By David Nowacki
VANCOUVER — Entering its austere 32nd year, Vancouver International Film Festival boasts (film buffs may want to sit down) 16 packed days featuring 300+ films from over 70 countries. Even typing that gives me a mild case of the vapours. It has one of the widest selections of Canadian films available anywhere, a nice sampling of Cannes favourites and documentaries, all sprinkled with dozens of after-movie Q&As with associated directors, actors and writers. Film aficionados and casual viewers alike should find an ample supply of things to like and love and discover. It’s a rare chance to get exposed to stories, images and ideas both new and interesting. Here is a small sampling of what we’re getting excited about:
Dir. – Bennett Miller
Director Bennett Miller (Capote) picked up the Best Director award at Cannes this year for his latest, Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum. The cast would lead you to believe it’s some sort of wacky romp possibly involving long-lost twins, turns out it’s a chilling, absurd based-on-a-true-story involving Olympic wrestling, a schizophrenic millionaire, and murder most foul. People have been opining that Oscars (!) may be in the future for both Carell and Tatum. Very excited to see why.
Argentina / Denmark / France / Mexico / Germany / Brazil
Dir. – Lisandro Alonso
Viggo Mortensen as a Danish engineer taking an existential journey through the Peruvian wilds searching for his daughter Inge. The trailer is just the two sitting on a log, facing opposite directions, talking about Inge’s desire for a pet dog that follows her everywhere. Phrases like ‘hallucinatory’ and ‘metaphysical’ appear in more than one review of the film. All of theses things please us greatly and sound like a bizarrely captivating neo-Western experience.
Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes)
Dir. – Damián Szifrón
Apparently living up to its straightforwardly promising title, Wild Tales promises titillation of almost every variety. It presents an anthology of six stories, ranging from horrific to hilarious, sometimes within frames of each other. There was a bundle of overwhelmingly positive talk about it from the folk who attended Cannes this year.
Dir. – Damien Chazelle
J.K. Simmons’ face is recognizable to most people as J. Jonah Jameson of the Spiderman series and has over 100 other film and TV credits to his name, but has rarely been in the forefront of the productions he acts in. Co-starring with promising youth Miles Teller, Simmons proves (as he has before) that he is more than worthy of being the centre of attention. He storms his way through his role as Terence Fletcher, a drill sergeant jazz teacher who torments talented young drummer Andrew Neyman (Teller).
Of Horses and Men
Dir. – Benedikt Erlingsson
Rocketing past its competitors to a place in the top three films centering on horse copulation, Of Horses and Men is a madcap, dark comedy encompassing love, death, and rural Icelandic equine politics. Truly a unique story told in a very unique way, the visually gorgeous and rampantly odd film looks completely insane, in the best way possible.
Remember, this is just hors d’oeuvres for the staggering 350 films available to view at VIFF this fall. Give your eyeballs a break from the space-pounding they just received at the hands of Guardians of the Galaxy and recover some of the brain cells you lost after being pummeled by the latest Transformers joint with an astounding selection of the world’s absolute best, most beautiful and thought-provoking movies.
Vancouver International Film Festival plays at Vancity Theatre + other venues TBA from September 25-October 10.BC, British Columbia, Foxcatcher, Jauja, Of Horses and Men, Relatos Salvajes, Vancity Theatre, Vancouver International Film Festival, VIFF 2014, Whiplash, Wild Tales