VIFF11 REVIEW: Like Crazy [2011]

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“To you who make me see things I could never see alone” How much is one summer of euphoric love worth? To Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones)—the world. Courted through a shy, sweet process of stolen looks and a mix of intellectual and sexual longing, these two college students begin a whirlwind affair […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Inni [2011]

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“We’re a very serious heavy metal band—and we worship the devil” If you go into Inni thinking you’ll receive Heima Part 2, you either be sadly disappointed or extremely grateful because it is anything but. Rather than show us Sigur Rós’ atmospherically sumptuous music against the gorgeous expanse of their Icelandic homeland, director Vincent Moriset […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Take This Waltz [2012]

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“August 15, 2040, 2pm” Films dealing with break-ups have the trouble of easily falling into two camps. Either the work is genuine and emotionally devastating like a Blue Valentine or faux romantic and absolutely trite like The Break-Up. Having already wowed the world with her debut feature of complete authenticity dealing with Alzheimer’s destructive power […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: 倭寇的踪迹 [The Sword Identity] [2012]

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“What else can we do for fun?” With his screenplay for The Grandmasters coming to the big screen next year by Wong Kar Wai, writer/director Haofeng Xu gives us the first taste of his creativity with an adaptation of his own novella, 倭寇的踪迹 [The Sword Identity]. A mix of comical playfulness and serious martial arts, […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Miss Bala [2011]

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“Have some faith in me, Dad” If you ever have a daughter that begs you for entrance into a beauty pageant and you can’t bring yourself to comply, pop on Miss Bala and she’ll never ask again. Taking place in Mexico amidst an unwinnable war on drugs, Gerardo Naranjo’s film portrays a never-ending series of […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Bumrush [2011]

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“Make it loud; make it nasty” Not to be outdone by its New York City and Chicago counterparts, the Montreal gang wars of the past decade prove Canada isn’t the idyllic place of kindness and cleanliness some would describe it as. In Michel Jetté’s Bumrush, we’re shown how uncontrollable it can all get when the […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Dernier étage gauche gauche [Top Floor, Left Wing] [2010]

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“Hey, it’s pork. That’s provocation!” How do you turn a hostage situation concerning cocaine, eviction notices, and Algerian assassins into a stage for bureaucratic ineptitude and slum reform? Ask Angelo Cianci because his film Dernier étage gauche gauche [Top Floor, Left Wing] does it and more. A darkly comic take on generally serious circumstances, a […]

VIFF11 INTERVIEW: Prashant Bhargava, writer/director of Patang

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While at the Vancouver International Film Festival this year, I had the pleasure of speaking to the writer/director of Patang [The Kite], Prashant Bhargava. A Chicago-born filmmaker of Indian descent, his first feature length work has hit screens in Berlin and Tribeca before making its way to Canada, picking up praise at every screening. A […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Patang [The Kite] [2012]

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“What do you know about true love?” For Chicago-born Indian-American Prashant Bhargava, his debut feature film Patang [The Kite] is a seven-year labor of love. Rooted in the memory of his own uncles fighting kites in the sky, the writer/director decided to fashion his tale of familial bonds around the northern Indian festival, Uttarayana. By […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Till det som är vackert [Pure] [2010]

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“Courage is life’s only measure” What’s worse than giving sex to a married man for money? Giving it for love. It’s a tough distinction to delineate for a reformed twenty-year old prostitute whose only role model growing up was a drug-addled, suicidal mother that more or less taught her the business. Hoping for redemption and […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Nevinnost [Innocence] [2011]

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“That is what I’m afraid of. That is what I want.” According to the program for this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival, director Jan Hrebejk and writer Petr Jarchovsky have visited many times with their collaborations. What is different this time is the type of film they have brought. Supposedly beginning a new trilogy in […]