Tag: vancouver

Vancouver 2017 Review: BLACK COP Does Its Concept Justice

Between its success at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered earlier this year, and here at VIFF, where it won the Canadian Feature award, Black Cop has become something of a sensation. Its concept is an undeniably timely,...

Vancouver 2017 Review: MAISON DU BONHEUR, a Lovely Portrait

Filmmaker Sofia Bohdanowicz's 2016 film, Never Eat Alone, won her VIFF's Emerging Canadian Director prize for that year. Now, she returns to the festival with her newest feature, Maison du bonheur. How the film came to be is a charming...

Vancouver 2017 Review: GUKOROKU: TRACES OF SIN, a Haunting Debut

Gukoroku: Traces of Sin, a moody Japanese mystery based on Nukui Tokuro's novel, feels like a pristine, preserved relic from the golden age of Japanese horror (think late 1990's, early 2000's). A self-assured and masterfully shot feature-length debut, the film...

Vancouver 2017 Review: THE SQUARE, An Uncomfortable Delight

Ruben Östlund is proving himself to be a keen observer of the human (specifically, male) condition, and one who can draw humor from its depths without losing any empathy along the way.

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE ROAD TO MANDALAY Paints A Dark Portrait Of Migration

We've all heard, or read, an innumerable amount of horror stories about immigrants from third-world countries coming to North America and Europe. The Road to Mandalay shows us that even the seemingly small hop from Myanmar to Thailand can feel...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE LOCK PICKER Features Very Promising Talent

Randall Okita's debut feature, The Lockpicker, screened as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival's new Future // Present series, which showcases emerging directorial talent in Canadian film. The film is a claustrophobic -- mainly shot in tightly held closeups...

Vancouver 2016 Review: MALIGLUTIT, A Spiritual Remake of John Ford's Western Classic THE SEARCHERS

Maliglutit, the latest film by Zacharias Kunuk (The Fast Runner), is essentially a spiritual remake of John Ford's seminal Western classic, The Searchers. This time, the action is set entirely in Nunavut, Canada's most sparsely populated territory and home to...

Vancouver 2016 Review: THE UNKNOWN GIRL, All Quiet Revelations, Resignation and Modest Hope

While its central conceit is decidedly sensational in nature, The Unknown Girl (La fille inconnue) unfolds at a mundanely methodical trot that has come to be expected of the Dardenne brothers. Their latest film revolves around a confident and talented...

Vancouver 2014 Review: MAN ON HIGH HEELS, Crime Genre As Transgender Study

Man On High Heels, a Korean gangster-cop flick of another color, navigates gender politics as shakily as its strangely-worded (or translated) title would suggest. Cha Seung-won stars as Ji-wook, the eponymous man: a specimen of ideal masculinity who spends his...

Vancouver 2014 Review: EXIT Feels Pretty But Shallow

Chienn Hsiang's second feature, Exit, is lovely to look at, and pleasant enough to watch, but ultimately feels inconsequential. Chen Shiang-chyi stars as Lingzi, a childlike middle-aged woman finds herself alone for a few weeks while her teenaged daughter visits...

Vancouver 2014 Review: WELCOME TO ME Stokes The Fires Of Disability Discourse

Kristen Wiig has been enjoying a lengthy run of success since leaving Saturday Night Live in 2012. Her humor is punctuated by awkward, uncomfortable stares, or lines delivered with more weight -- loneliness, sadness, regret -- than they seem to...

Vancouver 2014 Review: THE GOLDEN ERA Hits All Of Its Marks

The Golden Era follows the (tragically short) life of one of China's most celebrated female writers, Xiao Hong (portrayed by Tang Wei), in typically lavish period-biopic fashion. On an aesthetic level, the film is gorgeously realized by director Ann Hui,...

Vancouver 2014 Review: WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, Gregg Araki's Nostalgic, Seductive Puzzle

Gregg Araki's latest offering, White Bird In A Blizzard, is set during the time period when Araki first began making films (1988-1991). Because of this, the sets and costumes are rendered with a loving nostalgia that never feels overly novel....

Vancouver 2013 Dispatch: STRAY DOGS, AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS, And LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

Stray Dogs, the perhaps-last-ever film from Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-liang, is a devastatingly sad, quirk-ily mysterious and slithery film. It's hard to pin down the details of the characters' (a father and his two young children) lives, how much time...

Vancouver 2013 Dispatch: WOLF CHILDREN, RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS, And MISS VIOLENCE

Between Wolf Children and Summer Wars, Mamoru Hosoda is establishing himself as a gifted anime auteur (with "anime" functioning as a descriptive word, not a qualifier) whose style, visually and thematically, lies somewhere between Ghibli fare and the work of...

Vancouver 2013 Review: BENDS Offers An Assured Study Of Class, Wealth And Excess

Bends, the first full-length film from Flora Lau, observes a dreamy Hong Kong through the eyes of a wealthy, middle-aged kept woman Anna (Carina Lau), and her young, blue-collar driver (Chen Kun). Minutes into the film, shortly after Anna...

VIFF 2012 Wrap-Up: All Apologies, A Mere Life, and In the Name of Love

Emily Tang's beautiful, smart, and moving Perfect Life is not only one of my favorite VIFF films of 2008, but one of my favorite films period (I don't keep a list, I just know that the memorable ones must...

VIFF 2012 Interview: Rob Stewart on REVOLUTION and his Plan to Save Humans From Extinction

With his last feature, 2007's Sharkwater, marine biologist Rob Stewart managed to help save the world, one shark fin at a time. He is now back with a new documentary, Revolution, aimed at saving a different species - humans. Revolution...

VIFF 2012 Dispatch: SLEEPLESS NIGHT and SORRY, I AM SO SORRY

Korean filmmaker Jang Kun-jae (whose Eighteen won the Dragons & Tigers award, VIFF's prize for new Asian directors, in 2009) delivers a heartfelt, sweet, genuine, yet never cloying portrayal of an average married couple in Sleepless Night. Essentially a series...