All Posts By

Ryan LaVia

ORDINARY LOVE

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Wednesday, April 1,  2020

Ordinary Love – United Kingdom

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:20 pm

Director: Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn
Cast: Liam Neeson, Lesley Manville, Amit Shah 
Running Time: 91 minutes
Rating: 14A

Dublin Film Critics Circle Award Nomination: Best Irish Film; London Critics Circle Award Nominations: Best Actress, Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker of the Year

“Neeson and Manville’s completely convincing and impressively lived-in work here ultimately sets the picture apart from its myriad of similarly-themed brethren.”—David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

Although his electrifying action roles made him a global icon, Liam Neeson never stopped making the potent dramas that first brought him to notice. And though Lesley Manville won a whole new audience with her scissor-sharp performance in Phantom Thread, her work with Mike Leigh long ago proved the depth of her abilities on screen. 

Ordinary Love brings these two master actors together for the first time as their characters navigate one of the most high-stakes gambits imaginable: marriage. Joan (Manville) and Tom (Neeson) are a long-married couple, with their set habits, cozy bickering, and assumption of a long walk together into the sunset. 

But when Joan discovers a lump in her breast, it soon becomes clear that cancer will radically change each of them and their relationship. As she enters the cold, uncertain process of medical treatment, their habits are ruptured, and that cozy bickering explodes to reveal the long-buried truths of their marriage.

Working from Owen McCafferty’s wise, observant screenplay, directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn (Good Vibrations) show the challenges that come with what Joan and Tom must go through, and they do so with clarity and tenderness. We follow them step by step as Joan undergoes progressive tests and treatments. Piers McGrail’s under-stated cinematography adds subtle shadings to contemplate what the future may hold and the soundtrack by David Holmes and Brian Irvine is equally delicate but effective in underscoring mood. 

Manville’s Joan is a mature woman who has made her accommodations with life, but is unprepared to face this potentially terminal illness. Neeson plays Tom as a man more comfortable showing rather than speaking his love. Their big date during her treatment, and one simple scene where Tom cuts Joan’s hair, illuminate the depth of love that unites this couple, even as they face the ultimate test.

LA BELLE EPOQUE

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

La Belle Epoque – France

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: Nicolas Bedos
Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tillier, Fanny Ardant 
Running Time: 115 minutes
Language: French with English subtitles

Rating:  14A

Palm Springs International Film Festival, ‘Directors to Watch’ Award: Nicolas Bedos. Best Film Nominations: Globes de Cristal Awards, France, Haifa International Film Festival, Hamburg Film Festival. Six other nominations.

“A sweet, inventive…romantic-comedy crowdpleaser that deftly balances hearty laughs and heartwarming emotion.”—Allan Hunter, Screen International.

This high-concept comedy from Nicolas Bedos (Mr. & Mrs. Adelman) shrewdly taps into society’s current technological anxieties and everyone’s most basic desire to revisit the glory days. Starring Daniel Auteuil, Fanny Ardant, and Guillaume Canet, La Belle Époque blurs historical eras while tracking a charismatic curmudgeon’s existential reckoning.

Victor (Auteuil) is a sexagenarian cartoonist whose long-time publisher has eliminated their print edition and, with it, his gig. No fan of Artificial Intelligence or Virtual Reality, Victor likes turning pages, touching flesh, and seeing what’s actually before him. Alas, what’s before him is a resentful wife, Marianne (Ardant), who can no longer stand him. “I think you’ve been alive too long,” Marianne confesses during one of her rages.

Longing to escape the present, Victor opts to return to the past — or some semblance of it. Enter Time Travellers, a service that immerses clients in a painstaking reenactment of whatever historical moment its actors, designers, and builders can conjure. 

Victor hires Time Travellers to return him to May 16, 1974, the day he first met Marianne in a Lyon café. He finds himself beguiled by every detail, from the vintage editions of Libération to the punchy plastic egg holders to Margo (Doria Tillier), the actress he accepts as the Marianne he fell for 45 years ago. It feels like a beautiful dream. But what happens when it’s time to wake up?

Recalling the films of Charlie Kaufman, La Belle Époque invites us to peer into the past, consider how it made us who we are, and to muse on who we might still aspire to be.

PARASITE

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Parasite – South Korea

Location: SilverCity

Show Times:  6:30 & 8:50 pm

Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong 
Running Time: 131 minutes
Language: Korean with English subtitles 

Rating: 14A (scenes of violence) 

Six Oscar nominations including Best Picture; Cannes International Film Festival: Palm d’Or; Best Foreign Language Film: Golden Globes; Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Kang-ho Song); New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Foreign Language Film; Toronto Film Critics Association Awards: Best Picture, Director, Foreign Language Film. 97 other wins, 165 nominations. 

“Gloriously amoral tale of an unscrupulous poor family that connives its way into the mansion of a rich, gullible clan is very funny and very dark. Sure-handed and sly, with a moral compass that wavers as the tables turn.”—Jim Slotek, Original.Cin

Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite is an overwhelming experience, taking viewers by surprise with how original and unusual it is. What begins as a clever social satire about the haves and have-nots in the world morphs into an ingenious (and violent) thriller with endless story twists.

At the outset, we meet the Kim family, who are barely scraping by, living in a crowded cellar on a filthy street and stealing a Wi-fi signal from their neighbour. They are accustomed to making do but aren’t happy about their situation.  However, things start to brighten when the teenage son lucks into a tutoring job with the well-off Park family, teaching the spoiled oldest daughter and impressing the shallow mom. 

The gullible mother is taken with her new tutor and asks if he knows someone who can help her indulged little son with art lessons. He just so happens to have such a candidate, but he simply chooses not to reveal that the new “art teacher” is his sister. Bit by bit, the Kim family insinuates itself into the Park household. This ultimately involves Dad as chauffeur betraying a strange odor that plays for easy laughs but there’s a price to be paid for such wrinkle-nosed condescension.

Parasite moves quickly from tone to another, mixing pathos and satire with thrills and drama, in a perfectly controlled blend of different genres.  A vertical story of class struggle—literally punctuated by staircase scenes going from mouldy basements to glistening, ultra-contemporary ground floors—Parasite observes and dissects mostly with satirical surgical precision the life of two families of different social backgrounds, leavened by comedic moments.  Simply beware of the rather startling, dark climax.  

It’s funny, inventive, relevant, and full of surprises. One never knows what’s coming next.

Parasite has been enjoying box office success and effusive accolades and dozens of awards including the Cannes Palm d’Or and Golden Globe. Step into the entwined lives of the Kims and Parks to find out why. 

AND THE BIRDS RAINED DOWN

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

And the Birds Rained Down (aka Il Pleuvant des Oiseaux) – Canada

Location: SilverCity

Show Times:  6:30 & 8:50 pm

Director: Louise Archambault
Cast: Rémy Girard, Kenneth Welsh, Andree Lachapelle, Gilbert Sicotte 
Runtime:  127 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles 

Rating: 14A

San Sebastian International Film Festival: Audience Award, Louise Archambault. Toronto International Film Festival: Best Canadian Film Nominee. Two other nominations.

“This eco-friendly, elegantly delivered tale about the sunset changes in the lives of a trio of graybeards living in the woods is engaging, thought-provoking and ultimately moving.”—Jonathan Holland, Hollywood Reporter 

Louise Archambault delivers a bittersweet and poignant love story with And the Birds Rained Down. This soulful adaptation of Jocelyn Saucier’s award winning novel is a tender romance and tale of second chances. It’s a story of golden oldies, Tom (Rémy Girard) and Charlie (Gilbert Sicotte), who seek peace by escaping the city. They retreat to the woods and enjoy life away from the daily grind.

Even hermits enjoy the company of women and Tom and Charlie are soon joined by two females. First to arrive is a plucky young photographer, Ange-Aimée (Eve Landry), who seeks their friend Ted (Kenneth Welsh) to complete her portrait series on survivors of the Great Fire. Then comes a runaway from a mental institution, Marie-Desneige (Andrée Lachapelle), who teaches the men learn that life is better spent shared than in isolation.

The film approaches Tom and Charlie’s situation frankly and objectively. The men live as hermits with a death pact. Should they ever become too ill, they each have a tin of cyanide capsules on standby to allow them to end life peacefully. However, the women’s arrival upends the pact with the insatiable thirst for life they bring to the camp. The younger Ange-Aimée devotes herself to documenting the stories and histories of her elders. She hates to see any life cut short after she has photographed people who’ve survived terrible tragedies. Marie-Desneige embraces her freedom having been institutionalized without her consent for the entirety of her adult life. Their makeshift community in the woods inspires the viewer to reflect upon the things in life that really matter.

And the Birds Rained Down is cast to perfection. The core players of the film create beautifully lived-in characters. As Charlie, Sicotte is a presence of calm quiet strength. Girard doesn’t miss the chance to embellish Tom’s boisterous lust for life. Archambault (Familia, Gabrielle) delicately opens up the novel by accentuating Tom’s passion for music. The film pauses for a disarming interlude in which Tom accepts the current state of his life while belting out a soulful cover of Tom Waits’ “Time” in a bar—the one place he vowed never to set foot in again. It’s an exceptional scene that forms the emotional core of And the Birds Rained Down. Archambault offers a sobering, heartfelt nod to folks like Tom and Charlie who seek to control their lives on their own terms.

OFFICIAL SECRETS

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Official Secrets – UK/USA

Location: SilverCity

Show Times:  6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: Gavin Hood
Cast: Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes 
Running Time: 112 minutes 
Language: English

Rating:  14A

Traverse City Film Festival: Audience Award, Gavin Hood; Film Club’s Lost Weekend: Best Ensemble Cast, Best Supporting Actor, Ralph Fiennes; Provincetown International Film Festival: Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature. Four other nominations.

“Knightley gives one of her strongest performances here, using her innate steeliness and presence to create a convincing portrait of a courageous zealot who believes in right and wrong in an almost biblical sense.”—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Official Secrets stars Keira Knightley as real-life whistleblower Katharine Gun, in a cinematic story that is a combination of spy thriller, newspaper saga, and courtroom drama. 

In 2003, Gun was working as a translator for British intelligence when she became privy to correspondence indicating that the United States and the United Kingdom were conspiring to blackmail other countries in the UN Security Council into supporting an invasion of Iraq. Through circuitous routes, the information wound up in the hands of the London Observer. Gun admitted to leaking the material, and she was eventually tried under the country’s Official Secrets Act.

Official Secrets revisits Gun’s story with an emphasis on the alternately clubby and shadowy institutions she came up against, as well as the emotional damage she incurred when she made a decision that some viewed as heroic and others as a betrayal. 

The film is realistic about the enormous personal toll exacted by the whistleblower, resisting the usual cinematic tendency to romanticize such heroics. Knightley’s Gun suffers greatly, but such is her resolve that she refuses to compromise anyone else around her. The film also illustrates the media’s role in the affair, where editors and reporters within the Observer spar over the ramifications of disclosing the story. 

Official Secrets features an excellent supporting cast portraying individuals who help and hinder Gun’s attempt at moral clarity, including Ralph Fiennes as her idealistic but pragmatic attorney, Matt Smith and Matthew Goode as London Observer editors, and Rhys Ifans, as the Observer reporter who broke Gun’s story.

It is disillusioning to realize that the deceptions which led to such a misadventure still exist today. Very little seems to have been learned, and no one has been held to account. Official Secrets uses the recent past to challenge viewers to reflect upon just what lengths they would go to if they were ever confronted with the same moral dilemma as challenged by Katharine Gun.

PAIN & GLORY

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Pain and Glory – Spain

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Location: SilverCity

Show Times:  6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast:  Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia, Leonardo Sbaraglia 
Running time: 113 minutes 
Language: Spanish with English subtitles 

Cannes Film Festival, European Film Awards, Hollywood Film Awards, New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Actor, Antonio Banderas. Golden Globe nominations: Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film. 11 other wins, 105 other nominations.

“Pain and Glory,” all about healing rifts and rejoining life, is personal and universal. It’s also simple in a way that’s incandescent – suffused by a strange and beautiful gentleness of spirit.”—Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Pedro Almodóvar sums up many of his strongest themes in Pain and Glory, an autumnal look back at a career that came upon us bursting with vitality and vigor and, even at this introspective stage, still has room to move.

Frequent collaborator Antonio Banderas plays Salvador Mallo, a popular Spanish film director struggling with a creative and personal dry spell after the death of his mother. In elaborate flashbacks set in Franco-era rural Spain, she is seen as an uncontainable force of nature played Penélope Cruz. The boy is overwhelmed by his earthy mom, who in turn senses and is frightened by her son’s incipient sexuality. 

The suave director hasn’t made anything in several years and has become a virtual recluse at his modernist urban villa in Madrid. But something impels him to join his one-time star (Asier Etxeandia) for an event celebrating the restoration of their breakthrough film. Unfortunately, this Alberto Crespo introduces him to heroin, and Salvador’s an easy mark for opiates, having had severe back pain and other physical ailments since childhood.

What’s most impressive here is the quietly amusing way Banderas conveys both the agony and ecstasy of his situation. (The Spanish title, Dolor y Gloria, has more playful poetry to it.)

As always, Almodóvar is not about to let dour circumstances get in the way of visual fun. His palette favours cool greens and grays, with slashes of gold and red. There are even animated bits, recalling Saul Bass graphics from ’50s movies, as well as many nods to favourite filmmakers.

Pain and Glory is being treated in some circles as Almodóvar’s 8 ½. It is also somewhat of a wistful reflection on mortality for Banderas, who recently revealed his recovery from a heart attack two years ago. Pain and Glory offers a welcome summation of the estimable careers of both of these acclaimed artists who have offered film goers much to recollect and to savour.

ALL IS TRUE

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All Is True – United Kingdom

Wednesday, January 22nd

Location: SilverCity

Show Times:  6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen

Running Time: 101 minutes 
Language: English

Rating:  PG

AARP Award, Best Supporting Actress, Judi Dench

“In a mesmerizing meditation on Shakespeare’s last days, director-star Kenneth Branagh shuns the idea of the Bard as a literary rock star to find the flawed, touchingly human man inside.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

When Kenneth Branagh steps on screen as William Shakespeare in All is True, it’s a career moment: Here is Branagh, Hollywood’s foremost Shakespeare obsessive, finally playing the Bard himself.

After appearing in and/or directing screen versions of Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Hamlet, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Macbeth, playing Shakespeare is Branagh realizing his life’s destiny, and he dives in with zeal.

All is True brings Shakespeare to life, grounds him, and demystifies the legend of history’s greatest playwright. It’s a loving and often humourous work, and Branagh — who also directs — shows viewers a quiet, reflective Shakespeare, away from the limelight in his final years.

Branagh opens in 1613, after a fire destroys London’s Globe Theatre during a performance of “Henry VIII,” known at the time as “All is True.” Shakespeare vows to never write again, and returns home to Stratford where he takes up, um… gardening?

Judi Dench plays Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway (not the Hollywood actress), while Lydia Wilson and Kathryn Wilder play his two daughters. Bill is still torn up about the death of his son years earlier (Hamnet, believe it or not), which he never fully internalized, and his return home brings up unresolved feelings. 

Mostly located in the lush Stratford area, All is True is so beautifully shot, with Vermeer window light, meticulous detail, and gorgeous greenery, it would be enough just to see how people lived and died (from the plague, mostly) in Shakespeare’s day. We also work through various plot layers, including Will trying to connect with his eldest daughter. A few guests pop by the estate for a visit, including Ian McKellen, who offers up a deliciously catty, award-worthy cameo as the Earl of Southampton. 

But mostly what All is True does is give viewers is a fresh look at Shakespeare, behind the guise, flaws and all. And if ever there was a man for that job, it’s Kenneth Branagh. 

GIANT LITTLE ONES

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Giant Little Ones – Canada

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:15 pm

Director: Keith Behrman 

Cast: Josh Wiggins, Maria Bello, Kyle MacLachlan, Darren Mann, Peter Outerbridge, Niamh Wilson

Running Time: 93 minutes 

Language: English 

Rating: 14A

Vancouver Film Critics Circle: Best Canadian Screenplay; Leo Awards: Best Performance by a Male Lead (Darren Mann); Goteborg Film Festival: Best International Feature; 2 other wins, 7 other nominations

“The film belongs to Wiggins, who brings an openness and sincerity to Franky’s struggles that help suggest to what extent his character’s specific story has elements that everybody will be able to relate to.” —Boyd van Hoeii, The Hollywood Reporter

Adolescents face enormous pressure to make life-defining decisions every day, and they want to lock in their identities sooner rather than later. All of this pressure is exacerbated by physical and social changes. Franky (Josh Wiggins, Mean Dreams), the hero of Keith Behrman’s exquisite and generous Giant Little Ones, is under more pressure than most. 

His life was altered when his father (Kyle MacLachlan, television’s Twin Peaks) left his mother (Maria Bello, television’s NCIS) for a man. Franky is left confused, feeling like he has to figure out his sexuality right away to avoid the disruption he blames his father for. Determined to hide his uncertainty from his best friend and his girlfriend, Franky doesn’t realize he’s not the only one who doesn’t know where he stands. When a wild party ends in a way none of them could have expected, Franky and his friends are forced to decide what kind of people they want to be. 

An official selection for Canada’s Top Ten in 2018, Giant Little Ones is a sensitive and touching look at that point in adolescence when freedom is both intoxicating and terrifying — and feelings are both elegiac and erotic. It’s driven by extraordinary young talents, along with great work from veterans MacLachlan, Bello, and Peter Outerbridge (TV’s Orphan Black) and the subtle, evocative directorial touch of Behrman, whose Flower & Garnet won the 2002 Canadian Screen Award for Best First Feature.

TEL AVIV ON FIRE

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Tel Aviv on Fire – Israel/France/Belgium/Luxembourg

Location: SilverCity

Show Times:  6:30 & 8:25 pm

Director: Sameh Zoabi

Cast: Lubna Azabal, Kais Nashef, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Yaniv Biton

Running Time: 97 minutes 

Language: Arabic, Hebrew with English subtitles 

Rating: N/A

Venice Film Awards: Best Film, Best Actor (Kais Nashef), Asia Pacific Screen Awards: Best Screenplay; Seattle International Film Festival: Best Film; 3 other wins; 11 nominations

“Wonderfully cast, Sameh Zoabi’s zippy comedy takes clever basic ingredients and runs with them, affectionately lampooning stereotypical attitudes about Arabs and Jews and how each group supposedly demands to be depicted.”—Lisa Nesselson, Screen International       

One of the most irreverent cinematic spins on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the latest from writer-director Sameh Zoabi follows a fledgling soap-opera scenarist who bumbles into having to concoct plot twists to suit viewers on both sides. 

A slacker sliding into middle age with little to show for it, Salam (Kais Nashef) lands a production-assistant gig on “Tel Aviv on Fire,” a popular Palestinian evening soap for which his uncle is show runner. A banal, offhand remark made during a shoot puts Salam in hot water with the show’s head writer but curries favour with its star (Lubna Azabal), a French diva who barely speaks Arabic. It’s only Salam’s first day and he already gets promoted. 

Yet just as Salam’s prospects rise, he has a fateful encounter with Assi (Yaniv Biton), an Israeli military officer at the Ramallah checkpoint. During his interrogation of Salam, who must cross daily to get between home and work, Assi sees an opportunity to influence “Tel Aviv on Fire,” which, in his mind, is far too unflattering to its Israeli characters. Salam has just begun life as a writer, and he’s already forced to compromise his integrity while the entire country watches flabbergasted.

Zoabi’s ingenious satire exudes a deadpan audacity that’s hard to resist, while Nashef’s outwardly unflappable middleman grounds this battle of ideologies in comic pragmatism. Films like Tel Aviv on Fire might not bring peace to the Middle East, but making everyone laugh at the same thing feels like a step in the right direction.

THE FAREWELL

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The Farewell, USA 

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:25 pm

Director: Lulu Wang

Cast: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin

Running Time: 98 minutes 

Language: English, Mandarin w/ English subtitles 

Rating: PG

Palm Springs International Film Festival: Directors to Watch, Lulu Wang; Atlanta Film Festival: Audience Award; 4 other wins, 2 nominations. 

“The Farewell is a funny, finely observed generational study about identity, family and obligation, and how all three of those things can be one and the same.”—Norman Wilner, NOW Magazine

Lulu Wang’s Sundance hit The Farewell is an intergenerational family drama that is at once celebratory, heart-wrenching, and life-affirming. Based on true events, the film follows a young Chinese American woman named Billi (Awkwafina, Crazy Rich Asians) as she travels back to China to visit her dying grandmother.

Billi’s family has decided to spare their beloved matriarch the news of her terminal diagnosis so as not to darken what time she has left. In order for everyone to have a chance to say goodbye without tipping her off that the end is near, they orchestrate an elaborate excuse to reunite in the form of a fake wedding. Though cultures clash and family conflict ensues, the story is told with universally relatable warmth and charm. 

Awkwafina is dazzling as the quick-witted and empathetic Billi, supported by a remarkable cast that includes the charming Tzi Ma (Meditation Park) as her father and Diana Lin (Australia Day) as her mother. Little by little, we realize that this story is not only about Billi saying goodbye to her grandmother, but also about her reconnecting with a country and extended family that she left behind at a young age. The Farewell is truly remarkable. It will make you laugh out loud, cry both sad and happy tears, and contemplate the meaning of home.

WOMAN AT WAR

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Woman at War – Iceland/France/Ukraine

Location: SilverCity

Show times:  6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Benedikt Erlingsson

Cast: Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir, Jóhann Sigurðarson, Juan Camillo Roman Estrada

Running time: 101 minutes 

Language: Icelandic with English subtitles 

Rating: PG

Cannes Film Festival: Screenwriting Award; Hamburg Film Festival: Best Feature; Montreal Film Festival of New Cinema: Best Actress; 22 other wins; 13 nominations

“Is there anything rarer than an intelligent feel-good film that knows how to tackle urgent global issues with humor as well as a satisfying sense of justice? Look no further than Woman at War.” – Jay Weissberg,  Variety

As a follow-up to his 2013 film Of Horses and Men, director Benedikt Erlingsson delivers the Cannes 2018 award winner Woman at War, a timely film that speaks to social awareness with wit and warmth. 

Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) is a middle-aged choir director in a small town, popular amongst her neighbours and respected in the community. Unbeknownst to her fellow citizens, she is also an environmentalist vigilante who destroys power lines in an effort to preserve the beautiful local countryside. Deep in the trenches of her anonymous battle against industrialist destruction, Halla depends on the few solitary sources of support in her life: her identical twin sister (also played by Geirharðsdóttir), a co-conspirator (Jorundur Ragnarsson, Rams) who keeps her updated on the movements of the government, and a mysterious local farmer (Jóhann Sigurðarson). 

Just as Halla begins to ramp up her anti-industrial campaign efforts, she receives entirely unexpected news: an application she made years ago to adopt a child from Ukraine has finally been approved, and she’s about to become a mother.

Anchored by Geirharðsdóttir’s standout performance, Woman at War provides a breathtaking showcase for Iceland’s natural beauty; the surrounding landscapes are stunningly shot and provide a quick answer to the question of why one woman would take on an entire industrial complex to preserve them. Enveloped in spectacular camerawork, inventive sound design, and genuinely moving performances, Woman at War reminds us that some things are worth fighting for. 

VILLAGE ROCKSTARS

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Village Rockstars – India

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:40 pm & 8:45 pm     

Director: Rima Das

Cast: Bhanita Das, Basanti Das, Boloram Das 
Running Time: 87 minutes 
Language: Assamese with English Subtitles

Rating: 

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles: Best Feature Film; Bueno Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema: Best Original Score; 11 other wins, 8 nominations

“Village Rockstars is confident and sincere, its story unfolding at a languid but controlled pace. – Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

Dhunu (Bhanita Das) wants a rock band. It’s an admirable goal for a young girl, but out of reach when you live in a remote village in northeast India. And when your mother is a widow struggling to put food on the table, dreams of electric guitars can seem like madness. Yet a guitar is exactly what drives Dhunu’s ambition. 

At 10 years old, she is alive with a passion for music and a dazzling confidence in her own convictions.  Village Rockstars, the second feature from TIFF Share Her Journey Ambassador Rima Das and India’s nominee submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, paints an inspiring portrait of a young girl finding her own place in a world made for boys and men. 

Das grew up in the same village where she shot Village Rockstars, and recruited a local, non-professional cast. This may also have seemed daring, but the result is magic. The performances are natural and fresh. The marshlands and village textures are palpable in Das’

 intimate, widescreen camerawork. When the rains come, they drench Dhunu and her playmates in scenes that could never be staged.

It’s an idyllic world, although Dhunu still has to navigate the mysterious ways of adults and boys. The same boys who want to join her in rock-star glory tease and mistreat her because she’s a girl. Her mother is a strong figure in her life but seems to have little patience for her daughter’s extravagant dreams. It’s only when Dhunu sits at the feet of a village elder as he describes how to unlock the power of thought that she begins to glimpse how she might achieve her boundless musical vision.

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO

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The Last Black Man in San Francisco – USA

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:50 pm

Director: Joe Talbot
Cast: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Danny Glover, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold
Running Time: 120 minutes 
Language: English

Rating:  14A

Sundance Film Festival: Directing Award, US Dramatic Special Jury Award; 3 nominations

“An indelibly beautiful story of love, family, and loss in America from two childhood friends turned filmmakers.” —Manohla Dargis,  The New York Times

Director Joe Talbot’s debut feature is an ode to the city of San Francisco, rooted in the real-life experiences of his childhood best friend, Jimmie Fails. Though Fails is a non-actor, no one else could give a more genuine and heartfelt performance than he could — so Talbot cast him in the lead role. 

The Last Black Man in San Francisco tells a story of the city through the eyes of a fictionalized version of Jimmie, who is obsessed by the idea of reclaiming the Victorian house in Fillmore that his grandfather built. This house is where he grew up, and was the last real home he had before his family broke apart. 

Jimmie spends most of his time hanging out with his best friend, aspiring playwright Montgomery (Jonathan Majors, Out of Blue, White Boy Rick), haunting the neighbourhoods they knew as children and watching old black-and-white movies at the small house they share with Montgomery’s nearly-blind grandfather (Danny Glover, The Old Man and the Gun). Jimmie also visits and fixes up the house his grandfather built to keep it from falling into disrepair, much to the annoyance of its current owners. 

Unexpectedly, the house is one day left empty and an estate dispute ensues. Jimmie and Montgomery seize the opportunity to move in and live out a make-believe home life — but their dream can’t last forever. This is a story about transformation, friendship, resilience, and what it means to belong to a community. And though The Last Black Man in San Francisco is not directly about gentrification, that’s so much a part of the day-to-day reality of San Franciscans that the force of it can’t be ignored.

The Old Man & the Gun

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The Old Man & the Gun (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:20 pm

Director: David Lowery
Cast: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek 
Runtime: 93 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

National Board of Review: Top Ten Independent Films of Year; Golden Globe Nomination, Best Actor Comedy or Musical: Robert Redford; Toronto Internatinal Film Festival Nomination: People’s Choice Award; San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Nomination: Best Adapted Screenplay. 5 other nominations.

“Forrest Tucker’s swan song moments in The Old Man & the Gun are well tailored for Robert Redford’s swan song as an actor. It’s a damn good performance that also serves as a fitting curtain call.”—Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Written and directed by David Lowery (A Ghost Story) and featuring magnetic performances from Academy Award winners Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek, The Old Man & The Gun breathes invigorating new life into an old genre.

Based on the true story of career criminal and prison-escape artist Forrest Tucker, the film revives a cinematic tradition of reflecting on America’s outlaw fixation while delivering an exhilarating tale of felonious mischief.

Having first been put away at age 15, Forrest (Redford) has spent much of his life in jail and much of his energy breaking out – he successfully escaped incarceration 18 times. Forrest is now in his seventies, free, and living in a retirement community, yet he cannot resist the lure of another bank heist. He assembles a gang who, though armed, rely mainly on creativity and charisma to claim their loot. They are pursued by Detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), whose official duty is galvanized by the purity of his love for the chase.

With Redford subtly invoking his own storied resumé as the embodiment of a certain masculine ideal, and a sublime supporting cast that includes Danny Glover, Tom Waits, and Elisabeth Moss, The Old Man & The Gun is both entertaining and elegiac. Infused with Hollywood’s history of outlaw charm, this is the type of glorious bank-robber movie they just don’t make anymore.

Le Grand Bain

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Le Grand Bain (France)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: Gilles Lellouche
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Philippe Katerine, Benoit Poelevoorde 
Runtime: 122 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles
Rating: 14A

Globes de Cristal Awards: Best Film, Best Actor(s) Nominations: Philippe Katerine, Benoit Poelevoorde; Prix Louis Delluc Award Nomination: Best Film.

“A surefooted crowdpleaser with enough warmth and the committed talents of a stellar ensemble cast to fend off any sense of predictability.”—Allan Hunter, Screen International

French actor-turned-director Gilles Lellouche delivers Le Grand Bain (aka Sink or Swim) an amiable comedy drama, set in the world of all-male synchronized swimming. With plenty of heart, the top-tier cast lends the witty story some welcome sparkle.

Le Grand Bain features Mathieu Amalric as the depressed, unemployed new recruit; Guillaume Canet as an uptight factory manager; Jonathan Zaccaï as the dim but lovable one; Benoît Poelvoorde as the bordering-on-bankrupt salesman; and Jean-Hugues Anglade as an aging wannabe rock-star, desperate to impress his daughter.

With more than a passing resemblance to The Full Monty, each character airs their problems as the team bond in swimming pool, sauna and bars—training, talking and learning to redefine their masculinity, let go, live a little and love again.

Whilst the focus is firmly on the men, there are a couple of strong female characters, most notably Virginie Efira and Leïla Bekhti as the swim team trainers, and Marina Fois as Bertrand’s wife.
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Thanks to its Gallic male-bonding charms, Le Grand Bain remains afloat thanks to a cracking cast, solid direction and cinematography, and lightly comedic touch. Once the gang hits Norway for the synchronized swimming championships and the uplifting finale, the film nicely builds to its hilarious crowd-pleasing climax.

Colette

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Sunday, April 14th @ 4:45 PM

Colette (USA/UK/Hungary)

Director: Wash Westmoreland
Cast: Kiera Knightly, Dominic West, Fiona Shaw 
Runtime: 111 minutes 
Language: English
Rating: 14A 

Hollywood Music in Media Awards: Best Original Score, Independent Film; Toronto International Film Festival Nomination: Audience Award; Satellite Awards Nomination: Best Original Score, Best Costume Design; 8 other nominations.

“Keira Knightley, Dominic West and, of course, the costumes make this fin de siecle portrait of French literary giant and pioneering feminist worth seeing.”—James Verniere, Boston Herald

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, celebrated French writer and gay icon, was not your average early-20th-century woman. And Colette is not your average period drama. Like the subject herself, Wash Westmoreland’s film is energetic, fearless, and unapologetically feminist.

We meet Colette (Keira Knightley) as a teenage girl in the Burgundian countryside, infatuated with Willy (Dominic West), a charming but much older Parisian publisher. When she joins him in the city as his bride, Colette begins to turn heads. Ripe for adventure and unafraid of her desires, Colette challenges the social and gender conventions, and sexual taboos, of Belle Époque Paris.

Willy is all in – at first. He even encourages Colette to write as one of his “factory” authors, and the fruits of her labour, the Claudine books, quickly become a literary sensation. There’s only one problem: though Claudine is Colette, she also belongs to Willy. Whether they’re having sex, arguing about whom they’re having sex with, or debating Colette’s writing, Knightley and West’s chemistry leaps off the screen, capturing the attraction and the scandal at the heart of a tumultuous relationship.

Writers Westmoreland, the late Richard Glatzer, and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, capture Colette and her world with an intelligence, passion, and wit worthy of the writer herself. Though the film’s period details are exquisite, under Westmoreland’s elegant direction they are background to the woman at the centre of this story. Colette’s battle to have her voice heard in a patriarchal society is as relevant today as it was more than 100 years ago. She didn’t let them win; neither should we. And the closing credits, featuring images of the principals, adds further authenticity to the rewarding production.

Thank you to our Sponsor: Don Skochinski of RBC Securities

Beautiful Boy

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Beautiful Boy (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: Felix van Groeningen
Cast: Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney 
Runtime: 120 minutes 
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Chicago International Film Festival: Best Feature; Hollywood Film Awards: Breakthrough Direction; Best Supporting Actor: Timothée Chalamet; San Diego Film Critics Society Awards: Best Supporting Actor, Timothée Chalamet Golden Globe Awards Nomination: Best Supporting Actor: Timothée Chalamet; 14 other nominations.

“Every last thing the movie shows us about addiction, and the effect it can have upon those who are trying to save an addict from himself, is entirely authentic.”—Owen Glieberman, Variety

Based on the bestselling pair of memoirs by father and son David and Nic Sheff, Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

Fresh from his breakout role in Call Me by Your Name, Academy Award nominee Timothée Chalamet turns in another dazzling performance in Beautiful Boy.
Playing a young man raging and suffering through drug addiction, he confirms his status as one of the very best actors of his generation. He is matched every step of the way in this moving drama by Steve Carell, who continues to build on his comic achievements with powerhouse dramatic turns in Foxcatcher, The Big Short, and most definitely here.

David Sheff (Carell) is a kind, loving, middle-class dad. He and his wife, Vicki (Amy Ryan), seem to have done everything right for their family. So when son Nic (Chalamet) gets addicted to methamphetamine, David can’t believe it, can’t stop it, and can’t help but risk everything to try to get his son back. As he grapples with Nic’s lies, betrayals, and constant flirtations with death, the film reminds us of who Nic used to be – a sweet, thoughtful, beautiful boy.

Adapting the bestselling books that David Sheff and Nic Sheff wrote about their experiences, Belgian director Felix van Groeningen brings both realism and poetry to a tragically timely story. As the Sheffs confront the intractable, unpredictable beast of addiction, they must at the same time confront the fact that Nic’s pain might also be his choice. Beautiful Boy doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality of this family’s struggle, but frames it with a surprising amount of life, love, and hope.

Eighth Grade

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Eighth Grade (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:25 pm

Director: Bo Burnham
Cast:  Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson 
Runtime: 93 minutes 
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Golden Globe Nominee, Best Actress, Comedy or Musical: Elsie Fisher;
American Film Institute: Movie of the Year; Chicago Film Critics, Audience Award; National Board of Review: Best Directorial Debut. 31 other wins, 56 other nominations

“As much as (director) Burnham can be applauded, it’s impossible not to clap even harder for the pitch-perfect acting of newcomer Elsie Fisher, a marvel in the lead role of an apparently unremarkable 13-year-old.”—Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade is a movie about how small moments can define your future, but only if you let them.

It’s an assured first feature from Burnham, who up until now has been best known as a comedian, YouTube personality, and director of a few comedy specials.

Eighth Grade is a gentle, clear-eyed drama about a girl named Kayla (Elsie Fisher) in her last week of middle school, trying to figure out who she’s going to be in the face of peer pressure, her own insecurity, and the performance demands of social media.

A lesser filmmaker might spin this premise into a familiar cautionary tale of kids and the internet, but Burnham keeps the focus tight on Kayla, who copes with her misfit status by making videos espousing a confidence and style she doesn’t have; she’s faking it, but she hasn’t yet figured out that everyone around her is faking it, too.

Eighth Grade drifts along with Kayla, embodied by the gifted Fisher, who is actually a movie veteran, mostly specializing in voiceovers (Despicable Me et al) – as she nudges awkwardly toward teenhood, setting boundaries with her well-meaning dad (Josh Hamilton, low-key great), making a new, slightly older friend (Emily Robinson) and figuring out how to talk to boys.

Eighth Grade is a modest, intimate movie that contains a whole world, one that manages to make a distinctive mark in the annals of teen angst. It’s an intense time in life and Eighth Grade gets it down pat.

Hearts Beat Loud

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Hearts Beat Loud (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Brett Haley
Cast: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Toni Collette, Blythe Danner
Running Time: 97 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

Sarasota Film Festival: Best Narrative Feature: Traverse City Film Festival: Best U.S. Fiction Film; Wisconsin Film Festival: Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature

“One of the nicest things about “Hearts Beat Loud,” and there are several nice things, is the way that Offerman and Clemons seem like father and daughter.”—Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Frank (Nick Offerman, (TV’s Parks and Recreation) owns a record shop in Brooklyn, where his passion for music is still felt through the torn posters on the wall and makeshift record crates. A widower, Frank has raised his daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons, The Only Living Boy in New York), alone for the last 11 years, and he’s having trouble coming to terms with her imminent departure for university.

While Sam is taking summer school in preparation, Frank convinces her to take a study break for a jam session, where they create their first original song, “Hearts Beat Loud.” Realizing the song’s potential, Frank uploads it to the internet. When he hears their song playing in a coffee shop, he wants to pursue the band and Sam’s talents as a musician and songwriter.

While Sam discourages him, she struggles with leaving in her own ways: her discovery of her passion for music and her relationship with her girlfriend Rose (Sasha Lane, American Honey; The Miseducation of Cameron Post) create emotional turmoil that serve as fodder for her songwriting talents. Director Brett Haley (I’ll See You in My Dreams; The Hero) moves the audience through emotionally charged moments with beautiful original music written by his longtime collaborator Keegan DeWitt. At the heart of the film is a story about family, saying goodbye, and making way for new beginnings.

Angelique’s Isle

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Angelique’s Isle (Canada: Northern Ontario)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:20 pm

Directors: Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Michelle Derosier
Cast: Julia Jones, Tantoo Cardinal, Aden Young, Charlie Carrick
Runtime: 90 minutes
Language: English and Anishinaabemowin with English subtitles
Rating: PG

Based on the novella, “Angelique Abandoned”, by James R. Stevens which was inspired by the true story of a 17-year-old Anishinaabe woman, Angelique’s Isle is a harrowing true tale of perseverance and survival on Lake Superior. Young Angelique (Julia Jones) finds her new-found contentment in marrying Charlie (Charlie Carrick) a Métis voyageur, suddenly threatened when Charlie signs on with slippery wheeler-dealer Cyrus Mendenhall (Aden Young) to search the shores of Lake Superior in 1845 for a rich copper strike.

Despite the warnings from her grandmother, Green Thunderbird (Tantoo Cardinal), Angelique agrees to accompany Charlie with Mendenhall’s expedition.
Upon discovering what looks to be a huge copper boulder on Isle Royale, Mendenhall asks the couple to remain behind to guard the find while his group goes back for reinforcements and supplies. However, as the weeks pass, Charlie and Angelique soon realize that they must fend for themselves.

As winter comes, they endure the increasing cold and a dwindling food source. While the harsh winter has a dire effect on Charlie, Angelique is left to face her inner demons and reconcile her true identity as she struggles to survive. In light of the messages sent by her grandmother, Angelique realizes that perhaps it is her rich indigenous roots that will be the source of her salvation.

An impressive, regionally-produced film, Angelique’s Isle draws greatly from the mood of the rugged northern Ontario landscape, which includes Thunder Bay and Terrace Bay. Local audiences will recognize Fort William Historic Park and the shoreline around Chippewa Park/Fort William First Nation. The cast also features local performers including Pierre Schreyer, Dennis Dubinsky, Anthony Rock, Jessie McKay and Gabe Ferrazzo.

NOSFA is pleased to feature Angelique’s Isle for its Thunder Bay premiere.

Beast

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Beast

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Michael Pearce
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Geraldine James
Runtime: 107 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Toronto Film Festival Nomination: Platform Award; Miami Film Festival Nomination: Best Screenplay; London Film Festival Nomination: First Feature

“There is nothing more enjoyable than a film that shatters your expectations, turning a confident hunch about what’s coming next into smithereens of doubt. The British thriller “Beast” does it strikingly well.”—Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

In Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the identity of the Beast is never in any doubt. But in Beast, writer/director Michael Pearce’s powerful debut feature, that one-word title leaves room for debate. Just who is this Beast?

The story is set on Jersey, a channel island with a population of about 100,000. The chief suspect is Pascal Renouf (Johnny Flynn), a dark anti-hero of the Wuthering Heights variety. The police think he might be behind a recent spate of murders, but the first time we meet him, he’s rescuing a young woman named Moll (Jessie Buckley) from an impulsive first date that’s about to become an assault.

Moll’s attraction to Pascal is problematical. She may have started from a sense of obligation. She may be keeping it up just to annoy her family, especially her icy, imperious mother (Geraldine James), or because no one else is willing to give this rough guy a break. Whatever her reasons, she definitely exists inside her own troubled bubble. She drinks, sometimes wanders, suffers nightmares – and there’s nothing normal about the way she eats cake.

But Pearce cleverly steers us into this dark drama Moll-first. She may be just as bleak and tormented as her beau, but because she talks more and is surrounded by family, we feel we know her better. Pascal is a poacher with a police record, which is difficult to spin as anything other than a negative.

Ireland’s Buckley delivers a disturbing yet measured performance, with Flynn providing the perfect counterpoint. Who is the Beast? Perhaps it’s the prurient viewer who decides to brave this twisted tale. Beast is a thrill ride, a plunge into darkness that feels like it may never pull up.

Leave No Trace

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Leave No Trace (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Debra Granik
Cast: Ben Foster, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Dale Dickey
Running Time: 109 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

Independent Film Festival of Boston: Best Narrative Feature; Taormina International Film Festival: Best Screenplay

“Debra Granik’s drama about a damaged war vet (Ben Foster) living off the grid with his teen daughter, brilliantly played by breakout star Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, is hypnotic, haunting and one of the year’s best.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Following her breakout hit Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace is an intimate and complex coming-of-age story following a father and daughter struggling to maintain their unconventional lifestyle, set against the rugged terrain of the Pacific Northwest.

Will (Ben Foster, Hell or High Water, The Messenger) is a PTSD-inflicted veteran and widower living off the grid with his daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), in a public park near Portland. When Tom makes a mistake that alerts the authorities to their existence, the family is removed from the park and placed in a home by state officials. Immersed in a world she has never experienced, Tom is drawn to the friendships, community, and comforts of her new surroundings. Meanwhile, Will is confronted with the triggers of the modern world.

Leave No Trace is a surprisingly endearing portrait of a father and daughter forced to contemplate whether family survival means sticking together or letting go. The lush Oregon landscape expertly contrasts the tension-filled narrative, with Foster delivering one of his most memorable performances to date — though it’s McKenzie who truly makes her mark. From the director who launched Jennifer Lawrence’s career, Leave No Trace is sure to make McKenzie a newcomer to watch.

Blindspotting

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Blindspotting (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Directed by: Carlos Lopez Estrada
Cast: Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs
Running Time: 95 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Cinetopia Film Festival: Director’s Award; Nashville Film Festival: Best Original Song; Palm Springs International Film Festival: Directors to Watch Award.

“A funny and relevant new Oakland-set buddy dramedy….about two friends, one white, one black.”—Leslie Katz, San Francisco Examiner

The debut feature from Carlos López Estrada, Blindspotting is written by its two stars – Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs (Broadway’s Hamilton) –and set in Oakland, California, from which both men hail. It’s a raw, personal story that combines biting humour and stark violence to showcase the sharp racial and class inequalities in many America’s urban centers. Painful to watch, at times, it is also very, very funny and a work of gloriously intelligent cinema.

The movie opens with Collin (Diggs) counting down the three days left on his probation in a halfway house. He works for a moving company, firing humourous barbs back and forth with best friend Miles (Casal) as they do their pick-ups. Collin is black, Miles white, though both are from the same Oakland ‘hood. Collin seeks to re-establish himself as a trustworthy member of society. Miles is his support system, but also a potential hindrance to growth.

Blindspotting (the term means the inability to see what is right in front of you) follows Collin and Miles as they struggle to define themselves in a universe that already has them pegged as losers. Their comic misadventures, often buoyant and a delight to behold, are always one step away from tragedy. As Collin’s probation countdown inches towards zero, it is unclear how the story will end, and on which genre it will settle.

And that is the great strength of the film: we’re never sure where it will go, and so expect the unexpected. The powerful performances provide ample support to the twisting narrative which sees a cathartic conclusion. With director López Estrada’s additional fine flourishes, the movie becomes a magnificent meditation on the state of the nation, and a profoundly rewarding viewing experience.

Three Identical Strangers

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Three Identical Strangers (USA)

Location: SilverCity
Show times: 6:30 & 8:35 pm

Director: Tim Wardel
With: Robert Shafran, David Kellman, Eddy Galland
Running Time: 96 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

Berkshire International Film Festival: Best Documentary Feature, Audience Award, Jury Award Documentary Director; Chicago Film Critics Festival: Audience Award, Documentary; Sundance Film Festival: Special Jury Prize, Documentary.

“A documentary with a story so outlandish it might well have been rejected by a Hollywood studio had a screenwriter pitched it as the basis of a fictional movie.” Peter Howell, Toronto Star

In Tim Wardle’s Sundance Special Jury Prize– winning documentary, a chance encounter brings three identical triplets together nearly two decades after they were separated at birth and adopted by separate families. However, their elation at their reunion is soon undermined by the realities of fame, family, and a creeping suspicion that something sinister tore them from one other in the first place.

Robert Shafran arrives at college ready to reinvent himself, but when strangers continue to refer to him as “Eddy,” their welcomes quickly become unnerving. Robert soon finds himself face-to-face with his exact double: Eddy Galland. The pair’s astonishment at finding each other and the incredible story of their past and chance meeting is quickly picked up by local media, catching the attention of David Kellman, their identical triplet. With the three brothers happily reunited and busy taking full advantage of their newfound celebrity, their parents take up the less pleasant task of investigating what separated the three young men in the first place.

When their questions are met with evasive and unsatisfactory responses from the triplets’ adoption agency, a larger conspiracy bubbles to the surface, with an indeterminate number of victims at play. A film of triumph and tragedy, and a true testament to the power of documentary film, Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers leads its audience through an emotional journey about how we understand our families and ourselves.

Call Me By Your Name

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Call Me By Your Name (USA)

March 22nd at SilverCity

6:30pm & 8:55pm

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Timothée Chalamet
Runtime: 130 minutes
Language: English, Italian, French, German

Rating: N/A

AFI Awards: Movie of the Year; Boston Online Film Critics Association: Best
Actor (Timothée Chalamet), One of Top Ten Films of the Year; Chicago Film Critics Association Awards: Best Actor (Timothée Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay, Most Promising Performer (Chalamet); 19 other wins, 68 nominations

“A lush and vibrant masterpiece about first love set amid the warm, sunny skies, gentle breezes and charming, tree-lined roads of northern Italy.”—Christie Lemire, RogerEbert.com

The latest from Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino ( I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) explores the tender, tentative relationship that blooms over the course of one summer between a 17-year-old boy on the cusp of adulthood (Timothée Chalamet) and his father’s research assistant (Armie Hammer).

Guadagnino’s camera presides languidly over the rambling villa used as a vacation home by American professor Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his family. Each summer, the professor invites a doctoral student to visit and help with his research. When hunky 24-year-old Oliver (Hammer) shows up, Perlman’s 17-year-old son, Elio (Chalamet) is initially cool and distant. After all, he has a beautiful girlfriend who takes up most of his emotional time.

Cast inadvertently into playing the role of good host, squiring fellow American Oliver around town and country, Elio finds himself confounded by a growing physical attraction to the visitor. Their courtship is tentative and awkward, consisting of looks and glances, touches and caresses. Elio’s parents look on, blissfully unaware of the heated passions that are boiling beneath the surface.

With a script by James Ivory, Guadagnino has fashioned André Aciman’s 2007 novel of sexual awakening into a note-perfect tale of forbidden love. Call Me By Your Name is, above all, a kind of reverie amidst a golden summer of bike rides, swimming holes, and outdoor dinners. Its lush sensuality casts a very special spell that is impossible to resist.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

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Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (United Kingdom)

March 8th at Silvercity

6:30pm & 8:30pm

Director: Paul McGuigan
Cast: Jamie Bell, Annette Bening, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters
Runtime: 105 minutes
Language: English

Rating: N/A

Hollywood Film Awards: New Hollywood Award, Jamie Bell; British Independent
Film Awards Nominations: Best Supporting Actress, Casting, Production Design, Actor (Jamie Bell); San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards, Nomination: Best Actress (Annette Bening)

“The acting is wonderful, with Annette Bening outstanding as the vain, deluded and not always likeable actress, and Bell at last finding a period and part that really suit him as an adult actor.”—Matthew Bond, The Mail on Sunday, (UK)

Annette Bening makes this story of Gloria Grahame’s last days a must-see. As the faded movie star now in her late 50s, with a penchant for much younger men – in this case 20-something Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) whose memoir serves as source material– she is mercurial, sexy and always riveting.

The film opens with Grahame getting ready to go onstage at a theatre outside Liverpool only to collapse in her living room. Then the scene shifts to Turner’s Liverpool home where he hears of her illness and then flashes back to how they originally met and began their affair. Given that their initial connection is so strong – their first dance together is wonderful (remember, Bell danced as Billy Elliott) – we’re drawn into the mystery of what went wrong between them.

It’s basically a two-handed chamber drama, goosed occasionally by appearances from Peter’s family (Julie Walters plays his mother) and scenes in California and New York, usually set in just one room.

Bening will get attention for the fact that she forgoes her vanity for the role, but the performance is more than skin deep. She is charming, given to flashes of anger, and pulses with energy. Bell holds his own – which is a feat in itself – and, even though there are some familiar beats here, the movie will get even the biggest cynic teary-eyed.

Meditation Park

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Meditation Park        (Canada)

February 22, 2018

Showtimes: 6:30pm & 8:25pm at Silvercity

Director: Mina Shum
Cast: Cheng Pei Pei, Tzi Ma, Sandra Oh, Zak Santiago, Liane Balaban
Runtime: 94 minutes
Language: English

Rating: N/A

“[Writer/Director Mina] Shum mines her favourite theme – immigrant experience in Canada – in what seems at first to be a gentle slice of life but eventually develops a powerful emotional force.”—Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

Maria (Cheng Pei Pei) has spent decades of devoted marriage dutifully excusing the prejudices and vices of her husband Bing (Tzi Ma). Whether he’s insisting that she never mention their estranged son or swilling his inexplicably preferred cocktail of red wine and Coca Cola, Maria chooses to focus on the considerable sacrifices he’s made for their family.

But when she discovers another woman’s thong in his pocket (and handles the racy undergarment as if it were toxic waste), she’s no longer able to turn a blind eye to his indiscretions. Flushed out of her domestic sanctum, she engages in some unintentionally comic sleuthing that not only uncovers clues to Bing’s clandestine activities but also introduces her to new East Vancouver communities and ultimately sets her on a course to self-discovery.

Mina Shum makes an inspired return to narrative filmmaking with this richly detailed, unmistakably Vancouver story that recalls her breakout film, Double Happiness (a NOSFA feature in 1996). Viewers who came to know Cheng Pei Pei through her ferocious turn in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will delight in watching Maria’s long-dormant inner fire being slowly stoked as she asserts herself in ways Bing had always discouraged.

Meanwhile, anyone who’s ever coughed up $20 to park in a private residence’s backyard will find hilarity in Shum’s depiction of a turf war between rival racketeers in the form of initially ornery Don McKellar (who later proves to have a more empathetic side) and a band of brightly clad Chinese-Canadian seniors. Packed with note-perfect performances—including the exceptional Sandra Oh as Maria’s conflicted daughter—Shum’s bittersweet film is emotionally rewarding and endlessly relatable.

C’est La Vie

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C’est la Vie   aka Le sens de la fête (France/Belgium/Canada)

February 8 at SilverCity

6:30pm & 8:45 pm

Director: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Cast: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Suzanne Clément, Jean-Paul Rouve, Gilles Lellouche
Runtime: 117 minutes
Language: French

Rating: N/A

Globes de Cristal Awards, two nominations: Best Film, Best Actor (Jean-Pierre Bacri)

“C’est la vie! pours a fizzy flute of French champagne and keeps the bubbles flowing.”—Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

This effervescent comedy from celebrated French directing duo Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (The Intouchables) invites us to an opulent château to attend a très extravagant wedding, where the groom is a self-absorbed stuffed shirt, the band is at war with the organizers, and the chief planner is desperately looking for the exit.

Max (Jean-Pierre Bacri) is a battle-weary veteran of the wedding-planning racket. His latest — and what he intends to be his last — gig is a hell of a fête, involving stuffy period costumes for the caterers, a vain, hyper- sensitive singer who thinks he’s a Gallic James Brown, and a stuffy, micromanaging mama’s boy of a groom who is determined to make Max’s night as miserable as possible.

But what makes the affair too bitter to endure is that Max’s colleague and ostensible girlfriend, Joisette (Xavier Dolan regular Suzanne Clément), seems to have written him off, coolly going about her professional duties while openly flirting with a much younger server. It’s going to be a very long night… especially once the groom’s aerial serenade gets underway.

Everything that could go wrong does go wrong in this energetic and madcap farce. An upstairs/downstairs dynamic keeps Max running around the grand château like a lively fire fighter and conductor who douses disasters.

An Altmanesque ensemble work brimming with offbeat, lovable characters, and hilarious set pieces, C’est la vie! is a fiendishly smart, sprawling comedy as only the French do it. As the well-chosen closing-night gala for the Toronto International Film Festival, the film won a warm standing ovation for its directors onstage.

The Florida Project

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The Florida Project (USA)

January 25, 2018, SilverCity

6:30 & 8:25 pm

Director: Sean Baker
Cast: Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe
Runtime: 111 minutes
Language: English | Spanish | Portuguese

Rating: 14A

“It’s one of the most effective, honest portraits of childhood you’ll ever see, and a touching, poignant snapshot of American life in 2017.”—Adam Graham, Detroit News

Toronto Film Critics’ Association Awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Willem Dafoe); Boston Society of Film Critics Awards (Best Supporting Actor, Willem Dafoe); AFI Awards, Movie of the Year. 19 other wins, 24 other nominations.

Director Sean Baker bounces off his electrifying, iPhone-shot Tangerine with yet another intimate, emotional roller coaster about people on the margins. This time it’s the margins of Disney World, but shot in 35mm.

“Florida Project” is what Walt Disney called his Orlando development, transforming swamp land into the Magic Kingdom. Not too far away, seemingly worlds apart, is the Magic Castle, a cheap, pastel-coloured motel run by Willem Dafoe’s Bobby. Seemingly savvy Bobby is regularly undone by his empathy when dealing with his struggling clientele–and, most importantly, their children – who inhabit his motel.

The story actually centers on six-year-old Moonee, (Brooklynn Prince), an adorable child and brilliant discovery. Moonee and a rotating roster of friends find ways to make the most of their motel-strip environment: spitting on cars, gawking at topless bathers, curling up to horrified tourists or embarking on a perpetual hunt for ice cream.

All the while, Baker observes an intricate economy at work, where someone’s loss is always another’s gain. When one child moving out of the motel sadly has to let his toys go due to the lack of the space in the car, the other kids have a field day. When Moonee’s young, reckless mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite) finds ways to be self-sufficient, it’s at a cost.

The Florida Project is perceptive to the charm and strength of character found in humble places. The film lingers on small details and passing amusements, the ebb and flow of days that may seem aimless but actually build purposefully toward an emotional downpour and a challenge to our humanity.

Lucky

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Lucky USA

January 11, 2018
Showtimes: SilverCity 6:30 & 8:20 pm
Director: John Carroll Lynch
Cast: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston
Runtime: 88 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Gijon International Film Festival: Best Actor, Harry Dean Stanton & Best Original Score; Satellite Awards, Best First Feature: John Carroll Lynch; Locarno International Film Festival: Ecumenical Jury Prize: John Carroll Lynch. Five other wins, 10 other nominations.

“Everything Harry Dean Stanton has done in his career, and his life, has brought him to his moment of triumph in “Lucky,” an unassumingly wonderful little film about nothing in particular and everything that’s important.” – Joe Leydon Variety

Lucky is a living testament to the talent and formidable screen presence of the late Harry Dean Stanton. It was written for the nonagenarian actor by his longtime assistant, Logan Sparks, along with Drago Sumonja. While it’s fictional, it incorporates many facets of the actor’s life and personality.

The film opens with a shot of a tortoise crawling through the desert and disappearing behind a rock—an arresting image, especially in a widescreen frame. Then there’s a lilting harmonica rendition of “Red River Valley,” played by the title character, Lucky.

Lucky is an old man who lives by himself and follows a daily routine: walking into town, ordering coffee, buying cigarettes, talking to the regulars at the café, then arriving home in time to watch his favorite game shows on television. At night he repairs to the local bar and hangs out with his cronies. Then a sudden fall interrupts his routine and earns him a lecture from his doctor. This sends a fateful signal to Lucky that he has to face what he calls reality—what we might call mortality.

Actor John Carroll Lynch, making his directorial debut, demonstrates a sure hand, making adroit and appropriate choices. The cast features mostly friends and admirers of Stanton including Ed Begley, Jr., Tom Skerritt, James Darren, and director David Lynch, who recently cast Stanton in TV’s Twin Peaks. They add colour and depth to a film that is seemingly simple but rich in subtext.

The main title, writ large, says “Harry Dean Stanton is Lucky.” While that may be true, the viewers are the real lucky ones to have such a beautiful film to remember the actor by.