By Hogan Short
Meditation Park – Oct. 11
This unmistakably Vancouver film has the opening honours this year. Starring Cheng Pei-pei (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Sandra Oh (Sideways) in this humorously relatable drama following a family in a time of turmoil after a long devoted wife has had enough after finding a thong in her husband’s pockets.
Wonderstruck – Oct. 13
This film from acclaimed Canadian Director Todd Haynes, who directed last years Academy Award nominated Carol, will be making its Canadian premiere at VIFF and closing the festival out. The time travelling film following two stories at different times with one in cinematic colour and the other in gorgeous black and white. This is a majestic and beautiful movie following two deaf twelve year olds and their soulful journeys to get to New York. The film is about finding where you belong, and Todd handles each storyline with a natural precision.
Call Me by your Name – Oct. 5, 8, 12
This critically praised film opened at TIFF this year, and is a patient and beautiful look at summer love. This slow burning film, powered with the intensity of an unspoken romance, follows a 17-year-old intellectual free spirit in 1983 and the ongoing possibility of love when a charming older man visits. This could be this years Moonlight, except with rich white people vacationing in Italy.
Lady Bird – Oct. 9
Serving as Writer and Director, indie darling Greta Gerwig finds a fresh way to tell this coming of age film set in her own hometown, Sacramento. This film is semi autobiographical and we watch the young female protagonist deal with issues of love and angst and unknown futures with nostalgic ease. It is as if we are watching a fictionalized version of Greta Gerwig struggle to become the fascinating artist we know her to be today.
A Fantastic Women – Oct 2, 5, 11
Finally a film, and an exceptionally moving one, that actually cast a transgender woman to play trans. As a result, it is now being touted as the film to make huge leaps for these types of roles on screen. Marina is victimized all the while staying triumphant, making her story that won Best Screenplay at the Berlin Film Festival a sure to be audience favourite this year. A thoughtful look at a person who’s lost all that made her feel loved in a world that made her feel the opposite.
The Florida Project – Oct 7
Director Sean Baker (Tangerine, the award winning film shot entirely from an iPhone) continues to immerse us in stories dealing with tragic situations but with a light and personal perspective from the ground level. Faded dreams and youthful hope, desperation and defiance…this Americana laced story starring Willem Dafoe tells the stories of the people permanently living in the overcrowding tourist motels outside Orlando, Florida.
The Party – Oct 9, 13
Sex, politics and religion traditionally are the three taboo subjects of conversation. This film comically features a group of acid tongued intellects at a dinner party discussing just that with each other, played by a varied and talented cast (Cillian Murphy, Timothy Spall, Kristin Scott Thomas). With early great reviews, this is sure to be a whip smart, devilishly witty must see comedy.
The Work – Oct 8, 10
Group therapy is always such an interesting look at a subject. It allows people to open up and remain closed off and that dynamic creates progress and conversation and to witness it is a special privilege. In this documentary we get to sit in on one of the twice a year meetings when members of the public are invited to speak with convicts convicted of brutal crimes. This honest look at toxic masculinity won this film the Grand Jury Prize and SXSW this year.
Never Steady, Never Still – Oct 7, 10
A movie made and prodiced in BC, taking place in BC, is the heartbreaking and powerful story of a mother wrestling with Parkinson’s disease and her young son who must now quickly grow up for her. This cathartic story is moved with a note perfect script and two stunning acting performances.
Hondros – Oct 9
Chris Hondros was a legendary, award winning, war focused photo-journalist who was killed doing his job in Libya at the age of 41. This film is a tribute to his important and astonishing work told by his childhood friend and fellow journalist, Chris Campbell.
The Crescent – Oct 6, 8
A mother and infant son escape from a dark past to a remote beach house in the Canadian Maritime only to be haunted by what forced them to leave in the first place. This altered reality horror movie torments the subjects as well as the viewer using inventive practical techniques that makes this ambitious genre film a must see on the big screen.
Dennis Glassner Talk – Oct 8
This is a great opportunity to sit in on an exclusive session with Production Designer Dennis Glassner. If you love the art of movie making he has created the look for such films as the new Blade Runner 2049, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, Into the Woods, and more.