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A Quick VIFF RECAP

Sunday 11th, November 2018 / 12:25

Vox Lux, Brady Corbet
by Hogan Short

In Vox Lux, the audience plays the part of both witness and audience. We are witness to the darkest moments of the young life of Celeste that lead to the creation of a fame monster. We feel complicit as an audience member while watching the dark sides of being a pop star even though we have the catchy pop songs stuck in our heads. Vox Lux is anti Born to be a Star. This is a viscerally surreal, intense, and epic journey of a girl with a talent born from tragedy as we see the turns that led her to fame and destruction, happiness and despair. The performances of Raffey Cassidy and Natalie Portman are absolutely remarkable.

The Front Runner, Jason Reitman
by Hogan Short

What often separates a historical film from a Wikipedia page are lessons that can be learned from the story. Unfortunately, despite a great lead performance from Hugh Jackman, The Front Runner’s messages are too muddled to make it any more interesting than a quick Gary Hart google search. Should we stay out of politician’s personal lives? Should they be held accountable? We never really know, because the characters don’t seem to know themselves.

Boy Erased, Joel Edgerton
by Hogan Short

In this true story based on a memoir, Lucas Hedges plays Jared, the son of a Pastor who is sent to gay conversion therapy camp. Lucas Hedges beautifully portrays his character with the confusion of a teen trying to find himself and also the ferocity of a person knowing who they are. Writer, director, and co-star Joel Edgerton layers each character with care in order to properly discuss the evil and outdated nature of gay conversion therapy. This is an excellent stand out film about family, acceptance, and sexuality.

Burning, Lee Chang-dong
by Hogan Short

Slow burn is a character study thriller that demands patience. Clues and hints are scattered throughout this Korean film about… we never really know they are clues until the end of the film, but that patience pays off in the devastating finale. This won the the audience award at Cannes and was one of the best at VIFF.

Under the Silver Lake, David Robert Mitchell
by Joey Lopez

David Robert Mitchell, director of indie-horror hit It Follows, returns with a weird conspiracy thriller full of classic Hollywood throwbacks and secret messages in the world around us. Driven by the obsession of hipster slacker Sam (Andrew Garfield) while trying to uncover the mystery of his missing neighbour, his investigation takes him down a wormhole into a hidden world run by the rich elite and homeless kings that lead him toward a terrifying discovery and truth of the secrets that have been right under his nose. Under the Silver Lake is a whirlwind adventure across LA that will make you second guessing every little thing around you.

N.O.N., Zebulon Zang
by Noémie Attia

With Notes On Nothing, local director Zebulon Zang elaborates on the genre of absurd realism. In the middle of a bizarre and dull city, an introverted hero navigates through the most boring job interviews with a good dose of anti-charisma. The comedic and cynical tone of the movie works very well in this most unexciting daily life setting, perfectly illustrated by a heavy slow pace and lack of soundtrack. However, the impeccable cinematography, playing on geometry and colour, as well as the quality of acting balance the intended dreary aspect of the film. On another note, while ridiculing the Vancouver arts’ scene, N.O.N. also shows the optimism of its mere existence. Overcoming bleak and empty everyday life through humoristic and artistic practices, that’s how N.O.N. solves the existential anguish.


Sorry Angel, Christophe Honoré

by Noémie Attia

French romantic drama seems to be shifting recently, finally incorporating LGBTQ+ issues to its narratives. Even Christophe Honoré, one of the classical directors of the genre, well known in France for his bittersweet musicals about tortured love, takes part in this change with Sorry Angel. The film’s tinted blue aesthetic sets a gloomy, sorrowful mood where the beauty of the actors and their costumes matches their intricate love stories. Vincent Lacoste and Pierre Deladonchamps bring to life a tender romance in the sensitive historical setting of the beginning of the AIDS awareness era. With literary and philosophical nods to an everlastingly intellectual and snobbish French panache, Honoré honours his cinematic culture. Sorry Angel captivates and torments our emotions while satiating our aesthetic cravings for pure beauty.


What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?, Roberto Minervini

by Noémie Attia

Etched with visceral realism, What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? is a documentary depicting a daunting climate of persistent racism in the Southern United States. Italian director Roberto Minervini follows African American communities in Mississippi, where the Ku Klux Klan’s looming hatred perpetuates racial tension as a young black man has just been assassinated. In a jaded air of revolt, the Black Panther Party and local inhabitants give moving political speeches underlined by close-up, black and white shots, interwoven with the literal weaving of traditional Mardi Gras beaded costumes. Reminiscent of Charles Burnett’s 1977 Killer of Sheep, What You Gonna Do is as artistically avant-garde as politically compelling.


Jonathan

by Brendan Lee


When two people occupy the same body, how will they make the most of the partitioned life they share? What Jonathan does right, beyond everything else, is taking an ultra-unique concept and telling the story in just the right way. The film is an ethereal mind-bender that leaves the viewer contemplating our place within our own bodies long after the final credits.

Mug
by Brendan Lee

With so much packed within this hour-and-a-half-long film, boiling it down is a tough notion. Littered with allusions to the bible and Christianity, Mug is about what it’s like to rise to great heights while literally losing face in the process. Filmed almost entirely with a tilt-shift depth of field that’s crisp and blurred simultaneously, director Małgorzata Szumowska tells her pitch-black fable with an ever-wandering eye for the dark yet strangely beautiful.

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