VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2013

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VIFF 2013: Bruce Sweeney, Local Hero

My favourite film to deal with life in Vancouver -- maybe even my favourite film to be made here -- remains Bruce Sweeney's 1998 offering, Dirty. Workshopped in a way informed by Sweeney's experiences at a VIFF forum with Mike Leigh, the film digs into the muck of the city's damaged psyche, offering characters that are unforgettable and all too familiar in their dysfunctionality -- including a pot-dealing dominatrix (the late, terrific Babz Chula); a painfully lonely schlub from Port Alberni with anger-management issues (Ben Ratner); a student saddled with massive student loan debt and an eating disorder (Nancy Sivak); and an anal, preening UBC student with a secret need to be spanked and humiliated (played by the great local actor, filmmaker and UBC professor Tom Scholte).
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VIFF 2013: 'Ilo Ilo' Reviewed

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.