American documentary filmmaker James Benning's new film about the Unabomber, Stemple Pass, is one of the few true must-sees in this year's VIFF, and plays tonight for the final time. There is more than a usual amount of urgency in recommending audiences get out to see the film while they can, since it is unlikely that it will screen theatrically elsewise: although Benning regularly has films in the VIFF, none, to my knowledge, have yet returned for an engagement in Vancouver. The film may also never see distribution on home video, which is possibly a good thing; the challenges and rewards of Benning's cinema are such that you pretty much have to see his films on the big screen, with an audience, where there is no option of pausing the film, no way to dodge the demands placed on you.
Set amidst a modern Mumbai, beautifully capturing the color and energy of the city, The Lunchbox will give audiences something to smile about. Written and directed by Ritesh Batra, the story is peppered with perfectly-timed comedic moments, which balance the melancholy of the lead character. Khan is dashing - think India's answer to Tom Selleck - and a delight to watch in this follow up to his role in last year's Life of Pi. I should also mention the mouth-watering dishes, which will give you a hankering for Indian food from the moment the credits roll.
In 2007, Chicago-based historian and collector John Maloof discovered 100,000 negatives and hundreds of hours of Super 8 film footage and audio recordings which he acquired during a storage locker auction. What he didn't know was he was on the cusp of uncovering some of the most prolific American street photography of the 20th century. Vivian Maier spent next forty years working as a nanny for various families of Chicago's upper crust neighborhoods. She also spent much of her time with a Rolleiflex camera hanging from her neck, shooting people and scenes around the city, a hobby she kept quiet throughout her life. Her subjects ranged from the rich and affluent to the poor and impoverished with a penchant for politics and highlighting historical moments.
A recent winner of the Camera d'Or prize at Cannes, Ilo Ilo quickly sold out its first screening at the 32nd Vancouver International Film Festival. This subtle yet detailed film about family life in Singapore shows the skilled editing and directorial abilities of Anthony Chen in his feature film debut.
Written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Gia Milani, All the Wrong Reasons is a film about the difference between being selfish or selfless in matters of love. Milani maneuvers the heartbreak of PTSD thoughtfully, as Kate is faced with small challenges until her biggest hurdle is what defines her future with James, who has ventured down an impulsive path of his own.
Nothing quite like a good midnight movie. Savvy, cinephilic audiences meet provocative, culty film fare at a time when, as Dick Miller observes in Martin Scorsese's After Hours, "different rules apply." The programming for VIFF's new late-night series, Altered States -- handled by longtime Vancouver journalist and VIFF staffer Curtis Woloschuk -- certainly reflects this observation. And what's striking about the series as a whole, is that the movies featured have much of the sophistication usually spotlighted by VIFF -- they're just cranked up a notch.