖSTLUND, SWEDEN/GERMANY/FRANCE/DENMARK, 2017, 145 MIN.
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
Ruben Östlund’s (Force Majeure, VIFF 14) hilarious yet deadly serious satire sees selfish Swedish art curator Christian (Claes Bang, perfect) preparing an upcoming piece called The Square, an interactive work described as “a sanctuary of trust and caring.” Hardly… Soon things are spiralling out of control in Christian’s personal and professional life. “A potent, disturbing work that explores the boundaries of political correctness, artistic liberty and free speech in provocative ways.”—Hollywood Reporter

Panorama Spotlight on France Series Films | VIFF 2017

Ava
LÉA MYSIUS, FRANCE, 2017, 105 MIN.
North American Premiere
Soon to go blind, defiant 13-year-old Ava (Noée Abita) resolves to exploit her summer at the beach to its fullest. In debuting director Léa Mysius’ hands, this resolution takes us to some exciting places as Ava explores her sexuality and falls in with a beach-bum bad boy (Juan Cano)… “[The] startlingly assured, exquisitely shot Ava is a film that doesn’t simply explore the textural possibilities of 35mm film for the hell of it, it makes thematic use of them, to stunning, evocative effect.”—Variety

BPM (Beats Per Minute)
(120 battements par minute)
ROBIN CAMPILLO, FRANCE, 2017, 144 MIN.
A crowd favourite at Cannes this year, Robin Campillo’s fast-paced drama positively vibrates with energy, commitment and joie de vivre. As the AIDS crisis claims more and more lives in early 1990s Paris, the AIDS activist group ACT-UP begins a heated campaign to raise awareness and disrupt the blasé middle class. “Five stars! Compellingly combines elegy, tragedy, urgency and a defiant euphoria… This film has what its title implies: a heartbeat. It is full of cinematic life.—Guardian

Dalida
LISA AZUELOS, FRANCE/ITALY, 2016, 124 MIN.
Canadian Premiere
Paris-based singer/actress Dalida is given the biopic she deserves in Lisa Azuelos’ chronicle of the woman who galvanized the French music scene between the late 50s and the mid-80s. While selling 170 million records worldwide, she endured unbearable tragedy in her personal life and committed suicide in 1987. Newcomer Sveva Alviti in the lead “is not only a dead ringer for the dead star but also, just like the title character, a charismatic force of nature that’s impossible to ignore.“—Hollywood Reporter

Django
ÉTIENNE COMAR, FRANCE, 2017, 117 MIN.
Writer Étienne Comar (Of Gods and Men) makes a daring directorial debut by confining this look at the life of legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt (played marvellously by A Prophet’s Reda Kateb) to the soul-forging months during WWII when the musician had to make a choice: collaborate and go on a tour of Germany or face up to the facts and resist… Co-starring the great Cécile de France. “Kateb [gets] the chance to shine in… [this] handsomely made affair with one of the best scores imaginable.”—Variety

Faces Places
(Visages Villages)
AGNÈS VARDA, JR, FRANCE, 2017, 90 MIN.
The great Agnès Varda, now 89, hits the road with the photographer JR in search of the people and their villages—faces and places—that make rural France what it is. As the two artists work with villagers to affix JR’s monumental portraits of the locals to various buildings, the documentary celebrates the transformative power of art, as embodied in our two witty and wise hosts. “If Faces Places is Agnès Varda’s last film, it’s a profoundly moving and absolutely essential farewell.”—IndieWire

Ismael's Ghosts
(Les fantômes d'Ismaël)
ARNAUD DESPLECHIN, FRANCE, 2017, 132 MIN.
Canadian Premiere
VIFF fave Arnaud Desplechin (My Golden Days, Kings and Queen) returns with his most daring film yet, a tour-de-force of mise-en-scène, shown here in the longer director’s cut not screened at the Cannes festival earlier this year. A dream cast—Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard, Louis Garrel—enacts this fraught drama about a filmmaker (Amalric), haunted by his past mistakes, whose current production is interrupted when his ex-wife (Cotillard) suddenly appears after 21 years away…
Milla
VALÉRIE MASSADIAN, FRANCE/PORTUGAL, 2017, 128 MIN.
North American Premiere
Forsaking sentimentality in favour of authenticity, Valérie Massadian employs immaculate mise-en-scène and precise camerawork to craft a portrait of a 17-year-old runaway (Severine Jonkeere, discovered in a teen shelter) who suddenly finds herself with child, abandoned by her boyfriend and forced to embrace adult responsibility. Sometimes to be simple is to be daring, and in creating Milla’s world and simply allowing her to live in it, Massadian has fashioned a moving, memorable and transformative work.

A Season in France
A Season in France
(Une Saison en France)
MAHAMAT SALEH HAROUN, FRANCE, 2017, 100 MIN.
Having fled the civil war-ravaged Central African Republic for Paris, a respected teacher (Eriq Ebouaney) now barely fends for his family by peddling produce. While he finds a loving companion (Sandrine Bonnaire) who helps him confront his past traumas, French bureaucracy proves a harsher mistress, impeding his bid for asylum and chance at a new life. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun offers a compassionate and visceral account of the unenviable lot of illegal immigrants struggling to maintain a sense of dignity.

The Valley of the Wolves
The Valley of the Wolves
(La vallée des loups)
JEAN-MICHEL BERTRAND, FRANCE, 2016, 92 MIN.
North American Premiere
Director Jean-Michel Bertrand (Flirting with Heights, VIFF 11) spent three years deep in the French Alps single-mindedly seeking out wolves in their natural habitat. Gradually, he managed to closely observe one wolf pack—and ended up being accepted by them… Full of sublime images of the titular mountain valley (which Bertrand refuses to reveal the location of), captured in all four seasons, and the spectacular flora and fauna that live there, this is a gorgeous adventure story worthy of Jack London.

The Workshop
(L'atelier)
LAURENT CANTET, FRANCE, 2017, 113 MIN.
Expanding on ideas that made his The Class (VIFF 08) a Cannes’ Palme d’Or winner, Laurent Cantet’s deft and captivating drama focuses on a literary workshop in depressed La Ciotat (near Marseille) and the push-pull relationship that develops between hot-headed—and possibly violent—student Antoine (Matthieu Lucci, excellent) and workshop head Olivia (Marina Fois). “Cantet makes an enthralling return to form with this topical fusion of political debate session and socially conscious thriller.”—Variety



The Young Karl Marx
(Le Jeune Karl Marx)
RAOUL PECK, FRANCE/GERMANY/BELGIUM, 2017, 118 MIN.
Canadian Premiere
Fresh off the success of I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck—aided by screenwriter Pascal Bonitzer—tackles the early days of the friendship between Karl Marx (August Diehl) and Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske) as they struggle to establish the Communist Party and complete the Communist Manifesto… “This intense, fervent film about the early development of communism… shouldn’t work, but it does, due to the intelligence of the acting and the stamina and concentration of the writing and directing.”—Guardian

Panorama Stream Films from Western Europe and Scandinavia| VIFF 2017

Countries from Western Europe and Scandinavia that are featured include:
Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands,Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden

Farewell
Farewell
(Abschied von den Eltern)
ASTRID JOHANNA OFNER, AUSTRIA, 2017, 80 MIN.
Canadian Premiere
Based on Peter Weiss’ 1960 story of the same name, Farewell traces the early years and initial forays into artistic creation of the novelist, playwright, artist and filmmaker who became one of the German language’s most important artistic figures of the 20th century. Framed as a struggle to escape both historical events (he and his half-Jewish kin undertook a cross-Europe odyssey in the 1930s and 40s) and the reins of family, Astrid Johanna Ofner’s debut is a literary adaptation unlike any other.

Winter Brothers
Winter Brothers
(Vinterbrødre)
HLYNUR PÁLMASON, DENMARK/ICELAND, 2017, 94 MIN.
Captivatingly shot in a cool 16mm that complements its snowy environment, Hlynur Pálmason’s film is an immersive look into the world of an Icelandic limestone mine through the eyes of Emil, an awkward, fragile man who can’t quite fit in. An eccentric, dissonant account of outsiderdom, it’s punctuated with bursts of surrealism and bouts of dark humour. “An impressively original, auspiciously idiosyncratic debut, one that scratches away at truths about masculinity, lovelessness and isolation…”—Variety

The Other Side of Hope
(Toivon tuolla puolen)
AKI KAURISMÄKI, FINLAND, 2017, 98 MIN.
The Finnish master of the droll and the deadpan, Aki Kaurismäki, returns with a second feature (after Le Havre) concerning the European refugee crisis, this one about a Syrian (Sherwan Haji) who washes up on Finland’s glum shores and becomes an unlikely friend to a middle-aged Finnish shirt salesman (Sakari Kuosmanen) in the midst of re-making his life. Compassionate and wryly funny by turns, this is Kaurismäki firing on all cylinders. “A deeply humane film, as well as a quietly hilarious one.”—Time Out

Tom of Finland
DOME KARUKOSKI, FINLAND/GERMANY/DENMARK/SWEDEN, 2017, 116 MIN.
LGBTQ icon Tom of Finland—the artist who saw his “pornographic” drawings of well-endowed hunks go from criminal to celebrated—is the fascinating focus of director Dome Karukoski’s biopic, starring an excellent Pekka Strang. Moving from WWII through to Tom’s halcyon days and nights in the California of the 1970s and 80s, the drama “is most effective at showcasing the bountiful beauty of [Tom’s] fleshy, filthy sketches, as well as the empowered pursuit of pleasure for which they continue to stand.”—Variety

Casting
NICOLAS WACKERBARTH, GERMANY, 2017, 91 MIN.
North American Premiere
As the start date for her remake of Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant looms, director Vera (Judith Engel) has yet to find her lead. Casting assistant Gerwin (Andreas Lust), while testing many female actors for the part, sees his chance for acting glory… Nicolas Wackerbarth’s sly and funny take on power relations would make Fassbinder proud. “Every bit as complex [as Fassbinder’s Beware of a Holy Whore] in its mapping of the emotional dynamics between volatile artists and wannabes…”—Fandor

In The Fade
(Aus dem nichts)
FATIH AKIN, GERMANY, 2017, 95 MIN.
Fatih Akin’s (Head On, Soul Kitchen) taut drama could not be more timely, as it deals with the resurgence of fascism plaguing the West in general and his native Germany in particular. When her Kurdish husband and young son are killed in a bomb blast triggered by neo-Nazis, Katja (a magnificent Diane Kruger) will stop at nothing to ensure the perpetrators pay for their senseless slaughter. “Kruger’s beautifully modulated performance as a woman seeking justice… anchors this skilled… drama.”—Variety

Tehran Taboo
ALI SOOZANDEH, GERMANY/AUSTRIA/IRAN, 2017, 96 MIN.
North American Premiere
A youthful lust for life and taboo sexual adventure is at the heart of Iran-born, German-based Ali Soozandeh’s brash, animated combination of rotoscoped characters and drawn settings, some in 3D. The sex lives of a prostitute, a male musician, and two young women ingeniously intersect in a version of Tehran never before seen on screen. “This wily account of 20-something Iranians negotiating an assault course of laws and prohibitions to get their kicks fizzes with energy and bad behaviour.”—Screen

Western
VALESKA GRISEBACH, GERMANY, 2017, 119 MIN.
The long-awaited follow-up to her wonderful Longing (VIFF 06), Valeska Grisebach’s tense drama chronicles the culture clash when a team of male German workers sets up camp in the Bulgarian countryside to construct a river-fed power plant. The amazing work of the nonprofessional cast and Grisebach’s unstinting realism make for a superb social critique. “There are no stagecoaches or six-shooters in this sharp, simmering drama of German-Bulgarian discord, but the spirit of John Ford graces it.”—Variety

Son of Sofia
(O Gios tis Sofias)
ELINA PSYKOU, GREECE/BULGARIA/FRANCE, 2017, 111 MIN.
Canadian Premiere
After his father dies, 11-year-old Russian Misha (Viktor Khomut) is reunited with his mother in Athens and has to accept a new culture, a new language and a new father while dealing with conflicting adolescent desires… Set during the 2004 Olympics, Elina Psykou’s occasionally disturbing work boasts surreal, deadpan touches and a striking blend of reality and fantasy. “Psykou’s fairy tale-ish coming-of-age drama… takes one surprising left turn after another… [Her] film is never less than unique.”—Variety

7 Minutes
(7 Minuti)
MICHELE PLACIDO, ITALY, 2016, 92 MIN.
Canadian Premiere
It doesn’t seem like too much to accept: to keep their jobs secure, all the female workers at a textile factory have to do is give up seven minutes of their 15-minute daily lunch break… For Bianca (Ottavia Piccolo), convincing her ten fellow workers’ reps that this is the thin edge of the wedge is a battle worth fighting in Michele Placido’s impassioned political drama. “Resonant, compelling, timely filmmaking… It’s gripping, for such an apparently unsexy subject, and surprisingly cinematic.”—Variety

La Tenerezza
GIANNI AMELIO, ITALY, 2016, 103 MIN.
Canadian Premiere
One of Italy’s finest contemporary filmmakers, Gianni Amelio scores a late-career triumph with this intimate drama. Alienated from his own children, elderly Lorenzo (Renato Carpentieri) finds himself drawn to the neighbours across from his apartment. Fabio (Elio Germano), Michela (Micaela Ramazzotti) and their children are a happy brood on the surface, but, as the old man gets closer to them, tragedy reaches out… Gorgeously shot and populated with memorable characters, this is a quietly devastating film.

Disappearance
(Verdwijnen)
BOUDEWIJN KOOLE, NETHERLANDS/NORWAY, 2017, 92 MIN.
Hauntingly beautiful, deeply perceptive and emotionally devastating, Boudewijn Koole’s film explores the complex relationship between an adult woman and her emotionally reticent mother. Effortlessly establishing a tangible sense of shared history and complicated emotional bonds between its characters, Disappearance portrays familial love as a fragile tension between profound intimacy and polarizing alienation. Brilliantly acted and finely crafted, this is a strange, honest and bittersweet film.

The King's Choice
(Kongens Nei)
ERIK POPPE, NORWAY, 2016, 130 MIN.
Canadian Premiere
Chronicling the nerve-racking days before and after the Norwegian monarch King Haakon VII (Jesper Christiansen) made the decision to resist the invading German army during WWII, Eric Poppe’s (Hawaii, Oslo) exceedingly well-acted drama was short-listed for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar earlier this year. Classical filmmaking at its finest, it "benefits from excellent cinematography by John Christian Rosenlund [and] retrieves a part of the past that deserves to be remembered." —Hollywood Reporter

Thelma
Thelma
JOACHIM TRIER, NORWAY/SWEDEN/FRANCE/DENMARK, 2017, 116 MIN.
This Nordic thriller features Eili Harboe in a star-making role. Playing the titular character, she gives a beguiling performance, expressing angst and repression yet still giving off a powerful erotic charge. A small-town girl gone to study in Oslo, Thelma meets her first love—and starts to experience seizures. Things get even more drastic from there, as director Joachim Trier (Louder Than Bombs) combines the religious, the sexual and the supernatural to mesmerizing effect.



The Queen of Spain
(La reina de España)
FERNANDO TRUEBA, SPAIN, 2016, 128 MIN.
The sly Fernando Trueba (Oscar-winner for Belle Epoque) places Penélope Cruz front and centre in this farcical comedy about a Hollywood movie shoot in 50s Spain, when Franco was at the height of his power. Cruz is beautiful, much-married superstar Macarena Granada, who gets mixed up in a leftist plot while essaying the role of Queen Isabella in a costume epic. Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes co-star. “Cruz carries the film. She has a ridiculous kind of heroism, and her disguises are hilarious…”—Guardian


Summer 1993
(Estiu 1993)
CARLA SIMÓN, SPAIN, 2017, 96 MIN.
Canadian Premiere
When both of her parents die of AIDS, six-year-old Frida (an amazing Laia Artigas) is sent to live with her uncle in the Catalan countryside. Unsure about how her parents died—shame keeps the adults mum—and thrown by her new surroundings, she begins to act out… Debuting director Carla Simón draws on her own experience for this deeply affecting drama. “A delicate sleeper of a film that movingly looks at an orphaned six-year-old’s loneliness and confusion without the usual dip into sentimentality.”—Variety

Sami Blood
(Sameblod)
AMANDA KERNELL, SWEDEN/DENMARK/NORWAY, 2016, 110 MIN.
The indigenous Sami of northern Scandinavia have been labelled “inferior” throughout modern history. Half Sami herself, debuting director Amanda Kernell crafts a deeply moving coming-of-age tale, set in 1930s Sweden, about a 14-year-old Sami girl (Lene Cecilia Sparrok, riveting) whose rejection of her heritage has profound consequences. “A stirring debut… Robustly blends adolescent fears that resonate across borders and generations with a fascinatingly specific, rarely depicted cultural context.”—Variety

The Divine Order
(Die Göttliche Ordnung)
PETRA VOLPE, SWITZERLAND/GERMANY, 2016, 96 MIN.
Until 1971, women in Switzerland had no voting rights. This startling fact is the basis for Petra Volpe’s small gem, which traces the political awakening of young wife and mother Nora (Marie Leuenberger). As news of the ’60s counterculture finally reaches her quiet hamlet, Nora decides to go against “the divine order” and advocate for enfranchisement in the upcoming referendum. This does not go over well… “Volpe dramatizes her action with a light touch that allows for flashes of pointed comedy…”—Variety

Information - VIFF 2017viff.org

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

  • PanoramaFrom France to FinlandEastern Europe, India, Middle East and Africa Latin America, UK & USA Documentaries Galas and Special Presentations – The world's boldest creators and their exceptional works. The year's most anticipated international films and new discoveries curated specifically for VIFF audiences.
  • Sea to Sky – 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 – Interactive screen-based experiences, talks and sessions with creative leaders designed to educate and inspire public and professional attendees alike.
  • 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 – Genre-bending features that defy traditional classification and creators who push short form storytelling to its limits.

Important Dates
Advance VIFF Pass + Packs on sale now at viff.org (ONLINE only)

THU SEP 7 - Full Program available online.
ONLINE: VIFF Single Tickets on sale at viff.org

THU SEP 14
IN-PERSON: Box Office opens at The Vancouver International Film Centre. 1181 Seymour Street, at Davie. (Mon-Sat: Noon - 7pm, Sun: 2pm - 7pm)

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VIFF
Vancouver International Film Festival
September 28 - October 13, 2017

Discover more viff.org

Greater Vancouver International Film Society
1181 Seymour Street Vancouver BC Canada V6B 3M7
Box Office Helpline: 604.683.3456
Film selections are subject to change.


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