Vancouver International Film Festival


USA, 2017, dir. Todd Haynes, 117 mins

Date and Venues 13 October 7:30pm at The Centre for Performing Arts; 13 October 9:15pm at Vancouver Playhouse

In Wonderstruck, Todd Haynes diverts from his usual fare and goes with a mainstream family film. Here he uses a time-shifting device by switching between two alternating narratives fifty years apart... Full review

xMarlina the Murderer in Four Acts

Indonesia/France/Malaysia/Thailand 2017 Dir. Mouly Surya. 93 mins.

Dates and Venue 10 & 13 Oct Vancity

This reminds me of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns of the 1960s. Full review


xThe Party

UK 2017 Dir. Sally Potter. 71 mins.

Dates and Venues 30 Sep Rio, 9 Oct Playhouse & 13 Oct Centre for the Arts

I enjoyed the wit, the political convictions of the characters, and the dry but entertaining humour. Full review


xTales of Mexico

Mexico/Poland 2016 Dirs. Carlos Carrera/Daniel Gimenez Cacho/Carlos Bolado/Ernesto Conteras/Alfonso Pineda Ulloa/Alejandro Valle/Ivan Avila Duenas/Natalia Beristain. 120 mins.

Dates and Venues 8 Oct 9pm SFU & 10 Oct 11am International Village 10

This anthology film was great until it came close to the two-hour mark and I noticed the audience trickling out one by one. Full review

xLa Tenerezza

Italy 2016 Dir. Gianni Amelio. 103 mins.

Dates and Venues 5 Oct Playhouse & 11 Oct at International Village 9

Amelio is considered one of Italy’s greatest living directors. This was a magnificent film,a story of two dysfunctional families. Full review



Philippines/USA 2017 Dir. Ramona S. Diaz. 94 mins.

Dates and Venue 9 & 12 Oct at International Village 10

I was curious why award-winning filmmaker Diaz (She won best documentary at the Munich Filmfest and the Sundance Special Jury Award) entitled her film "Motherland" which sounds patriotic. Full review


xIsmael's Ghosts

France 2017 Dir. Armaud Desplechin. 132 mins.

Dates and Venues 3 Oct Centre for the Arts & 11 Oct at International Village 9

The film starts off with what you'd think might be a James Bond movie, then it shifts to the disappearance of a director's wife. Full review


King of Peking
(Jing cheng zhi wang)

China/Australia/USA, 2017, dir. Sam Voutas, 88 mins

In Mandarin with English subtitles

Dates and Venues 8 October 3:15pm at Vancouver Playhouse; 12 October 6:15pm at International Village 9

Australian director Sam Voutas and Canadian producer Melanie Ansley are a husband and wife team of filmmakers who specialize in movies in Mandarin with Chinese actors. Full review


Borg vs. McEnroe

Sweden/Denmark/Finland, 2017, dir. Janus Metz, 100 mins

In English and Swedish with English subtitles

Dates and Venues 7 October 8:45pm at The Centre for Performing Arts; 11 October 6:30pm at The Centre for Performing Arts; 13 October 3:30pm at Vancouver Playhouse

Of the hundreds of films featuring the outcome of a sports event, few (not counting documentaries), have been about tennis. Janus Metz believes that the 1980 Wimbledon final between Björn Borg and John McEnroe is worth retelling on the big screen. Full review



Canada, 2017, dir. Cody Bown, 109 mins

Dates and Venues 3 October 9.15pm at Rio Theatre; 10 October 3.30pm at International Village 10

Most people only know two things about Fort McMurray: the wildfires that ravaged the suburbs last summer and the oil sands. Full review


xThe Work

USA 2017 Dirs. Jairus Mcleay/Gethin Aldous. 88 mins.

Dates and Venues 8 Oct 9pm SFU & 10 Oct 11am International Village 10

Quite a moving documentary that won the top documentary prize at SXSW. Full review

xBeauty and the Dogs

Tunisia/France/Sweden/Norway/Lebanon/Qatar/Switzerland 2017 Dir. Kaouther Ben Hania. 100 mins.

Dates and Venue 10 Oct 1.15pm & 12 Oct 7pm at International Village 10

The film, based on true accounts, displays an outrage to the patriarchal society of Tunisia. Full review


The Young Karl Marx

France/Germany/Belgium, 2017, dir. Raoul Peck, 118 mins

In English, German, French with English subtitles

Dates and Venues 9 October 9pm at The Centre for Performing Arts; 13 October 3:30pm at SFU Goldcorp Centre

One might expect a film with dialogue in three different languages, focusing on two German political theorists in the mid-nineteenth century to be a bit of a yawner. Full review


Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

USA, 2016, dir. Alexandra Dean, 90 mins

In English, occasional German with English subtitles

Dates and Venues 28 September 6.45pm at SFU Goldcorp Centre; 8 October 9.30pm at International Village 10; 11 October 3:45pm at Vancouver Playhouse

Alexandra Dean's illuminating Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, as the title implies is a cautionary tale about the tragic life of Hedy Lamarr. Full review

Frank Serpico

USA, 2017, dir. Antonino D'Ambrosio, 98 mins

Dates and Venues 6 October 9pm & SFU Goldcorp Centre, 8 October 11am at International Village 9, & 13 October 6:30pm at The Cinematheque

Antonino D'Ambrosio’s biographical documentary is a plauditory portrait of Francesco Vincent (Frank) Serpico. The director allows his subject to provide the majority of the narration.... Full review


xThe Hidden Sword

China 2017 Dir. Xu Haofeng. 136 mins.

Dates and Venue 4 Oct 9pm, Playhouse; 7 Oct 2.30pm, Centre for the Performing Arts; & 11 Oct 9pm at Rio

This film won an award at the Montreal Film Fest this year. During the Q &A session after the film, I asked whether some of the scenes were purposely humorous and according to the principal actor Zhang Aoyue, the director purposely made them funny.  Full review


xCall Me by Your Name

USA/Italy/France 2017 Dir. Luca Guadagnino. 131 mins.

Dates and Venue 5 Oct 9pm, 8 Oct 9pm & 12 Oct 3.15 pm at Centre for the Performing Arts

I didn't know that this was going to be a gay film, but for all you gays out there, I think you'll enjoy this somewhat soft porn movie. Full review



Austria 2017 Dir. Astrid Johanna Ofner. 80 mins.

Dates and Venue 8 Oct 1pm & 9 Oct 8.30pm International Village 8

This adaptation into film of the prose poem novel of Weiss chronicling his childhood and early adulthood was well-received during the opening by those familiar with his works. Full review


xHappy End

France/Austria/Germany 2017 Dir. Michael Haneke. 107 mins.

Dates and Venue 3 Oct 6pm, 5 Oct 3.30pm, 8 Oct 6.15 at Centre for the Performing Arts

This film starts off slow, almost boring, with long shots that last almost forever. However, it picks up towards the end with ironic dark comedy Full review


Last Days in Havana

Cuba/Spain, 2016, dir. Fernando Pérez, 93 mins

In Spanish with English subtitles

Dates and Venues Venues 3 October 8:45pm at International Village 10 & 6 October 3:45pm & SFU Goldcorp Centre

Fernando Pérez’s film Últimos días en La Habana would hardly qualify as a travelogue. This film shows the side of Havana that the tourists never see. Miguel and Diego share a rundown walk-up apartment in a dilapidated part of the city. Full review


xThe Florida Project

USA 2017 Dir. Sean Baker. 115 mins.

Date and Venue 7 Oct 6pm at Centre for the Performing Arts

Little Rascals, a series of short films in the early 1920s to 1940s, came to mind as I viewed this film. Full review


xThe Queen of Spain

Spain 2016 Dir. Fernando Trueba. 128 mins.

Dates and Venues 4 Oct 6pm Centre for the Performing Arts & 6 Oct 3.45pm at Playhouse

Penelope Cruz is so versatile. She's so zany in this film set during Franco's early dictatorship in the 1950s and Hollywood’s Golden Age. Full review


xLos Perros

Chile/France 2017 Dir. Marcela Said. 94 mins.

Dates and Venue 4 Oct 12.30pm & 9 Oct 9.30 pm at International Village 10

Up till today, the "desaparecidos" during Pinochet's dictatorship still echoes in the minds of Chileans. Full review


The Killing of a Sacred Deer

UK, 2017, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, 121 mins

Date and Venue 2 October 9pm at The Centre for Performing Arts

With a story that appears to be inspired by Iphigenia in Greek mythology and a film-making style borrowed from Alfred Hitchcock, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos gives us the oddly titled The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Full review

A Fantastic Woman

Chile/Germany/USA/Spain, 2017, dir. Sebastián Lelio, 104 mins

In Spanish with English subtitles

Dates and Venues 2 October 3:45pm at Vancouver Playhouse; 5 October 6:15pm & 11 October 9pm at Centre for Performing Arts

A Fantastic Woman is a taut fictional drama by Chilean director Sebastián Lelio. The ironic title is a literal translation from the original Spanish title Una Mujer Fantástica. Full review


France/Italy, 2016, Dir. Lisa Azuelos, 124 mins.

In French, German, Italian, Arabic with English subtitles

Dates and Venues October 1 3:45pm at International Village 9, & October 4, 9:15pm at Rio Theatre

On celluloid, Dalida seems to have had a tortured and tragic life. Born in Egypt to Pietro and Giuseppina Gigliotti, she became Miss Egypt at 21. Full review


France, 2017, Dir. Etienne Comar, 117 mins.

In French, German, Romani with English subtitles

Dates and Venues 29 September 3.15pm at Centre for Performing Arts & 12 October 6pm at SFU Goldcorp

Étienne Comar’s 2017 film is part war story and part biopic about the life of the mercurial Django Reinhardt. Reinhardt was a virtuoso jazz guitarist specialising in the jazz manouche style. Full review


USA 2017 Dir. John Carroll Lynch, 88 mins.

Dates and Venues 28 September 9 at SFU Goldcorp Centre; 1 October at 3.45pm at SFU Goldcorp Centre; 5 October at 9.45pm at International Village 9

First-time director John Carroll Lynch’s film is a fitting and touching swansong for the late Harry Dean Stanton. Stanton passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 91 just days before this film was released. Full review


xMeditation Park

Canada 2017 Dir. Mina Shum. 94 mins.

Dates and Venues 28 Sep 7pm at Centre for the Performing Arts; 30 Sep 12:30pm at Playhouse; and 11 Oct 6:15pm at Rio

Excellent film from our very own Vancouverite, filmmaker Mina Shum. The actors (Cheng Pei Pei, Sandra Oh, Tzi Ma, Don McKellar, Liane Balaban and Zak Santiago) were superb. Full review


xIn the Fade

Germany/France 2017 Dir. Fatih Akin. 95 mins.

Dates and Venue 1 & 4 Oct at Centre for the Arts

Stellar performance by Diane Kruger who won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Festival. Full review



Germany 2017 Dir. Valeska Grisebach. 119 mins.

Dates and Venues 2 Oct 10.45am at Vancity; 4 Oct 6.15pm & 13 Oct 9pm at SFU

You'd think this were a cowboy movie, another western, but actually it's not. Full review


xThe King's Choice

Norway 2016 Dir. Erik Poppe. 130 mins.

Dates and Venues 30 Sep 11am at International Village 9; 5 Oct, 3:30pm at Playhouse; and 12 Oct, 9:30pm at International Village 10

Outstanding film which chronicles the days before and after the Norwegian monarch King Haakon VII (Jesper Christiansen) made the decision to resist the invading German army during WWII. Full review


xThe Departure

USA/Japan 2017 Dir. Lana Wilson. 88 mins.

Dates and Venues 1 Oct 8:30pm & 2 Oct 1:30pm at Vancity

During the chat session after the movie, director Wilson said that the role of Buddhist priests these days in Japan is to deal with social issues. Full review




France 2017 Dir. Lea Mysius. 105 mins.

Dates and Venues 29 Sep at 3pm, International Village 8 & 1 Oct at 6.45 at International Village 9

The movie is filmed on the beaches of Médoc, in western France, and it's about the rebellious 13-year-old Ava, (Noée Abita who was 17 years old when the film was shot). Full review



USA 2016 Dir. Marianna Palka. 97 mins.

Dates and Venues 29 Sep at 6.15pm & 7 Oct at 3:45pm at RIO

Writer-director-actor Marianna Palka (Jill) is a tour-de-force as she metamorphoses into a real "bitch", a vicious junkyard dog, in this Kafkaesque thriller. Full review


xThe Venerable W

France/Switzerland 2017 Dir. Barbet Schroeder. 100 mins.

Dates and Venues 29 Sep at 12.30pm & 6 Oct at 6.15 at International Village 8

If you're an Islamophobe and a Trump admirer, this film is for you.Full review


xDon't Be Afraid of the Light

USA 2017 Dir. Jason A. Rostovsky. 15 mins.

Dates and Venues 4 Oct 11.15 at International Village 10 & 7 Oct at 6.45 at Vancity

This horror short could possibly be a full-length film if developed properly. Full review


xThe Kodachrome Elegies

USA 2017 Dir. Jay Rosenblatt. 11 mins.

Dates and Venues 6 Oct at 8.45pm International Village 8 & 10 Oct at 12.45 at Vancity

For us seniors who are over 70, this short brings back memories of the 50s and 60s when we were growing up. Full review


xAnarchist from the Colony

South Korea 2017 Dir. Lee Joonik. 129 mins.

Dates and Venues 30 Sep 2pm & 2 Oct at 9pm, International Village 9

Superb biopic. Almost like a Romeo and Juliet tragedy. Inspired by true events, Anarchist is about Japan's barbaric treatment of its Korean colonials. Full review



USA 2017 Dir. Ryan Prows. 96 mins.

Dates and Venues 30 Sep at 4.30pm at International Village 10 & 2 Oct at 9.15pm at RIO

Another "altered states" film full of violence and carnage. Full review

xReseba: The Dark Wind

Kurd/Qatar/Germany 2016 Dir. Hussein Hassan. 92 mins.

Dates and Venues 29 Sep at 6.45pm & 2 Oct at 1.30pm at International Village 9

Aren't we lucky we live in this part of the world? Unlike our world of comfort (count our blessings), this film reflects the heart-rending happenings in Kurdistan. Full review


xThat Trip We Took with Dad

Romania/Gemany/Hungary 2016 Dir. Anca Miruna Lazarescu. 111 mins.

Dates and Venues 30 Sep at 6.15pm & 11 Oct at 12.15at International Village 8 & 8 Oct at 9.30pm at International Village 9

I thought at first that this was a comedy. It does ghave some funny moments and dialogues, but as the movie progresses, we see conflicts of ideolgies here.Full review


Bosch: The Garden of Dreams

Spain/France, 2016, Dir. José Luis López-Linares, 90 mins.

Language mainly English, also French, Spanish and Mandarin with Engish subtitles

Dates and Venues 29 September 6:30pm & 11 October 1:30pm at SFU Goldcorp

José Luis López-Linares fascinating documentary thoroughly scrutinizes Hieronymus Bosch’s iconic masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights. Full review


xIndian Horse

Canada 2017 Dir. Stephen Campanelli. 100 mins.

Dates and Venues 30 Sep at 6.30pm at Playhouse & 2 Oct at 1.45 at International Village 10

The Canadian government and the Catholic Church have already apologized to the Aboriginal Nations of Canada over and over for the abuses committed in residential schools in the last century, and yet, we see films like this one reminding Canadian whites how bad they were. Full review


xShut Up and Say Something

Canada 2017 Dir. Melanie Wood. 82 mins.

Dates and Venues 4 Oct 6.15pm & 8 Oct at 12.30 Playhouse

Excellent biopic of one of our own, a British Columbian star. Shane Koyczan made a hit when he did his slam poetry at the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010, and since then, has risen to stardom. Full review


xNo Bed of Roses

Bangladesh/India 2017 Dir. Mostofa Sawar Farooki. 86 mins.

Dates and Venues 6 Oct at 7.30pm at International Village 10, 8 Oct 1pm at Vancity

This film dragged quite a bit mostly because the shots were too long and there was a lot of repetition of dialogues and scenes. Full review

xBecoming Who I Was

South Korea 2017 Dirs. Moon Changyong, Jeon Jin. 95 mins.

Dates and Venues 30 Sep at 4.45pm at International Village 9, 8 Oct 8.15pm at Vancity & 11 Oct at 6:15 Vancity

This is a touching film not so much because of the reincarnation aspect but more so because of the relationship of Angdu to his mentor, the elderly Urgyan. Full review


xDirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey:

USA 2016 Dir. Dave O'leske, 96 mins.

Dates and Venues 29 Sep at 6.30pm Playhouse, 1 Oct at 3:30pm Rio & 13 Oct at 4pm at Vancity

An excellent biopic about a dirtbag climber who still is climbing mountains in his ripe old age of 94. O'leske's portrait with archival footage and old photos going back to the 1940s makes this documentary a must-see. Full review



Clive Davis: Soundtrack of My Life

USA 2017 Dir. Chris Perkel, 123 mins.

Dates and Venues 28 September 8.45pm at Vancouver Playhouse; 29 September 3.45pm at SFU Goldcorp Centre

Chris Perkel’s absorbing music documentary is essentially focused on music mogul Clive Davis’ five decade career, but to an even greater degree on the relationships he has had with the numerous artists he has signed to recording contracts... Full review

Maison du Bonheur

Canada, 2017, 62 min, Dir. Sofia Bohdanowicz

French with English subtitles

Dates and Venues 1 October 6 at Vancity Theatre & 3 October 3.30pm at International Village 8

Young Toronto part-time filmmaker Sofia Bohdanowicz travelled to Paris to make her latest movie, a (kind of) documentary centred on a Parisian widow named Juliane Sellam, whom she has never previously met. Full review




xAmerican Psychosis

USA 2016 Dir. Amanda Zackem, 15 mins.

Dates and Venues 8 Oct at 6.30pm Rio & 11 Oct at 9pm at International Village 9

This 15-minute short is more like a lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. It could be the start of a longer documentary with perhaps interviews from others. Full review


xThe Bolshoi

Russia 2017 Dir. Valery Todorovsky, 132 mins.

Dates and Venues 6 Oct at 10.45am International Village 10, 8 Oct at 6pm & 13 Oct at 6.15pm at Playhouse

Interesting film showing the goings-on of the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow. It could easily pass as a documentary, but it's not, although I'm almost certain it's based on true events happening in this company. Full review




USA 2017 Dir. Oren Jacoby, 83 mins.

Dates and Venues 30 Sep at 6.45pm International Village 10, 2 Oct at 2pm International Village 8 & 1 Oct at 8.45pm at VCT

An excellent biopic of Vancouver-born painter Richard Hambleton who was known as The Shadowman for painting shadowy figures all over New York. Full review




USA 2017 Dir. Greg Kohs, 90 mins.

Dates and Venues 2 Oct at 11am International Village 9 & 3 Oct at 6.30pm Playhouse

Artificial Intelligence which used to be a thing for science fiction flicks is now a reality, thanks to high tech nerds who have devised through algorithms and numbers, this reality. One case in point is AlphaGo, an AI program based on Go, the ancient Chinese board game of strategy. Full review




xYou're Soakin' In It

Canada 2016 Dir. Scott Harper, 77 mins.

Dates and Venues 2 Oct at 7pm International Village 10 & 4 Oct at 11 am at International Village 9

Gone are the Mad Men days of the 20th century when advertising was glamorous and simple. Advertising was radio, TV and billboards. Today, in the new millenium, it's gotten complicated. Internet has taken over television, as stated in this documentary. Full review



xBad Genius

Thailand 2017 Dir. Nattawut Poonpiriya, 130 mins.

Dates and Venues 6 Oct at 10.45am International Village 10, 8 Oct at 6pm & 13 Oct at 6.15pm at Playhouse

I find this a somewhat modern morality play where at the end, the film concludes ethically that good triumphs over bad. This is a good film, well-directed, and well-acted. Full review




Netherlands/Norway 2017 Dir. Boudewun Koole, 92 mins.

Dates and Venues 30 Sep at Rio Theatre 8.45 pm & 7 Oct at 12pm at Playhouse

Two things about this film: landscape is very Canadian, especially in the Yukon and NWT, with sled dogs, snow all over, etc. The days are long because the film was shot most probably in April somewhere in northern Norway. Full review


x7 Minutes

Italy/France/Switzerland 2016 Dir. Michele Olacido, 92 mins.

Dates and Venues 4 Oct 1.30pm at International Village 9 & 6 October 9.45pm at International Village 10

A Canadian Premiere. Now that Horgan is now the Premier of BC, this union-related film is a good watch for him and those who voted for the NDPs who are pro-Union. Full review