and Venues 2 – 11 May 2014 | Vancouver Playhouse, VIFF’s
Vancity Theatre, The Cinematheque, Rio Theatre
85 mins., UK, 2013, dirs. John Lundberg,Mark Pilkington, Roland Denning and Kypros Kyprianou
Date and Venue 5 May, 5:15pm @ Vogue Theatre
Truth or fiction? This has been the intriguing dilemma of whether UFOs really exist. In this documentary, we see one angle that stands out: it's a hoax by the US Government. It's the same ol' conspiracy theory, but this time, federal agents like Richard Doty, in a series of interviews, admits that he lied about UFOs really existing in order to cover up secret operations by the US Air Force in New Mexico. What else is new? The CIA and other agents have lied in the name of democracy, USA style. But the lie of all lies is when Doty, at the end of the film, contradicts himself and lies some more by saying he believes UFOs and aliens from other planets do exist.
I found the film a bit repetitious in many instances, and that could be a problem when you have too many directors. What was that adage about too many cooks spoiling the broth?
80 mins., USA, 2014, dir. Johanna Hamilton
Date and Venue 5 May, 6:30pm @ Cinematheque
In 1971, a group of eight anti-war protestors broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania and stole documents which were sent to various newspapers. What caught the eye of one young newspaper reporter, Betty Medsger, of The Washington Post, was the acronym COINTELPRO which she discovered in one of these documents. COINTELPRO was Hoover's Counter Intelligence Program, a secret operation that infiltrated any organization he considered a threat to US security, including Martin Luther King Jr., Women's Liberation Group, and joking aside, a Boy Scouts troop who had pen pals with a Russian boy scout group.
This is an interesting documentary, as it includes interviews with the group of eight, now in their sixties or seventies, describing how they planned the break-in and their reasons for doing it.
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
120 mins., USA, 2013, dirs. Dayna Goldfine and Daniel Geller
Dates and Venue 13-15 May, 7:00 pm @ The Rio Theatre
Ever since Darwin discovered Galapagos and wrote On the Origin of Species, many Europeans, especially Germans, were enthralled by these islands and went there because they were non-conformists, wanting to avoid society and its dictates.
This intriguing true-life docudrama which mixes historical archival footage with a somewhat Sherlock Holmes mystery thriller focuses on three families that moved in the early 1930s to the island of Floreana: Friedrich Ritter and Dore Strauch, the Wittmers, and a so-called "baronness", accompanied by two young lovers. What makes this docudrama interesting is the Agatha Christie element of "whodunnit", as questions are raised at the end of the film on the disappearance of the baronness, whose body was never found, and the mysterious and suspicious death of Ritter.
© 2014 Ed Farolan