Vancouver International Film Festival

Dates and Venues September 27 - October 12, 2018 | The Centre In Vancouver For The Performing Arts, The Cinémathèque, Cineplex Odeon International Village, Vancouver Playhouse, Rio Theatre, SFU's Goldcorp Centre for The Arts & Vancity Theatre

Reviewer Ed Farolan

xThe Running Actress

South Korea, 2017, dir.  Moon Sori, 71 mins

Dates and Venues 4 October 9:45 and 5 October 1:30pm at International Village 9

I believe the title of this film comes from a comedic scene where Moon Sori tells her driver to stop. She gets out and starts running frantically on the road.

This biopic directed by Moon herself is quite refreshing. The film is in three acts, which originally were three short films for a directing course she attended. Each act is a story by itself about her personal and professional life. It´s probably a preview of her wanting to be a director because from the innuendos in the film, she´s not getting as many roles as before because of her age.


xSharkwater Extinction

Canada, 2018, dir. Rob Stewart, 88 mins

Date and Venue 28 September 6:30pm at The Centre and 30 September 2pm at International Village 10

This film pays homage to crusader, documentarian and conservationist Rob Stewart who died last year in a diving accident during its production. His production team, however, put this documentary to completion.

This is the sequel to his 2006 film, Sharkwater, whose main theme is to document the rampant corruption that goes into killing sharks just to make a quick buck: to sell the fins to Asians ($200 each), and the rest, to fish stores, pet food and cosmetics companies. He also tries to allay fears about sharks; in fact, he has shots of sharks swimming around him showing that they´re not dangerous predators.

It´s quite a moving documentary, especially at the end, when the credits start in, showing archival visuals of his rallies, his speeches to the youth, and his appearances in talk shows.



Canada, 2017, dir.  Akash Sherman, 105 mins

Dates and Venues 30 September 6:30pm at SFU Goldcorp and 4 October 6:30pm at International Village 10

Inspired by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite which launched this past April, Clara (which means "clear" in Spanish) is an interesting sci-fi drama balancing science and religion. The age-old question, "What comes after death?" has been a quesion which has been answered in so many ways, from the Greek philosophers to the thinkers and scientists today. On a clear night, when we look at the stars, we too ask questions such as "What´s out there?" Well, this film has its own answer. It´s sci-fi, of course, but it makes one think of another possibility after death.



xThe Sisters Brothers

France/Belgium/Romania/Spain, 2018, dir. Jacques Audiard, 120 mins

Date and Venue 29 September 8:30pm at The Centre

It´s pretty rare to see John Reilly in a serious role. I thought this would be another comedy, from the very title of this movie, a farce on Step Brothers where he co-starred with Will Ferrel. But it ended up being a serious Spahetti Western, where Reilly plays a vicious killer, together with his brother Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix), as they go about as hired killers for the cold-blooded Commodore (Rutger Hauer).

It´s a star-studded film which also includes Jake Gyllenhaal who plays a detective. Adapted from a novel by British Columbia-born Patrick deWitt, set in Oregon circa 1851, it´s a film with a lot of shootouts and profanities. It´s also got a bit of comedy, such as the scene where Reilly didn´t even know what toothbrushes were.


x The Heiresses

Paraguay/Germany/Brazil/Uruguay/Norway/France, 2018, dir.  Marcelo Martinessi, 95 mins

Dates and Venues 6 October 1:30pm at SFU Goldcorp and 9 October 6:30pm at Vancouver Playhouse

I´m surprised that this film won a number of awards. It was excruciatingly boring; the pacing was terribly slow; the scenes had no continuity to them; and the acting was flat. The main protagonist,Chela (Ana Brun), had a deadpan face all throughout and the storyline...what can I say? Who´d be interested in two lesbians in their late sixties? I think the director should go to Film School and learn how to write a screenplay and direct.



Carmen and Lola

Spain, 2018, dir. Arantxa Echevarría, 105 minsx

Dates and Venues 8 October 9:15pm and 10 October 4pm at International Village 9

I like this film. It´s unpretentious. It´s about teenage love between two girls. Coming of age as a lesbian in a closed, conservative and decidedly patriarchal culture—in this case, among the gypsies living outside of Madrid—is a difficult thing.

The film isn´t meant only for the LGBT community but all of us who exercise the freedom to love anyone no matter what he or she is. Shooting on location in the gitano community and working with mostly non-professional actors, Echevarría has made a heartfelt film that is both moving and honest.

© 2018 Ed Farolan