- Vancouver International Film Festival Sept. 27-Oct. 12 at various locations. For full schedule visit viff.org.
THE 31st annual Vancouver International Film Festival opened last night with a gala screening of Deepa Mehta's latest work Midnight's Children at the Vogue Theatre.
Over the next two weeks the VIFF is screening a cinematic feast of 380 films from 75 countries at four locations: Empire Granville 7 Cinemas, Pacific Cinémathèque, Vancity Theatre and the Vogue Theatre. The selection ranges from international blockbusters to littleknown gems from all corners of the cinematic world.
The VIFF has grouped the films into specific categories: Canadian Images, Cinema of Our Time, Dragons & Tigers, Galas, Garden in the Sea, International Shorts, Nonfiction Features of 2012, Nonfiction Features: Arts and Letters, Special Presentations and Spotlight on France. In their online catalogue (at viff.org) you can browse by title, by country of origin, by director, by genre or by one of the many popular series. Some productions will return to first-run theatres at a later date but many of the films on view will never make it back to big screens. Here are 10 worth checking out:
- Midnight's Children (Canada, India, 2012 Director: Deepa Mehta) In English, Hindustani. Premiere. Deepa Mehta's screen adaptation of Salman Rushdie's second novel Midnight's Children is an epic in every sense of the word. The film screens twice more at the Vogue: today at 2 p.m. and again on Oct. 3.
- Student (Kazakhstan 2012 Director: Darezhan Omirbayev) Kazakhstan's premier filmmaker returns with his version of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, set in modern-day Almaty. Screens twice at Pacific Cinematheque: Today at 12: 45 p.m. and again on Oct. 4 at 6: 45 p.m.
- A Royal Affair (Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, 2012, Director: Nikolaj Arcel) Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander star in a period drama which focuses on the romance between the 18th century queen of Denmark and the royal physician Struensee. A Royal Affair won two awards (Best Screenplay, Best Actor) at this year's Berlin Film Festival and is the Danish entry for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards.
- Gainsbourg by Gainsbourg: An Intimate Self-Portrait (Je suis venu vous dire... Gainsbourg by Ginzburg) (France, 2011, Director: Pierre-Henry Salfati). A posthumous autobiography of the French pop star featuring previously unreleased personal footage and audio recorded by Serge Gainsbourg himself. Gainsbourg always operated as an "outsider" no matter how "popular" he became. He pushed all the buttons culturally all the time.
- Barbara (Germany, 2012, Director: Christian Petzold). Nina Hoss plays a sophisticated East German doctor exiled to a small village in 1980, who finds her plans to escape to the West complicated by a burgeoning romance. Winner, Best Director, Berlin 2012.
- Rust and Bone (France, Belgium, 2012, Director: Jacques Audiard). Rising stars Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead) and Marion Cotillard are featured in this Côte d'Azur-set drama from France's Jacques Audiard. Rust and Bone is screening twice at Empire Granville 7 Cinemas Sept. 29 at 6: 30 p.m. and again on Oct. 6 at 3: 15 p.m.
- Kinshasa Kids (Belgium, France, Congo, 2012, Director: Marc-Henri Wajnberg). Belgian director Marc-Henri Wajnberg shifts between documentary and drama in his film on the lives of street kids in Kinshasa featuring a rap, reggae and Hi-life soundtrack.
- The Unlikely Girl (USA, France, 2012, Director: Wei Ling Chang). A love triangle in rural France starring Hande Kodja, Pierre Boulanger and Shane Lynch. Wei Ling Chang's noir thriller receives its world premiere at Empire Granville 1 on Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.
- City Lens: 60s Vancouver by Night & Day - Vancouver Archival Film Program. Short films shot by CBC Vancouver's film unit in the 1960s screening Oct. 9 and Oct. 12.
- Like Someone in Love (USA, France, 2012, Director: Abbas Kiarostami. Master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami goes to Japan for his second feature outside Iran. First screening at the Vogue Theatre on Oct. 4 at 6: 30 p.m.