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Gala Party!

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Join us for a night of celebrating

our 25th anniversary festival!


Tickets to our Gala Party at Bight are $20 and include delicious hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and entertainment by the Damon Dowbak Trio featuring Dino Pepe and Richard Tribe – cash bar.
Come and discuss your favourite films with friends. We’re sure you will have a great time!

You do not need to be a member to buy a ticket! Festival and gala tickets are available at Fireweed (cash only) and Wojo’s Mojo on Algoma (credit & debit offered), and at the theatre on Thursday. The party starts at 8:00 following our screening of Lady Bird. You don’t have to see the film to come to the party!
Cheers Thunder Bay for all of your support over the years! For more details on our tickets:   Membership and Tickets

For details about the venue visit  Bight

Please note: Gala ticket does not include film admission

Programmes

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Our 25th anniversary edition is available now!

Here are the locations where you can get yours:

All branches of the Thunder Bay Public Library

Fireweed on S. Algoma

Wojo’s Mojo on S. Algoma

Farmhouse Fudge on May St.

up shot coffeehouse on May St.

Silver City Theatre

…and more locations to come

Know of a great spot where you’d like to see programmes available?

Just send me an email and I will drop some off! catpowell@shaw.ca

Good Time

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USA 2017
Director: Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barkhad Abdi
Runtime: 100 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Boston Online Film Critics Association: Ten Best Films of the Year; International Cinephile Society Awards: Best Actor, Robert Pattinson, Prix du Jury: Ben & Joshua Safdie; Three other wins, 36 nominations.
“At once a swift, relentless chase thriller and an exhilarating mood piece that recalls the great, gritty crime dramas of Sidney Lumet and Abel Ferrara, “Good Time” is also exactly what it says it is: a thrill, a blast, a fast-acting tonic of a movie.”—Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

Much acclaim has been issued to Robert Pattinson’s performance in Good Time, the indie venture from director brothers Josh and Ben Safdie. He is indeed impressive, and the breathless thriller built around it is pretty fantastic too.
The premise is dead simple. Pattinson’s increasingly desperate hustler Connie scrambles to raise bail money for his troubled, mentally-challenged brother Nick (co-director Ben Safdie), who’s been arrested after a botched bank robbery. Connie was there too, and only got away through dumb luck.
Over the course of one frenzied night, driven by a combination of guilt and fraternal responsibility, Connie will lay waste to half a dozen lives while insisting everything he does is for the right reasons. We know right off that Good Time is an ironic title; the question is how badly things will go for all concerned.
As a genre film, Good Time is ambitious, offering layers of social and cultural commentary as Connie flails through the various strata of New York nightlife. It’s never explicitly stated, but his whiteness is clearly a factor in his interactions with people in positions of status and authority; a lot of Black characters aren’t nearly as lucky.
And as things dissolve, Pattinson gets more and more riveting, letting us see how Connie convinces himself that every new lie and impulsive betrayal is for the greater good. It’s all malarkey – and he knows it – but there’s no way he’s stopping, either.

The House by the Sea

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Sunday April 22nd 2:20 PM
France 2017
Director: Robert Guédiguian
Cast: Ariane Ascaride, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Gérard Meylan, Jacques Boudet
Runtime: 107 minutes
Language: French with English subtitles
Rating: N/A
Venice Film Festival: Winner, Signis Award & Unimed Award, Robert Guédiguian; Cesar Award Nomination: Best Supporting Actress, Anais Demoustier

“The House by the Sea is ultimately a deeply satisfying and moving experience.”—John Bleasdale, Cinevue

Three grown children gathered at the picturesque villa of their dying father reflect on where they are, who they have become, and what they have inherited, in Robert Guédiguian’s elegiac tribute to a family and a fading lifestyle.
Robert Guédiguian has trod a singular path over the past three decades. His films are almost all set in his beloved hometown of Marseille. As a committed leftist and former Communist, he deals with working-class social issues.
His new film is unquestionably one of the peaks in his illustrious career. It tells, with no sentimentality, a tragic tale of family discord. When the patriarch of the family suffers a stroke, his three adult offspring assemble in the small fishing port of their childhood to attend to their father. It is clear, almost from the outset, that while each one of them has lived very different lives, the ghosts and skeletons in the family closet have still not been laid to rest.
Using this as his framework, Guédiguian finds a deep well of subject matter: how this little seaport has changed with the world around it, how its people have changed, and what it means to live life based on values. The devil is in the details of this rich tapestry of culture that Guédeguian examines as he connects how the local relates to the global. His intelligence as a filmmaker shimmers throughout this elegiac tribute to a family and a fading lifestyle.

God’s Own Country

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Sunday April 22nd 9:55 AM
United Kingdom 2017
Director: Francis Lee
Cast: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secareanu, Gemma Jones, Ian Hart
Runtime: 104 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 18A Note: some sexually explicit scenes

British Independent Film Awards: Best Independent Film; Best Actor (Josh O’Connor), Best Debut Screenwriter (Francis Lee) Best Sound; Edinburgh International Film Festival: Best British Feature Film; Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival: Best Film. 20 other wins, 30 nominations.
“Actor-turned-director Francis Lee’s indie hit conjures rough beauty from a rural Yorkshire setting, careful cinematography, and splendid naturalistic acting.”—Liam Lacey, Original Cin

Life on the family farm in Yorkshire is mostly about “getting on with it” for young Johnny Saxby, (Josh O’Connor) who’s plainly miserable.
His father has had a stroke so it’s up to Johnny to pick up an even larger share of the load of tending sheep and other chores. Johnny drowns his sorrows in beer at the local pub, with a bit of weed and casual gay sex.
But when a handsome Romanian migrant worker (Alec Secareanu) arrives to take up temporary work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself having to deal with emotions he has never felt before. As they begin working closely together during lambing season, an intense relationship starts to form, which could change Johnny’s life forever.
Director Francis Lee, who also wrote the screenplay, lets the story unspool at a leisurely pace and he’s chosen a fine lead in Josh O’Connor as the tormented Johnny, who soon meets his match in Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), who doesn’t let racial slurs like “gyppo” go unanswered.
Lee also has a fine eye for the majestic Yorkshire. It’s only with Gheorge’s help that Johnny begins to perceive the stark beauty all around him.
Combining gritty realism with poignancy, the result is a film that is exceptionally moving.

In Between

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Sunday April 22nd 9:50 AM
Israel 2016
Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Cast: Mouna Hawa, Sana Jammelieh, Shaden Kanboura
Runtime: 103 minutes 

Language: Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Rating: 14A

San Sebastian International Film Festival: Best Film; Toronto International Film Festival: NETPAC Award, Maysaloun Hamoud; Zagreb Film Festival: Audience Award, Best Feature Film; Award of the Israeli Film Academy: Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Actress (Shaden Kanboura), Supporting Actress ( Mouna Hawa); four other wins, 15 nominations.
“In Between is well crafted for a first film, and heralds a strong new voice in world cinema.”–
Chris Knight, National Post

There’s a double meaning to the title of this intriguing and defiantly feminist film out of the Middle East.Laila (Mouna Hawa) and Salma (Sana Jammelieh) live large and party hardy in their Tel Aviv apartment where they’re joined by a third, Nour, a hijab-wearing woman who’s finishing her education and engaged to be married.
All three are living “in between” in Israel, a society where their status as Arab women among the majority Jewish population is rather problematic. They’re also “in between” a world where they can do as they please and a conservative Arab culture that expects women to behave modestly and to defer to men.
Laila may have meant the man of her dreams in Ziad (Mahmud Shalaby) while Salma, whose parents are desperate to marry her off, begins a lesbian romance. Dowdy Nour has a seriously controlling fiancé.
As the struggles of love and life swirl around them, all three women form deep bonds of friendship and solidarity. The performances are superb and the final scene of all three women sticking together in the face of adversity is sublime. In her remarkable feature film debut, director Hamoud tells the story of the three women with ferocity, grace, and inordinate depth of feeling.

De Père en Flic 2

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Sunday April 15th 9:50 AM
Canada 2017
Director: Emile Gaudreault
Cast: Michel Côté, Louis-José Houde, Karine Vanasse
Runtime: 107 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles
Rating: PG

“The exchanges between father and son are particularly juicy…Emile Gaudreault’s police comedy has nothing to envy from those produced in Hollywood. It would be little wonder that southern neighbours would produce a remake.”—Julie Vallaincourt, Sequences La Revue de Cinema.

Several years ago, the French-Canadian action-comedy movie Father and Guns was a massive blockbuster, deriving laughs from the comically dysfunctional relationship between father, Commander Jacques Laroche (Michel Côté) and son, Marc (Louis-José Houde) both cops who had to work closely together undercover. The psychotherapy camp they were assigned to served to further accentuate the pair’s own hilarious squabbling.

The sequel retains the winning formula. This time, to save the life of a brother officer who’s been kidnapped by a biker gang, father and son must track a Mafioso and his spouse to a couples’ group therapy session in the woods. For his cover, Marc takes his own bristly girlfriend Alice in tow (Karine Vanasse, TV’s Cardinal) with dad serving as chauffeur and psychologist’s assistant.  Perhaps they can salvage their relationship while completing their mission. But things will be more complicated than expected.

Aside from nattering at each other, the duo must navigate around the Mafia boss (Patrice Robitaille) and his moll (Julie Le Breton), a nutty bohemian couple, a lesbian couple, the exhausted parents of a toddler, and another couple with generational differences.

The sequel works surprisingly well. The pace is faster and the humour is more on point with hilarious sight gags. The two leads Côté and Houde work off each other in sure-handed fashion, aided immeasurably by Vanasse’s snappy girlfriend and the oddball participants.

En Pere Du Flic 2 combines the strengths of a great, classic comedy cop thriller with a hilarious study of a dysfunctional, father-son relationship.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

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Sunday April 15th 10:15 AM
USA, 2017
Director: Alexandra Dean
With: Mel Brooks, Peter Bogdanovich, Diane Kruger
Runtime: 86 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

New York Film Critics Online, Best Documentary; Scottsdale International Film Festival, Best Film; Women Film Critics Circle Awards: Best Documentary about Women. 5 other wins, 5 nominations.

“The movie reveals and demonstrates over and over that Lamarr was a fascinating and brilliant person, a true eccentric with considerable will and personal courage.”—Mick Lasalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Known for her iconic look and scandalous private life, Hedy Lamarr was revered as “the most beautiful woman in the world” in 1940s tabloids. Yet, few know her true story; an undiscovered genius, she pioneered a secret communication system intended to guide US torpedoes during WWII, which became the basis for contemporary technologies like GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story looks deeper into the life of the screen legend, whose military and communication contri­butions went unrecognized for decades. As a child, the Austrian-born Lamarr would disassemble and reassemble music boxes just to understand how they worked. After her breakout role in the Czech film Ecstasy, the young Hedy escaped her ammunition-manufacturing husband and fled the country, later signing a contract with MGM studios and starring in hits such as Algiers, Boom Town and Comrade X with Clark Gable.

Her most impressive achievement, however, was the one she was never acknowledged for: a revolutionary radio guidance system called “frequency hopping” that she co-invented with composer George Antheil in her spare time to defeat the Nazis in naval battle.

Sadly, the name Hedy Lamarr would later only be known for the inventor’s infamous six marriages, affairs, drug use, and obsession with plastic surgery.

Lamarr was also one of the first women to produce her own films during a time when women were restricted to positions in front of the camera. Dispelling Lamarr’s public image as a flighty celebrity, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is a trailblazing tribute to women whose contributions have gone unrecognized and an inspiration for future generations of female inventors to come.

Visit our sponsor, Lifestyle Insurance!

Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle

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Sunday April 15th 12:20 PM
Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle Netherlands, 2017
Director: Mike van Diem Cast: Ksenia Solo, Giancarlo Giannini, Gijs Naber, Lidia Vitale, Donatella Finocchiaro
Runtime: 90 minutes Language: English, Italian, Dutch w/ English subtitles Rating: N/A

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Audience Award; Terra di Siena Film Festival: Best International Film; Victoria Film Festival (Canada): Festival Prize—Audience Award.
“Tulipani: Love, Honour, and a Bicycle is a Dutch romance film that perfectly balances its whimsical outlook on life with heartfelt drama.”—Derek Jacobs, Cinema Axis

A wonderfully woolly tale of rediscovering one’s roots — and rectifying a decades-old wrongdoing in the process — Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle has more fantastic twists than its title has nouns.
It’s 1980, and young Montrealer Anna (Ksenia Solo) is embarking on what will prove to be a life-altering adventure. It was her mother’s dying wish to have her ashes returned to her hometown in Italy, and Anna finds the people of Puglia waiting with open arms and flapping gums. Her mother’s old friend Immacolata (Lidia Vitale) is a particularly gifted storyteller with a penchant for exaggeration, sometimes fudging the details but somehow getting everyone closer to the heart of things.
She tells stories of how Anna’s father, Gauke (Gijs Naber), biked from the Netherlands to Italy, introduced Dutch irrigation practices to Puglia, forged a successful enterprise growing and selling tulips, and bravely faced off armed extortionists with blistering kung-fu moves. Immacolata also makes other, more sombre claims, ones that will shake up Anna’s entire sense of identity and prompt her to settle some old scores on her parents’ behalf.
Bursting with colour and romance and teeming with charming performances — including one from Oscar nominee Giancarlo Giannini as an exceedingly patient detective — Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle is a story about travelling far and wide to ascertain who you are, and about the joys and consolations of storytelling itself.

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Creekside Nurseries

Lakehead Regional Conservation Authority

A Fantastic Woman

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Sunday April 15th 12:15 PM
Chile, 2017
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Cast: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Aline Küppenheim
Runtime: 104 minutes
Language: Spanish w/ English subtitles
Rating: 14A

Academy Awards: Best Foreign Language Film; Independent Spirit Awards: Best International Film; National Board of Review: Top Five Foreign Language Films; 15 other wins, 27 nominations

“This indelibly moving film — Chile’s entry in the Oscar race for Best Foreign Film — features a performance of surpassing beauty and tenderness from Daniela Vega, an openly transgender actress seizing her moment with stirring authenticity.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

With the Oscar-winning A Fantastic Woman, Chilean director Sebastián Lelio delivers an inclusive character study of a different nature. Marina (Daniela Vega), the film’s transgender heroine, is beautiful, mysterious, and plunged into a precarious situation after her older boyfriend dies unexpectedly in her company.
Fifty-seven-year-old divorcee Orlando (Francisco Reyes; Neruda, The Club) wakes in the middle of the night, suffers an aneurism, and falls down some stairs, sustaining injuries that will come to haunt Marina after she takes him to the hospital and attempts to slip away before authorities and family members begin to pry.
Marina knows she’s regarded with suspicion for her youth, class, and above all, gender status. She expects to gain little from Orlando’s demise, but the viciousness of Orlando’s son, the cold-heartedness of Orlando’s ex-wife, and the intrusiveness of a detective from the Sexual Offences Investigation Unit force Marina to not only clear her name, but also to demand the very thing no one seems willing to give her: respect.
Winner for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, A Fantastic Woman is an alluring exercise in style and a smart spin on the genre — one that moves trans characters from the margins of film to the spotlight.

Sponsored by In Common

Loveless

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Sunday April 22nd 4:35 PM
Russia/France 2017
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Cast: Maryana Spivak, Yanina Hope, Aleksey Rozin
Runtime: 127 minutes
Language: Russian with English subtitles
Rating: 18A

Academy Award, Golden Globe Nominations: Best Foreign Language Film; Cannes Film Festival: Jury Prize; César Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Best Foreign Film; National Board of Review: Top Five Foreign Language Films; four other wins, 27 nominations.

“Zvyagintsev and his sterling cast expertly paint the portrait of a family too blinded by selfish desires to see the pain they are causing others.”—Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Russia’s nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars, Loveless is a dark, cold, spellbinding portrait of a country, and a society, in crisis.

Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) and Boris (Alexey Rozin) are in the final days of a painful, agonizing marriage. When she’s not taking selfies, Zhenya openly berates her husband, who is so beaten down he can barely pick up his head. He’s already moved on to another relationship, same with her. But his company has a strict anti-divorce policy, a function of a top-down ordinance meant to promote the importance of a family unit.

Lost in their bitter, abusive relationship is their 12-year-old son, Alyosha (Matvey Novikov), whom Zhenya treats even worse than she does her husband. But when Alyosha goes missing — he’s been emotionally missing for years, his physical disappearance is the next logical step — search parties are employed to comb the town and its surrounding areas to find him, after the broken police system offers no help.

Loveless is devastating and draining, and it takes a special kind of filmmaker to make despondency look this good. Director Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan) is brave and bold behind the camera, giving Loveless a churning engine beyond its cold, dead heart. The whole story can be seen as a metaphor for Putin’s Russia and the way the country has lost its humanity. Loveless is as bleak and harsh as the tundra.

Winner of the Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes, the new film from Russian master Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan) is an intense study of a family torn apart by divorce, in which the former husband and wife are each more interested in starting their lives over with their respective new partners than in tending to their 12-year-old son — until the boy suddenly goes missing without a trace.

Sponsored by Sleeping Giant Folk Music Society

The Divine Order

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Sunday April 22nd 2:25 PM
Sweden 2016
Director: Petra Volpe
Cast: Marie Leuenberger, Maximilian Simonischek, Rachel Braunschweig
Runtime: 96 min
Language: Swiss and German with English subtitles
Rating: 14A
San Diego International Film Festival: Best Global Cinema; Tribeca Film Festival: Audience Award, Best Actress, Nora Ephron Prize: Screenplay; Swiss Film Prize: Best Actress, Supporting Actress, Screenplay. Four other wins, 10 nominations.
“Petra Volpe’s direction is crisp, her screenplay is smart and well-paced, and the acting is superb, particularly Sibylle Brunner, as the elder stateswoman of the village.” – Paul Weissman, Film-Forward

Two years ago, director Sarah Gavron gave us Suffragette, the story of women in Edwardian London fighting for the right to vote. The Divine Order tells a similar tale, but it’s set in Switzerland, 1971, not 1912. Men landed on the moon – several times – before they let women vote in Swiss elections.
The title of Petra Biondina Volpe’s movie refers to the argument that the Supreme Being never intended women to vote. But for Nora (Marie Leuenberger), things come to a head when her husband won’t let her get a job outside the home. She falls in with two fellow feminists – an Italian/Swiss divorcée who suggests a “women’s strike,” and an older woman who lost her livelihood because of outdated property laws.
Together, they set up an information night for local ladies in their rural town, and attend a protest in Zurich, followed by an educational talk about “yoni power.” Nora realizes she doesn’t just want to vote; she wants an orgasm!
They face opposition from a little old lady who runs the local “anti-politicization of women” league, and wouldn’t have anything to do if she weren’t helping keep women in their place.
Overall, The Divine Order exudes an easygoing, lighthearted style, making it a lovely diversion, and a reminder of how recent some changes to women’s rights have been.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia became the last country to allow women to vote, although Vatican City remains a male-only conclave when it comes to voting for the Pope, since only cardinals can vote, and only men can be cardinals. Divine Order indeed.

Sponsored by Don Skochinski RBC

Brigsby Bear

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Sunday April 22nd 10:00 AM
USA 2017
Director: Dave McCary
Cast: Kyle Mooney, Greg Kinnear, Mark Hamill, Claire Danes
Runtime: 100 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A
National Board of Review: Top 10 Independent Films; Provincetown International Film Festival: John Schlesinger Award, Narrative; Film Club’s Lost Weekend: Best Film; Audience Favourite; nine other nominations.
“The rare comedy–one of a very special sense of humour and a big heart-that has the ability to connect with anyone wondering what else is out there.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com

On the surface Brigsby Bear is a fish out of water tale, where an abducted child James (SNL’s Kyle Mooney) has been raised as a 25-year-old innocent by well meaning-yet-lunatic pseudo-parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams). His one virtual companion is “Brigsby Bear,” a lo-fi kids’ show produced by his ‘dad’ that has served as James’ sole means of education. Obsessing over his carefully curated Brigsby VHS tapes, James is content in the bunker of a home where his ‘parents’ tell him that air in the post-apocalyptic desert outside is unbreathable.
When suddenly rescued from a captivity, James is thrust into an unknown world. Reunited with his real parents and sister, his biggest shock is the realization that the world isn’t aware of the life-sized bear which has formed the basis for most of his life.
Heady stuff for what’s really just a gentle, silly comedy. One buys into James’ innocence and his nascent intelligence as he tries to comically relate to a new world through his fanciful Brigsby philosophy.
The script provides James with compactly-shaped characters who credibly accept him for what he is. There’s the investigative cop (Greg Kinnear) who harbours long-suppressed acting ambitions and good-hearted Spencer (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) one of James’ sister friends and a fantasy-fan in his own right who assists James with producing one last Brigsby episode. It’s suggested that this exercise may provide James with some closure and enable him to move on.
Brigsby exudes an infectious sweetness and innocent charm. The world accepts our protagonist for the person he actually is as opposed to forcing him to be what he should have been. An impressive debut for director Dave McCary.

Director Dave McCary makes an impressive debut with this offbeat whimsical comedy, which explores the experiences of a young man rescued after years in captivity. Reality takes a back seat to a fanciful and often gently hilarious point of view of how a sheltered fan-boy is suddenly uprooted from a cocoon-like existence face to a whole new world.
Brigsby is a fish-out-water tale about James (co-writer Kyle Mooney) a 25-year-old man-child, who was kidnapped as an infant and raised in a bunker by Ted and April (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams) who claimed to be his parents and told him the air outside was unbreathable. Over the years, James’ education and world view has come from weekly videotape episodes of the children’s show Brigsby Bear, made by Ted specifically for him. But when James is rescued and reunited with his real parents (Matt Walsh and Michael Watkins), and spikey sister Aubrey (Ryan Simpkins), they’re strangers to him.
To make sense of this big new world, he gets help from a cop (Greg Kinnear) and a therapist (Claire Danes). But James longs to revisit Brigsby’s world. So when Aubrey’s friend Spencer (Jorge Lendeborg), a sci-fantasy fan himself, shows interest in the furry character, James launches an epic plan to make a movie to bring the TV series to a conclusion, perhaps providing James with some closure and thus enabling him to move on to real life.
It’s hilarious to see the man-child James try to adapt to a contemporary world only through cultural references as they relate to Brigsby. Mooney underscores James’ obsession with a bright sense of curiosity that’s infectious for the other characters and the audience.
This sounds dubious, but the characters are compactly well-defined, with the standout being Kinnear, a cocky detective with acting ambitions. The rest of piece exudes an infectious, comical charm that sets aside suspension of disbelief. And one accepts the film’s gentle message, where the world accepts James for the person he actually is instead for forcing him to be what he should have been.

Sponsored by Country 105.3

The Leisure Seeker

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Sunday April 22nd 12:00 PM
Italy, 2017
Director: Paolo Virzì Cast: Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren, Christian McKay
Runtime: 112 minutes
Language: English
Rating:14A
Capri, Hollywood Award: Ensemble Cast Award; 4 other nominations
“[The Leisure Seeker] … is a consoling, teary-funny road trip comedy about an aging couple who realise their days – of living independently, at least – are numbered.” – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph (UK)

Canadian acting legend Donald Sutherland and Academy Award winner Helen Mirren star in this wise and witty road movie set in today’s divided United States. The English-language debut of Italian director Paolo Virzì (Like Crazy), The Leisure Seeker makes an entire country its canvas and a couple of aging adventurers its lovable heroes.

Living their twilight years under the close supervision of their adult children and an array of doctors and specialists, John (Donald Sutherland, Milton’s Secret; Pride and Prejudice) and Ella (Helen Mirren, Trumbo; Woman in Gold) yearn for one last adventure. Escaping in a 1978 “Leisure Seeker” RV, the couple hits the road in an effort to reclaim some independence and spontaneity in their lives.
However, the trip may not be as carefree as John and Ella anticipate; both are suffering from serious health issues, prompting their children and doctors to keep close tabs on them at all times. Yet Ella, the driving force behind the road trip down the famous Route 66, refuses to let these hindrances keep her and John from truly experiencing the world and living life on their own terms for as long as possible
With great respect and genuine affection for its characters, and an impressively nuanced take on the aging process as a journey of its own, The Leisure Seeker is a road trip unlike any other.

Sponsored by 55 Plus Centre

Faces/Places

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Sunday April 22nd 4:45 PM

France 2017
Director: JR, Agnès Varda
With: JR, Agnès Varda, Jean-Luc Godard
Runtime: 89 minutes
Language: French with English subtitles
Rating: PG

Academy Award Nomination: Best Documentary Feature; Independent Spirit Awards/Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards/National Society of Film Critics Awards: Best Documentary Feature; Toronto International Film Festival: People’s Choice Award; 28 other awards, 31 other nominations.
“Faces Places” is a film of sheer joy, its exuberance surpassed only by its tenderness and purity of purpose.”—Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

One can exhaust a thesaurus trying to find new words to describe Faces Places. Suffice it to say that this collaboration between photographer and installation artist JR (age 33) and beloved French filmmaker Agnès Varda (age 88) is inspired and irresistible.
Their movie is simplicity itself: two highly creative people, celebrating their newfound friendship, set off on a series of adventures. Their goal is to visit out-of-the-way villages in France, meet interesting and colorful people, and ask them to participate in JR’s photographic exhibits: gigantic black and white photos pasted on the walls of barns, old buildings, shipping containers, a factory water tank, and the like.
Take it as a means of celebrating everyday life of everyday people. And for the most part, the everyday people—farmers, cheese makers, truck drivers, even a cinema operator— are tickled with the end result.
In recent years Varda has made a specialty of impromptu films in which she brings her artist’s sensibility and photographer’s eye to seemingly ordinary people, especially women. This makes her a perfect partner for JR, a free spirit who expresses himself on a much larger scale but shares Varda’s interest in exposing the beauty of the commonplace.
Following this unlikely pair makes for a fairly jolly outing. There are also references to Varda’s earlier work and her association with the French New Wave, one of which culminates in a climactic sequence that is spurred by a possible reunion.
One doesn’t need a thesaurus to describe a reaction to Faces Places. It can be summed up in two words: pure pleasure.

Sponsorisé par CCF

Sami Blood

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Sunday April 22nd 4:40 PM

Norway/Denmark/Sweden 2016
Director: Amanda Kernell
Cast: Lene Cecilia Sparrok, Mia Erika Sparrok, Maj-Doris Rimpi
Runtime: 110 minutes
Language: Swedish and Saami with English subtitles
Rating: N/A

Newport Beach Film Festival: Audience Award, Foreign Feature; Riviera International Film Festival: Best Director; Seattle International Film Festival: Best Actress (Lene Cecilia Sparrok), Best Feature Film; Venice Film Festival: Best Director (Debut). 17 other wins, 15 nominations.
“Swedish director Amanda Kernell makes a stirring debut with a coming-of-age tale that pointedly addresses a bygone era of Scandi colonialism.”—Guy Lodge, Variety

Breaking away from family is more than mere teen rebellion in Sami Blood, an eloquent coming-of-age drama set in 1930s Sweden that revolves around a spellbinding performance by young Lene Cecilia Sparrok.
For Elle-Marja, the tough and quick-witted 14-year-old at the charged center of the film, eye-opening exposure to systematic racism convinces her that the only way to be true to herself is to adopt a new identity. Rejecting her cultural heritage as one of the indigenous Sami, she reinvents herself as Swedish, embarking on a course that’s both exhilarating and bruising.
Writer-director Amanda Kernell’s assured first feature has a classic sheen, imbued with a powerful sense of place and sensitive performances. Compellingly rooted in the experiences of her young protagonist, newcomer Sparrok’s near mute portrayal as luminous as it is discerning.
At a boarding school for Sami children, star pupil Elle-Marja is pawed at, measured like a specimen and subjected to a milder version of the eugenics that would soon convulse Europe. Further studies are a pipe dream; the curriculum is designed to lift students just enough from their assumed backwardness before sending them home to their reindeer-herding families
Galvanized, Elle-Marja abandons her language and traditions and ventures out into the world. Scenes of her elderly self suggest the emotional toll of her actions. Sparrok’s burning gaze makes clear the cost of not taking them.

Sponsored by Allure Medispa

Don’t Talk to Irene

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Sunday April 22nd 12:15 PM
Canada 2017
Director: Pat Mills
Cast: Michelle McLeod, Geena Davis, Anastasia Phillips, Scott Thompson
Runtime: 90 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Austin Film Festival: Audience Award, Jury Award.
“(Michelle McLeod) is a natural star and an extremely funny one at that, showcasing a knack for physical comedy and an even better hand a keeping the beat of the comedic timing that pulses with vitality in Mills’ script.”—Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Irene Willis (Michelle McLeod) lives in a town deemed the most insignificant geographical location in North America. The cycle of life is predictable and bland, something 15-year-old Irene, “the fattest girl in high school,” might just be able to shake up.
Fuelled by the dream of becoming a cheerleader, but constantly told by both her overprotective mother and society that she isn’t exactly a fit for the role, Irene turns to her confidante and all-around god: Geena Davis. Speaking to Irene via the A League of Their Own poster on her bedroom wall, Geena provides the inspiration and tough no-nonsense motivation she needs to face her bullies and follow her passions.
When Irene gets suspended and is forced to do community service at a retirement home — run by discipline freak Barrett (Scott Thompson) — alongside her bullies and her new friend, Tesh (a gender non-conforming, glitzy dreamer), an opportunity arises. If she can’t be a high-school cheerleader, maybe she can turn her new-found circle of elderly friends into an unlikely dance troupe.
Pat Mills established himself with his dark comedy Guidance and brings to Don’t Talk to Irene his smart, sly, and sharp humour. This is an empowering comedy about acceptance on your own terms. Disarmingly honest, Irene goes through the world with no filter, quick repartee, and an underlying sense of potential achievement. She just needs a bit of a lift to soar. You go, girl!

Sponsored by IDA Pharmacy

The Breadwinner

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Sunday April 22nd 2:30 PM

Canada/Ireland/Luxemburg, 2017
Director: Nora Twomey
Cast: Saara Chaudry, Laara Sadiq, Shaista Latif
Run time:  94 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

Academy Award & Golden Globe Nominations: Best Animated Feature; ACTRA Awards: Outstanding Performance, Voice (Saara Chaudry); Canadian Screen Awards: Best Original Score. 5 other wins, 42 other nominations.

“….families deserve to see this excellent film. The Breadwinner is a visually striking feature with a relatable young heroine; it is as fresh and relevant as any movie of 2017.”—Leonard Maltin, leonardmaltin.com

Based on the award-winning, best-selling young adult novel of the same name by Deborah Ellis, the Oscar-nominated The Breadwinner tells the remarkable story of Parvana, a young girl who is forced to become the breadwinner for her family while living under the Taliban regime. Executive produced by Angelina Jolie and helmed by Irish filmmaker Nora Twomey in her solo directorial debut (co-director on The Secret of Kells), The Breadwinner is a rare gem that will captivate both young and mature audiences.

Living in a single room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, 11-year-old Parvana is not allowed to attend school or leave the house without a male chaperone. Her father — a history teacher until his school was bombed and his health destroyed — sits on a blanket in the marketplace, reading letters for people who cannot read or write. However, when the Taliban arrests Parvana’s father for having a foreign education, the young girl disguises herself as a boy in order to shop for food and earn money for her family.

Sumptuously rendered with swirling hand-drawn animation, the film cap­tures the colours, sights, and lights of the Afghan city. Featuring a voice cast of largely Afghani, Pakistani and Indian actors, The Breadwinner disrupts the typical Hollywood version of princesses. Instead, it is a timely reminder of the millions of strong young girls and women worldwide who persevere in the face of oppression or conflict.

Sponsored by JML Engineering and Giant Gymnastics

In the Fade

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Sunday April 15th 12:10 PM
Germany, 2017
Director: Fatih Akin
Cast:  Diane Kruger, Denis Moschitto, Numan Acar
Runtime: 106 minutes
Language: German, Greek, and English with English subtitles
Rating: 14A

Golden Globe Award: Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language; Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, New York Film Critics Online : Best Foreign Language Film; Cannes Film Festival: Best Actress, Diane Kruger; six other wins, 14 nominations.

“On this emotional roller coaster, Katja’s capable of just about anything.”—Susan G. Cole, NOW Magazine

German-born Diane Kruger, who usually appears in French or American productions such Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, gets a rare workout in her native language as Katja, a Hamburg woman whose life is torn apart when her Turkish husband and their small son are killed in a random-looking terror attack. The film’s original title can be translated as Out of Nowhere or Over Nothing, and both convey the pure shock of the event and the paucity of reasoning behind it that’s eventually revealed.

The terror turns out to be homegrown, leading to a court case in which we learn about the German legal system. There are some taut standoffs between the widow’s sympathetic lawyer (Denis Moschitto) and the defendants’ shark-like attorney (Revanche’s excellent Johannes Krisch).

Writer-director Fatih Akin (Soul Kitchen, NOSFA fest 2011) has the leather-clad Katja go through the wringer. She grieves, she pouts, she takes drugs, she tries to commit suicide. Kruger fills the screen with an intense presence.

When the trial ends on a technical note, the film shifts into revenge mode, with hints of social context. The action shifts to Greece, with the far-right Golden Dawn movement an ominous presence. As a commentary on the futility of terror, Akin seems to ask, is Katja an avenging angel or a self-destructive fool?

Sponsored by Harbourview Optometry

The Insult

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April 15th 2:35 PM
France/Lebanon 2017
Director: Ziad Doueiri
Cast: Adel Karam, Kamel El Basha, Rita Hayek
Runtime: 113 minutes
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Rating: 14A
Best Foreign Language Film nomination, Academy Awards; AFI Fest: Audience Award; Boulder International Film Festival: Audience Award Palm Springs International Film Fest Award: director Ziad Douein. Four other wins, 13 nominations
“A powerful and impeccably crafted tale arguing for the crucial importance of addressing history and facing down trauma… Doueiri weaves a starkly intimate fable of violence that’s at once deeply personal and universally, globally relevant.”– Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

The Oscar-nominated feature from Ziad Doueiri (The Attack) centres on a dispute between two men on the streets of Beirut that suddenly becomes a national sensation when it opens up old wounds and traumatic memories.
One afternoon in the dog days of a Beirut summer, Tony (Adel Karam, Where Do We Go Now?) gets into an altercation with Yasser over a broken drainpipe. Tony is a mechanic and a Christian; Yasser is a construction foreman and a Palestinian. When Tony, hard-nosed and hot-headed, refuses to accept Yasser’s half-hearted apology, two bruised male egos begin to swell.
Tony utters an unforgiveable insult to Yasser. With a speed neither man could foresee, their personal argument escalates through the neighbourhood and the city to the national stage. The dispute comes to encapsulate the lasting legacy of the Lebanese Civil War — and becomes a lightning rod for people with more power than either man to pursue their own agendas.
Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, The Insult is an impeccably made political drama, layered with clever observations on the complex history of the region as seen through the intimate mechanisms of an interpersonal misunderstanding.

Sponsored by Atwood Labine

Lady Bird

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Thursday April 19th 6:30 PM
followed by a Gala party at Bight
LadyBird
USA 2017
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Odeya Rush, Timothée Chalamet, Lucas Hedges
Runtime:  94 minutes
Language: English                                                                                                                Rating: 14A

Five Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress, Screenplay; Golden Globes: Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Saoirse Ronan, Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy; National Board of Review: Best Director & Supporting Actress; 94 other wins, 186 other nominations.

“Greta Gerwig makes a winning directorial debut with a funny and very human comedy that happens to have Oscar-caliber performances from Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf.”—Pete Hammond, Deadline Hollywood Daily

Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut, Lady Bird, follows Saoirse Ronan’s title character as she attempts to navigate the final year of her high school experience in Sacramento in 2002, with the film detailing Lady Bird’s squabbles with her parents (Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts) and her relationships with two very different boys (Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet).

Writer/director Gerwig delivers a familiar yet charming narrative that contains virtually all of the touchstones one associates with the coming-of-age genre, and yet, for the most part, Lady Bird comes off as a pervasively affable dramedy that benefits from Gerwig’s authentic approach and a smattering of superb performances. What is distinctive here is the pacing and emotional energy of the characters. The various plot strands come and go in rapid-fire but often hilarious fashion.

Gerwig extracts inspired performances from her cast. Ronan’s excellent turn as the movie’s conflicted protagonist is matched by an exceedingly strong supporting players – with, in particular, Metcalf and Letts delivering seriously impressive work as Lady Bird’s world-weary, exasperated mother and somewhat more sympathetic father as well as Beanie Feldstein as Lady Bird’s sometimes under-appreciated girlfriend.

Gerwig’s screenplay is rife with familiar elements – ie Lady Bird tussles with her parents, has boy problems, drops her unpopular friend for a popular one, etc, etc – but director orchestrates all of these in sure-handed fashion, resulting in a credible arc for her titular character. Geriwg’s Oscar-nominated Lady Bird comes off as a solid debut from a promising new filmmaker.

Sponsored by Grant Thornton

Back to Burgundy

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Sunday April 15th 2:25 PM
France 2017
Director: Cédric Klapisch
Cast: Pio Marmaï, Ana Girardot, François Civil
Runtime: 113 minutes
Language: French, English, Spanish with English subtitles
Rating: PG

“The performances are engaging and the film is very likeable, especially as we witness the landscapes through the changing seasons of sun-dappled summer and snow-clad winter.”—Alan Hunter, Daily Express (UK)

Veteran director Cédric Klapisch’s Back to Burgundy is an engaging familial drama set in the heart of French wine country. Taking place over the course of roughly four seasons and two harvests, it is the story of a prodigal son who returns to the family winery after a 10-year absence.
In that time, Jean (Pio Marmai) has travelled the world, married, become a father and even set up his own vineyard in Australia. But when his own father falls ill, and soon dies, he is reluctantly brought back home.
Friction is immediately apparent between Jean and his siblings Juliette (Ana Girardot) and Jeremie (Francois Civil), who has married into one of the area’s more renowned winemaking families, and tensions are exacerbated by the family’s winery facing pressing economic issues.
Thanks to some help for the script from real-life winemaker Jean-Marc Roulot (who plays loyal family friend Marcel), Klapisch gets the minutia of viti-culture – and just how tough and trying such an existence can be.
This is still a well-observed study of the rhythms of rural family life, digging over the emotional soil for the little dramas that make up life.
Beautifully photographed and capturing the famous region in all its glory, this is a gentle breeze of a film. There’s something charmingly old-fashioned about Back to Burgundy. You will probably want to uncork a good bottle of vino after the screening.

Sponsored by Bistro One

Finding Your Feet

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Sunday April 15th 2:30 PM
United Kingdom, 2018
Director: Richard Loncraine
Cast: Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie, Timothy Spall, Joanna Lumley
Runtime: 111 Min
Language: English
Rating: PG

Awards: Best Narrative Feature, Richard Loncraine, Palm Spring International Film Festival

“Finding Your Feet” hits its romantic-comedy beats with an old-timer’s clockwork efficiency.”—Guy Lodge, Variety

Recent retiree Sandra (Imelda Staunton; Pride, Another Year) is on top of the world and looking forward to enjoying the rest of her life with her husband of 40 years, Mike (John Sessions; Denial, Florence Foster Jenkins). However, when Sandra discovers Mike embracing her best friend and uncovers their years-long affair, her plans for their idyllic retirement dissolve before her eyes.

With her picture-perfect but stuffy life crumbling around her, Sandra moves in with her eccentric sister, Bif (Celia Imrie; The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and embarks on a journey to find her­self and reconnect with her decidedly less posh roots.

As her patience for her sister’s self-pity wears thin, Bif hopes to snap Sandra out of her funk by inviting her to join her dance class and meet her friends Charlie (Timothy Spall; Mr. Turner, Denial), Jackie (Joanna Lumley; Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie), and Ted (David Hayman; Macbeth, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas). Surrounded by new friends and reviving her longstanding love for dance, Sandra comes to enjoy her new life with her sister, but she can’t avoid her past for long.

Featuring an all-star cast, Finding Your Feet proves it’s never too late to start again and reconnect with the people you love.

Sponsored by Red Lion Smokehouse

The Disaster Artist

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Thursday April 12th 8:40 PM
USA 2017
Director: James Franco
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor
Runtime: 103 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A
Academy Award Nomination: Best Adapted Screenplay; Golden Globes: Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical: James Franco; National Board of Review: Best Adapted Screenplay; Detroit Film Critics Society: Best Actor; 20 other wins, 65 other nominations
“There’s something joyful about the Franco brothers playing a fun-house mirror version of their own Hollywood arrival, and the film’s best scenes are with Seth Rogen’s production manager, aghast at Tommy’s incompetence.”—Jake Coyle, Associate Press

Perhaps the biggest surprise about The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s dramatization of the creation of the camp classic The Room, is how utterly sweet it is.
Franco, who directs and stars as the world’s worst filmmaker Tommy Wiseau, takes someone who’s been an object of mockery and makes him utterly human and likable.
Moreover, he takes the often-strained relationship at the center of The Room’s backstory – between Wiseau and Greg Sestero (James’ brother Dave Franco) whose memoir the film is based on and forges a wonky screen friendship.
Franco plays Tommy as a loopy enigma, a sun-walking vampire who talks like a Transylvanian valley girl, capable of the most peculiar acts—he scandalizes an acting class by giving an inappropriate primal scream, his Brando-esque monologues look like a full-body seizure, and he shouts Shakespeare in 24-hour diners.
But Tommy has two things going for himself, his unerring self-belief and a seemingly bottomless bank account to make his film. Yet despite his oddball ways, he also engenders some genuine pathos.
The film features a variety of cameos including Zac Efron, Sharon Stone, Bryan Cranston, Melanie Griffith, and Seth Rogen as an acerbic script supervisor, but it’s Ari Graynor who stands out as a long-suffering girlfriend. .
Adding some veracity to the film is the closing credits, where scenes from The Disaster Artist and The Room play side by side. Seeing is believing. But it’s James Franco’s inspired rendition of Tommy that truly sparks The Disaster Artist.

Sponsored by Bight

Online Programme!

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You can download the full programme pdf here! 2018 FESTIVAL PROGRAMME

It is best viewed in a two page format.

If you are viewing it on a Mac, after downloading – open with preview. Save the file to your desktop. Under “view” you can select two page and zoom in or out.

If you are viewing it on a pc, you can download, save and open it using Adobe Acrobat Viewer. Under view, go to page display and select two page view!

Many thanks to all of our great sponsors!

The Midwife

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Sunday April 15th 4:55 PM
France 2017
Director: Martin Provost
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Frot, Olivier Gourmet
Runtime: 117 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles
Rating: PG

Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festival: Best Actress, Catherine Deneuve; Globe de Cristal Awards Nominee: Best Actress, Catherine Deneuve

“While there’s plenty of wisdom about living in the moment and enjoying life, Provost and the Catherines dole it out subtly and without any mawkish aftertaste.”—Vikram Murthi, rogerebert.com

Catherine Deneuve gives a towering performance as Béatrice, a dying woman who looks back on her life and attempts to fix a couple of her very few regrets.

Her principal sorrow, aside from the brain tumor she can no longer ignore, is having abandoned Claire, the young daughter of her former lover, some 30 years before she returns to Paris to look for them both—presumably because she needs help in what’s coming.

Since Béatrice has lost touch with all the people from her past and doesn’t know Google from Gogol, she hasn’t heard that the dad died soon after she left. Or that Claire—played by the equally formidable Catherine Frot—is now a 50-something single mom with a son in medical school and a stern passion for her own work, as a midwife.

In France, Claire’s referred to as a sage femme, or wise woman—which also sums up her orderly, almost monastic life. She works in a standard hospital but her profession is under threat from more streamlined medical practices. And now her domestic world is upended by the long-lost stepmother, who manages to push in all fronts. None of this tug of war keeps Béatrice from smoking, drinking, eating like a queen, and gambling large bags of cash in dubious surroundings.

Given its naturalistic stylings, it takes time to notice how elegantly framed, shot, and edited The Midwife is. And with two Catherines this great, the labour is bound to go well.

Sponsored by Caribou and The Keg

Novitiate

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Sunday April 15th 9:45 AM
USA 2017
Director: Margaret Betts
Cast: Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Dianna Agron, Julianne Nicholson
Runtime: 123 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Capri, Hollywood: Best Supporting Actress, Melissa Leo; Sundance Film Festival: Special Jury Prize, Margaret Betts; Black Reel Awards: Outstanding First Screenplay, Margaret Betts. one other win, 13 nominations.

“Novitiate, is as heated with ideas as it is with fire in the flesh. I particularly enjoyed Leo’s performance as fire-breathing tragic dragon, guarding a treasure that’s already been taken.”—Liam Lacey, original.cin

Unable to find her place at home or amongst her peers at school, Cathleen (Margaret Qualley, The Nice Guys;) finds solstice with the nuns at her school and decides to turn to the Catholic Church to find meaning in her life. However, her place in the Church is complicated as larger changes are on the horizon from the Vatican.

Cathleen is immediately struck by the peace and calm that she experiences attending her first Catholic mass. Despite the misgivings of her decidedly irreligious mother (an anomaly in their small 1960s Tennessee town), Cathleen wholeheartedly pursues her newfound interest in God, which provides her with the intellectual stimulation and calm sense of security she’s missing in her tense home.

Sure of her devotion, Cathleen dedicates herself to becoming a nun and joins a local convent, isolated from her family and the life she once knew. Encouraged by the camaraderie with her fellow postulants and the peaceful silence of her initial training under Sister Mary Grace (Dianna Agron), Cathleen moves forward with her training as a novitiate. However, as the Catholic Church finds itself on the verge of momentous change and her preparations increase in severity — bringing her in closer contact with the austere and demanding Reverend Mother (Melissa Leo, The Fighter) — Cathleen is forced to decide if the convent and her relationship with God can give her everything she needs.

Supported by outstanding performances, director Margaret Betts presents an assured and beautifully captured feature debut. Her skillful and nuanced exploration of the pressures facing young Cathleen brings a palpable kindness and universality to her story.

Sponsored by Fireweed

Foxtrot

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Sunday April 15th 5:05 PM
Israel, 2017
Director:  Samuel Maoz
Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Sarah Adler, Yonatan Shiray
Runtime: 108 minutes
Language: Hebrew, Arabic, German with English subtitles
Rating: 14A

National Board of Review: Best Foreign Language Film; Venice Film Festival: Best Film; Palm Springs International Film Festival: Directors to Watch Award; 13 other wins, 13 nominations.

Brilliantly constructed with a visual audacity that serves the subject rather than the other way around, this is award-winning filmmaking on a fearless level.”

Jay Weissberg, Variety

Samuel Maoz’s debut feature, Lebanon, win­ner of the Golden Lion at the 2009 Venice Film Festival), was set during the 1982 Lebanon War, and shot almost entirely inside of a tank. Foxtrot, his second feature, steps away from that fevered claustrophobia to tell another maddening story of war and conflict, but this one on a much broader canvas.

Michael (Lior Ashkenazi) and Dafna (Sarah Adler) experience gut-wrenching grief when army officials show up at their home to announce the death of their son, Jonathan (Yonatan Shiray). Unable to find any solace in the well-meaning — if hollowly effusive — condolences of their extended family, or in the empty patriotic platitudes of bureaucrats, Michael spirals into anger only to subse­quently experience one of life’s unfathomable twists — a twist that can only be rivaled by the surreal military experiences of his son.

Foxtrot examines both the strength and the absurdity of military service from several points of view. Moving from the grieving par­ents’ apartment to the remote military post where Jonathan was stationed, Maoz shows us precisely how much damage can ensue when young soldiers, barely able to tell their toe from a trigger, experience boredom, priva­tion, and loneliness.

Although there is a terrible tragedy at the heart of the film, Foxtrot contains many moments laced with mordant humour, irony, and sincere emotional connection. Maoz once again brings us a powerful story, beautifully photographed and composed, about the lunacy of war, and its most immediate, as well as its most far-reaching impacts.

25th ANNIVERSARY NORTHWEST FILM FEST!

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Hey Everyone! Our website is under construction, but full details will be published April 4th!

In the mean time, you can see what we have in store for our April 12th screenings by clicking on Home Page above. Thank you for your patience!

Mark these dates on your calendar:

April 12th – Festival Prelude Screenings

April 15th – a full day of wonderful films

April 19th – a screening of Lady Bird, followed by a Gala Party event at Bight beginning at 8:00 PM.  We’ll have delicious hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, entertainment by the Damon Dowbak Trio, cash bar and a lot of fun! We hope you will join us in celebrating our 25th festival!

April 22nd – another great day of films!

Check back soon for reviews of all our great films.

 

 

Their Finest

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Thursday April 12th 6:30
United Kingdom, 2016
Director: Lone Scherfig
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Helen McCrory, Eddie Marsan, Richard E. Grant
Runtime: 110 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Goteborg Film Festival: Best Feature Film; 5 other nominations.

“A World War II comedy that, despite its light hand, never compromises the grief and loss that lie at its core.”—Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Director Lone Scherfig (An Education) returns with this rousing romantic comedy set in Britain’s wartime film industry. Featuring a cast teeming with some of the UK’s most charismatic comedic actors, including Bill Nighy (Pride) and Richard E. Grant (The Iron Lady), Their Finest is about boosting morale during a period of national — and personal — crisis.

Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton, Tamara Drewe) is a “slop” scriptwriter, charged with bringing a female perspective to war films produced by the British Ministry of Information’s Film Division. Catrin’s artist husband looks down on her job despite the fact that it’s paying their rent, but her effort and talent are valued by lead scenarist Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin, United).

While on location in Devon, Catrin begins to come into her own and earns the respect of her peers, especially when she becomes the only crewperson that Ambrose Hilliard (Nighy) — a past-his-prime, yet nonetheless pompous actor — will talk to and take direc­tion from.

Based on the novel Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans, the film pops with witty banter and flows with lovely period detail. The characters are uniformly textured and the performances nuanced. Nighy is perfectly cast in his endearingly withering role, and Jeremy Irons turns up for a welcome cameo. However, Arterton ultimately steals the show, bringing subtlety, intelligence, and a range of beauti­fully gauged emotions to Catrin, whose path to self-renewal is an inspiring example of a talented woman forging her place in the world.
Visit our sponsor Helium Highs!

Loving Vincent

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Sunday April 15th 5:00 PM
United Kingdom/Poland 2017
Rating:14A
Director: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman
Cast: Jerome Flynn, Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson
Runtime: 95 minutes
Language: English

Academy Award & Golden Globe Nominations: Best Animated Feature; Vancouver International Film Festival: Most Popular International Feature; Shanghai International Film Festival: Best Animated Film. 11 other wins, 47 nominations.
“A visually arresting and worthy tribute to a genius.”—Bruce Demara, Toronto Star
Lovingly is the way Loving Vincent was created. It took seven years to complete this look at Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh’s final days in a rural Paris suburb. Making their feature-directing debut together, Poland’s Dorota Kobiela and the U.K.’s Hugh Welchman started by filming live actors against green screens, and then had hundreds of animators and technicians add layers of oil-paint colour and texture to the footage, creating the impression of the artist’s famously thick brush strokes.

LOVING VINCENT TRAILER

They use many of his best-known paintings as starting points, and as backgrounds or transitions, for their own story. They focus on the nebulous circumstances of van Gogh’s suicide at age 37, in 1890. Douglas Booth plays Armand Roulin, a hard-drinking dandy in a yellow jacket who is tasked with delivering a posthumous letter by his dad, the muttonchop-whiskered postmaster (Chris O’Dowd) of Arles, in southern France, where the painter found his swirly, post-impressionist style.

Among latter-day friends and antagonists, there’s Brooklyn’s Saoirse Ronan and The Hobbit’s Aidan Turner, Helen McCrory (Penny Dreadful), and Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones) as Dr. Gachet, a father figure with an ambiguous role in the manic ups and downs of the painter and his sickly younger brother, Theo.

Both van Goghs are played by Polish actors in black-and-white flashbacks. The visual approach is consis­tently compelling on-screen. Be sure to stay for the credits, to catch photos and sketches of the real-life characters, and to hear Lianne La Havas’s take on “Starry, Starry Night”. It’s a lovely book-end to a visually stunning movie.

Sponsored by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery

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.

Frantz

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November 2, 2017

Frantz France/Germany
Location: SilverCity
Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: François Ozon
Cast:  Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stötzner 
Runtime: 113 minutes 
Language: French, German
Rating: PG

César Awards, France: Best Cinematography; Sedona International Film Festival: Best Foreign Feature; Venice Film Festival: Best Young Actress: Paula Beer.

“A fine bilingual cast, haunting period detail and a provocative approach to a twisting story carry the day.”—Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail

Several times in Frantz, director François Ozon’s requiem for post-World War I Europe, Philippe Rombi’s score returns to a refrain that echoes “Ode to Joy,” the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. It’s a small gesture, but one that speaks to the deep-rooted unrest that keeps Frantz’s characters from finding any kind of solace.

The thing holding everyone back is the death of the titular character—a young German with a passion for music and art who, pushed to enlist in the army by his father, was killed in action. Months later, his parents and fiancée Anna (Paula Beer) are still mourning his passing, but are eased out of their despair by the arrival of Adrien (Pierre Niney), a Frenchman who seems to have known Frantz before the war and shares in the family’s grief.

Initially confused and icy to this stranger—he is French after all–the family eventually adopts him as a reminder of, and a surrogate for, their lost loved one. But Aiden seems to be withholding something. What is his secret? Anna is both confused and curious. While there are familiar suspicions, Ozon has his own tricks up his sleeve.

Ozon uses Frantz to investigate the nature of forgiveness following a war—though they shared a border, Germany and France were on opposite sides of the conflict—and the weight of grief. And he finds a simple but hugely effective way to symbolically reflect the moments when his characters find calm and comfort.

While most of the film is in black and white, certain scenes are rendered in lavish colour. That those florid moments are few, and even include a painful flashback to the war, only emphasizes how conflict and suffering can drain the wonder out of everyday life.

Kedi

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November 16, 2017

Kedi Turkey
Location: SilverCity
Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:10 pm

Director: Ceyda Torun
Cast: Bülent Üstün 
Runtime: 80 minutes
Language: Turkish with English subtitles
Rating:  G

Sidewalk Film Festival: Best Family Film

“Kedi is steeped in charm and simple wisdom. I should state flat-out that I am not a cat person, but this film won me over all the same.”—Leonard Maltin, leonardmaltin.com

Impossible to resist (and 100 percent allergy-free for us afflicted souls), Kedi is almost shamelessly satisfying: a documentary about the thousands of scrappy wild cats that prowl Istanbul with insouciance. Whose streets? Their streets. This isn’t a documentary for disbelievers.

Historically the ancient city has, for centuries, dealt with what might be termed a cat problem. Still, Ceyda Torun’s warm-hearted exposé definitely sees the army of felines as an asset. Sometimes captured in high-angle drone shots and elsewhere via a slinky roving camera, Kedi is The Shining, but with cats. Torun’s co-producer and cameraman Charlie Wupperman filmed in Istanbul for two months, painstakingly getting down to cat level and following the animals around, even using a bit of infra-red technology to follow one cat on the hunt for a mouse,

We’re down on the ground intimately with these animals, whose day-to-day impulsiveness finds a sinuous expression in some of the most elegant camerawork to ever grace a nature doc.

We follow seven especially brazen subjects, and it’s easy to get swept up in their individual dramas. There’s the little guy who paws every afternoon at the window of a café like he’s auditioning for a new production of Oliver! We also meet amorous alley strutters, psychotic yowlers and regally pampered pusses that know they have it made.

Kedi finds depth via its many interviews with humans, some of whom see the cats as wise spirits, others who need them as objects for their compassion. These beasts awaken something within the souls of these people, making them kinder and more playful. If Kedi did the same for audiences, that wouldn’t be so bad.

 

Beatriz at Dinner

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October 19, 2017

Beatriz at Dinner USA

Location: SilverCity
Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:10 pm
Director: Miguel Arteta
Cast: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Connie Britton 
Runtime: 82 minutes 
Language: English, Spanish
Rating: 14A

International Online Cinema Award Nominations: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay. Imagen Foundation Award Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress.

Disarming in its simplicity, Beatriz at Dinner establishes a believable premise for a dinner party where things go terribly wrong. It’s a tribute to writer Mike White, director Miguel Arteta and their superior cast that this allegorical story never jumps the rails, as it easily could.

Winning ingredient number one is Salma Hayek. She is exceptionally good as a Mexican-American healer who is devoted to her patients at a recovery center in Santa Monica, California. One day she drives to an exquisite home in Newport Beach to give a massage to a long-time client (Connie Britton). When Hayek’s car breaks down Britton insists that she stay for dinner, over the objections of her husband. He doesn’t share his wife’s compassion, and besides, this is a business-related meal where the guest of honour is a high-powered developer (John Lithgow). Beatriz is casually dressed and out of place in the company she’s about to keep.

Like Hayek, Lithgow disappears into the role of the real-estate mogul and the crass remarks he makes seem frighteningly genuine. He doesn’t know how awful he sounds as he issues his pronouncements. What’s worse, he doesn’t care. He gets under Hayek’s skin, especially after she’s had several glasses of wine.

That’s the straightforward setup of Beatriz at Dinner:. The skill of its execution make it compelling, even suspenseful at times. The conviction of the ensemble cast makes Mike White’s script come alive. White and director Arteta have collaborated before, on Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl; this thoughtful and provocative film earns another place of honour on their résumé.

 

The Commune

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October 5, 2017

The Commune Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands

Location: SilverCity
Showtimes: 6:30 & 8: 25 pm

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Ulrich Thomsen, Trine Dyrholm, Fares Fares 
Runtime: 111 minutes 
Language: Danish with English Subtitles
Rating: 18A

Berlin International Film Festival: Best Actress, Trine Dyrholm; Bodil Awards: Best Actress, Trine Dyrholm; Montclair Film Festival: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Trine Dyrholm.

“An intimate, bittersweet study of communal living drenched in the unfiltered weed smoke and wide-wale corduroy of 1970s Copenhagen.”—Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Week

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, (The Hunt, The Celebration) who is 48, lived in a commune from age seven until he was 19. It’s no great surprise, then, that his latest film, The Commune, is set in just such a shared community in 1975.

Married couple Erik and Anna (Ulrich Thomsen, Trine Dyrholm) have just inherited a house in Copenhagen that is far too big and expensive to maintain for just them and their 14-year-old daughter, Freja.

Anna hits on the idea of starting a commune. A quick montage later they are nine strong, including a foreign guy who cries a lot, and a couple whose precocious six-year-old is not expected to live past the age of nine, and who readily tells people this prognosis at every opportunity.

Infidelity seems inevitable and unexpectedly it’s Erik who winds up wandering, falling into bed with Emma (Helene Reingaard Neumann), a student at the university where he teaches a course in modern architecture. When caught out, Erik comes clean with his wife telling her he’s in love. Anna, putting on a remarkably brave face, suggests that Emma join the commune.

What follows is an incredible performance by Dyrholm as a woman doing her best to keep things together when her entire world seems to be falling apart, and with everyone right there to witness the unraveling.

 

Maudie

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September 21, 2017
Showtimes: 6:30 pm & 8:40 pm at SilverCity
Director: Aisling Walsh
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kate Ross, Zachary Bennett 
Runtime: 115 minutes 
Language: English, Canada
Rating: PG

Atlantic Film Festival awards: Gordon Pinsent Award (Best Feature), Michael Weir Award (Best Screenwriting); Cinefest Sudbury: Audience Choice Award; Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards: Best Cinematography Theatrical Feature.

“Hawkins disappears into the performance, capturing Maud’s physical limitations but also the light in her eyes, the sly humor in her observations about life — and her gift for seeing the greatest beauty in the simplest things.”—Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Maudie dramatizes the life of self-taught painter Maud Lewis (nee Dowley), who became somewhat of a cause célèbre in rural Nova Scotia thanks to her vivid renderings of folk art, despite being afflicted by debilitating rheumatoid arthritis.

It’s the 1930s. Maud’s parents have passed away. Desperate for some independence, Lewis (Sally Hawkins) breaks away from her unfeeling and repressive brother and sister by going to work as a domestic for the uneducated, irascible fishmonger Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke), whom she eventually marries. The oddball outcasts find a life together in their tiny cottage with no heat or electricity. It is their compelling relationship that comes to define the movie.

Despite being dominated by Everett, Maud asserts her capacity for uncovering beauty and meaning even in the most challenging circumstances, and decorates the little home through painting images on any available surface. Everett is indifferent to her creativity, despite the fact that roadside sales of her small paintings and Christmas cards complements their meagre income.

However, once Maud receives unexpected patronage by a rich New York art connoisseur that boosts her hobby into a career, Everett’s appreciation of his wife gradually deepens. He is touched by his wife’s contributions to his world, in ways that he can’t articulate or even understand. For her part, Maud realizes that, for all the harshness and deprivation of her life, she is genuinely loved.
Hawkins not only grasps Maud’s physical infirmities but also illuminates her resilient spirit. Physically and emotionally closed off, Hawke manages the unlikely feat of garnering a small measure of empathy for Everett. The film is further enhanced by the stark beauty of Newfoundland and Labrador (standing in for Nova Scotia) and an effective, moody soundtrack.

One savors Maudie’s modest message, that even the poorest and most painful circumstances can shelter and nurture love, life’s greatest treasure.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

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September 21, 2017
Showtimes: 6:40 & 8:45 pm
 at SilverCity
Directors: Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
With: Al Gore, Barack Obama, Donald J. Trump 
Runtime: 100 min 
Language: English, USA
Rating: PG

Biografilm Festival: Audience Award; Cannes Film Festival Nomination: Golden Eye Award.

“[An] involving and unexpectedly passionate film.”—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Part of the power of An Inconvenient Truth was the simplicity of the film, with Al Gore simply presenting the facts via his famous slide-show. He had the stats, scared the daylights out of everyone, and urged the audience to get involved. Ten years later, the battle against climate change goes on, but as this follow-up shows, each victory is met with another defeat, making this as vital a topic as ever.

The sequel may be preaching to the choir, but preaching cannot relent in the face of stubborn non-believers. The film shows Gore fighting the good fight, globe-trotting, visiting the site of natural disasters and facing his critics. Sadly, people remain unconvinced despite all the evidence.

The most gripping parts of An Inconvenient Sequel happen when Gore is shown facing his critics, most of whom hail from the big money tied up in fossil fuels. Gore is shown at a senate meeting where his treatment is almost reminiscent of the McCarthy-era “Red Scare” meetings.

Through it all, Gore stays upbeat, noting modest victories, climaxing with the Paris Agreement, although in the interim that victory ultimately had an unhappy climax last November.

If you happen to think this is all a hoax and you weren’t convinced by An Inconvenient Truth, there may not be much here to change your mind. But, if the fight to save the planet from the horrible damage we’ve done to it is something you’re invested in, this is the pat on the back/word of encouragement maybe you need in light of current events. It preaches to the choir, but that choir, hopefully, is getting bigger and bigger.

A note from the Prez

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Welcome to NOSFA’S Season # 26!

Greetings film fans! Once again with the onset of autumn, the North of Superior Film Association returns for its 26th season of operation. Remarkable longevity!

This fact was re-emphasized at recent Film Circuit Summit gatherings during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). One former Circuit staffer recalled that Thunder Bay was among a small handful of locations that comprised what was then known as the Northern Film Circuit, including Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, and North Bay. At the Circuit Summit, TIFF Programmer Magali Simard singled out NOSFA as one of the superstars of the Circuit thanks to its continued longevity and viability among 170 groups across Canada. In both public and exclusive Circuit screenings, TIFF CEO Piers Handling and Artistic Director Cameron Bailey respectively praised the Circuit groups for their collective passion in highlighting films that would not otherwise be screened in their respective communities.

NOSFA acknowledges that passion is buttressed by its loyal patrons, without whom there wouldn’t be a North of Superior Film Association.

And so, NOSFA welcomes its patrons to Season #26, which features two exciting films, two theatres: Maudie, the real-life story of Canadian artist Maud Lewis featuring fabulous performances by Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, and An Inconvenient Sequel, featuring Al Gore, a more-than-appropriate selection given global devastation from Mother Nature.

Membership remains the same as last season (still a bargain at $15) as well as admission fees ($6 for members, $9 for non-members.) The September 21st screening offers two-for-one admission upon purchase of your membership. This admission is non-transferable for each purchaser (ie upon membership purchase, you pay for one film and get into the second screening for free). This is offered for opening night only.

We have an exciting autumn ahead of us. We look forward to seeing you at SilverCity!

Sincerely, 
Marty Mascarin
President

Festival Wrap-up!

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NOSFA offers a sincere, humble “Thank you!” for Season #25 and our 24th Annual Northwest Film Fest.

Thanks to our sponsors, the management and staff at SilverCity for their support and cooperation, Cineplex, the Film Circuit, Festival Coordinator Catherine Powell, our stalwart volunteers, the folks at Rainbow Printers, the UPS Store, FedEx, and Greyhound, and most of all to our loyal patrons for their great support!

Thanks to those passionate movie-goers who disregarded the horrible weather to support the double-bill of Julieta and It’s Only the End of the World April 27th. We were not immune to the dreadful ice storm that provided its share of challenges. NOSFA had to inveigle the support of Logan MacDonald of the Film Circuit and Olivier Gauthier-Mercier, head of Elevation Pictures, to secure a digital download for The Salesman Saturday night when the digital drive failed to arrive in time for its screening. There was also the fun of frantically securing an access code from Deluxe literally minutes before the screening of Swiss Army Man.

A cakewalk, these film festivals!

Ultimately, our best attended and well-received titles included: Queen of Katwe, Moonlight, Last Cab to Darwin, A Man Called Ove, 20th Century Women, The Eagle Huntress, Burn Your Maps and The Salesman.

It’s been real adventure over the past 25 years. Patrons are invited to check out the NOSFA website to review the roughly 700 titles that have been screened over the decades and the attendant dramatic highlights.

It is a privilege and pleasure to occupy our modest niche in the cultural community of Thunder Bay.

Thanks to members of the NOSFA board whose skills, experience and determination have resulted in a successful 25th season.

To our loyal patrons, have a safe and happy summer.
See you in September!

Sincerely,
Marty Mascarin
President

Festival Film Shorts

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Many thanks to our sponsors who help make the programme and the festival possible!
Bearskin Airlines http://www.bearskinairlines.com/

The City Of Thunder Bay Environment Division
http://www.thunderbay.ca/City_Government/Departments/Infrastructure_and_Operations/Environment.htm

The Thunder Bay Public Library  http://www.tbpl.ca/
And last but not least, our many small businesses whose support we are extremely grateful for:

In Common – Food, Drink and Social Affairs
Mallon’s Corporate Impressions
International House of Tea
Bay Credit Union
Peartree Bakery
Lincoln St. Eatery
Fireweed Gifts
Rooster’s Bistro
The Mystic Garden
Matt Carr Repair
Both Hands Pizzeria & Bakery

Queen of Katwe

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Queen of Katwe
Showtime: April 20, 2017 6:30 pm
Director: Mira Nair
Cast:  Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o
Runtime: 12o minutes
Language: English
Rating: G
Admission: Members $6 Non-members $9

African-American Film Critics Association (Top Ten Films); Women’s Film Critics Awards (Best Family Film)

17 other nominations

“Directed by the great Mira Nair, the film hits you like a shot in the heart. Nyong’o and Oyelowo are both extraordinary, giving newcomer Nalwanga a chance to shine as Phiona grows into her own woman.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Queen of Katwe offers an inspirational take on the unlikely real-life glory of Ugandan chess champ Phiona Mutesi. This triumph-of-the-human spirit tale surpasses the pitfalls of this genre with outstanding acting, deft filmmaking choices and the casting of new talent, Madina Nalwanga.

The story begins in 2007, with the film’s quiet heroine Phiona (Nalwanga) selling corn on the streets of capital city Kampala, trying to help her single mother (Lupita Nyong’o) make ends meet for the family. Theirs is a ramshackle existence in the Katwe slums.

As part of a sports outreach program run by a local teacher (David Oyelowo), Phiona takes an interest in chess and soon demonstrates unusual skill, soundly defeating her mocking boyish peers. She proves to be a natural albeit unlikely chess prodigy.

Quickly winning smaller competitions, Phiona and her teacher head to national events and then to global tournaments. Her rise is not smooth, however, as the young prodigy must learn to adapt to major challenges in her path.

Nalwanga exudes charisma and captures the emotions of a reserved teenage girl. Oyelowo exudes kindness but also a disciplining demeanor, teaching his young charge not only about chess strategies but life in general.

Director Nair invigorates the chess-playing scenes with exciting montages, quick edits and close-ups conveying intense concentration. Solid casting and sure-handed direction proves to be a winning formula for Queen of Katwe.

Thank you our sponsors Lovely Body and the Sleeping Giant Folk Music Society

http://www.lovelybody.ca

http://www.sleepinggiant.ca/home

 

 

Chevalier

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Chevalier Greece
Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari
Cast: Giannis Drakopoulos, Kostas Filippoglou, Yiorgos Kendros
Runtime: 99 minutes
Showtime: April 30th 2:30 PM
Language: Greek with English Subtitles
Rating: 14A

Hellenic Film Academy Awards: Best Film, Director, Screenplay; London Film
Festival: Best Film; Sarajevo Film Festival: Best Actor (cast), Special Jury Mention
Two other wins, 16 nominations.

“The film is made watchable by a strong cast that renders the men’s vulnerability particularly sympathetic.”—Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail

Men! We’re awful, aren’t we? That’s the general theme of Chevalier, a spiky, witty, occasionally unsettling black comedy set on a not-quite-luxury yacht somewhere off the Greek coast. That’s where six fairly wealthy guys – not so much friends as loosely connected business associates and family members – have gathered to dive, jet-ski, play parlour games and bicker about who’s best at spear-fishing.

But as boredom sets in, the most confident of the bunch, Yorgos (Panos Koronis), suggests a new game: to find out who’s best. Not at any one thing, but in general: who’s the best man here. And so begins the weirdest pissing contest ever, as everything from sleeping position to stone-skimming to (inevitably) penis size becomes a competitive sport. The prize is a chevalier, a golden ring (but note that the title hints at a 1950 film called Le Chevalier de Bacchus, which translates as The Big Hangover.)

Director Athina Rachel Tsangari keeps things brisk, maintaining an almost nature-doc distance from her subjects. Her affection for them is plain, but that doesn’t mean she lets them off the hook, mining big laughs from the awkward everyday interactions between unhappy people forced to share the same space. One could find underlying ideas about the Greek ruling class and their isolation from reality. Or you could just go for the macho posturing, ego-puncturing and art-house dick jokes. Men will be boys, whether in Vegas or on the high seas.

The Salesman

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The Salesman Iran
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Babak Karimi
Runtime: 125 minutes
Showtime: April 30th 7:15 PM
Language: Persian with English Subtitles
Rating: PG

Academy Awards: Best Foreign Language Film; Cannes Film Festival:
Best Actor, Best Screenplay; National Board of Review: Best Foreign Language
Film. Four other international awards, 18 nominations.

“It’s another of the director’s analytical but deeply empathetic films about modern Iranian society and what separates men from women and the government from its people.”—David Edelstein, New York Magazine

In his movies, Asghar Farhadi has the rare ability to take seemingly ordinary situations and build a web of intrigue and suspense around them. Such is the case with The Salesman.

Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) are a married couple who work with a local theatre group in Tehran, appearing in Death of a Salesman. One day, they are forced to re-locate after their apartment building collapses. A colleague suggests a place, but neglects to tell them about the woman who formerly occupied the apartment. Bad karma seems to permeate their new living quarters. One night Rana is attacked while taking a shower, which leads to a domino-like sequence of unpredictable events.

Even-tempered Ernad turns detective, then vigilante, while Rama fears repercussions in light of Iran’s strict theocratic rules of behaviour for women.

Farhadi explores the dark side of his culture, especially involving male pride and the consequences of taking revenge. Discomfort is acute at every turn. This is Farhadi’s specialty, and The Salesman holds us in its grip from start to finish. It leaves us with the lingering question, “What would I do in a situation like this?”

Shooting in almost documentary-style fashion, Farhadi turns the mundane into the momentous. The message of the movie is how quickly civility can slip, along with the ground that suddenly becomes unstable, before your very eyes.

Thank you to our sponsor Atwood Labine Law Office

http://www.atwoodlaw.ca/

The Other Half

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The Other Half Canada
Director: Joey Klein
Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Suzanne Clément, Tom Cullen
Showtime: April 30th 7:00 PM
Runtime: 103 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Canadian Screen Awards, Best Actress: Tatiana Maslany. Three other nominations.

“Maslany and Cullen have been praised extensively (and justly) for their work here in festival reviews and across the trades; no less excellent…are the performances of the film’s supporting players.”—Calum Marsh, National Post

Set unapologetically in Toronto – Queen West, to be specific – Joey Klein’s The Other Half is an intense romance starring real-life couple Tom Cullen and Tatiana Maslany as a haunted man and a bipolar woman who find refuge in each other.

It’s an impressionistic, experiential drama, situating us with its characters in bars and clubs and rooms and beds and letting us see how they are together as they find comfort and strength in each other’s broken places.

Writer/director Klein and his stars aren’t aiming for twinkly manic-pixie redemption clichés; they can’t be anything other than real. Klein gives Cullen and Maslany the space to burrow deeply into their tormented characters and connect without much dialogue. And the trust they have in each other as performers is remarkable.

Cullen is quietly terrific as a man who’s spent so much time locking away his feelings that he’s overwhelmed by their resurgence, and Maslany is ferocious in her award-winning performance as the mercurial, unstable lover with whom he can find balance.

Maslany is always impressive, and Orphan Black regularly showcases her versatility, but The Other Half lets you see the full breadth of her talent in a single performance. And that is something to behold.

Thank you to our sponsor the Canadian Mental Health Association

http://www.cmha-tb.on.ca

Marguerite

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Marguerite France
Director: Xavier Giannoli
Cast: Catherine Frot, André Marcon, Michel Fau
Runtime: 129 minutes
Showtime: April 30th 4:30 PM
Language: English, Italian, French with English Subtitles
Rating: 18A, brief nudity

César Awards, France: Best Actress (Catherine Frot), Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound; Lumiere Awards, France; Best Actress; Venice Film
Festival, Special Mention Award, Xavier Giannoli; thirteen other international nominations.

“Frot’s performance, as a woman so caught up in the joy of music that she doesn’t quite understand how bad she is, is particularly delightful, and often quite moving.”—Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times

Marguerite provides a point of comparison to Meryl Streep’s Florence Foster Jenkins, the infamous society woman of the 1930s and 40s who loved to sing classical music and did it badly. The American film is biographical while Marguerite is an imagining inspired by Jenkins and set in 1920s France.

The success of Marguerite hinges on the viewers’ ability to empathize with rather than laugh at the title character as played by Catherine Frot, a wealthy baroness whose sweet, sad-eyed face reflects innocence and a kind of purity that is completely at odds with her wildly off-key performance. Strangers might laugh at the sounds that emanate from her larynx, but she is surrounded by friends, servants, recipients of her generosity, and a husband who no longer loves her but will do everything in his power to keep her from being ridiculed.

Co-writer/director Xavier Giannoli captures the audience with this touching portrait and populates the film with colourful and interesting characters: a mysterious butler/valet reminiscent of Eric von Stroheim in Sunset Boulevard, a talented young singer whose glorious voice is everything Marguerite’s is not, and a former opera star who is reduced to tutoring a talent-free woman whose heart is in the right place.

Marguerite is a poignant, affecting and comedic film that lingers on the mind, along with Frot’s glowing performance. There is more reason than ever to seek out high-quality imports such as this.

Thank you to our sponsor Don Skochinski of RBC Dominion Securites

http://ca.rbcwealthmanagement.com/don.skochinski/home

The Eagle Huntress

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The Eagle Huntress Mongolia/UK/USA
Director: Otto Bell
With: Daisy Ridley, Aisholpan, Rys Nurgaiv
Runtime: 87 minutes
Showtime: April 30th,   2:20 PM
Language: Kazakh (with English Subtitles)
Rating: G

Denver International Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival,
Palm Springs International Film Festival: Best Documentary Feature

“The Eagle Huntress…offers inspiration in equal measure, taking the audience on a beautiful, thrilling journey to a part of the world that is till largely inaccessible.”—Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Girl power soars on the wings of eagles in the stunning The Eagle Huntress. Set in mountainous western Mongolia the documentary tells the story of 13-year-old Aisholpan Nurgaiv, who is determined to push past generations of male-dominated tradition to become an eagle hunter.

Family encouragement — especially from her father, from a long line of eagle hunters — combines with Aisholpan’s strength and confidence as this remarkable girl masters the centuries-old, sacred skill of capturing and training a massive golden eagle as a hunting partner.

She’s fearless in scaling a cliff to steal an eaglet to train (she also dotes on her), or riding across the frigid steppe on horseback, calling her 10-kilogram hunting partner to return to her arm with a crow-like caw.

Her goal is to be the first woman to take part in the annual Golden Eagle Festival in the Mongolian provincial capital of Olgii, an event that her father has won twice and in which she and her bird, named Akkatnat (or White Wings), will compete against some 70 older, more experienced men. The sequences showing eagles soaring from mountaintops responding their masters’ calls are breath-taking.

The most impressive thing about The Eagle Huntress is who Aisholpan is. Hardworking, intrepid, cheerful, uncomplaining and excited by new challenges, she is not only a role model for young girls, but an exemplar for all of us, whether we plan on hunting with eagles or not.

Thank you to our film sponsor, Grant Thornton

http://www.grantthornton.ca

Burn Your Maps

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Burn Your Maps USA
Director: Jordan Roberts
Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Vera Farmiga, Virginia Madsen, Marton Csokas
Runtime: 102 minutes
Showtime: April 30th 12:00 PM
Language: English
Rating: PG

“Burn Your Maps is bound to move even the most cynical of viewers.”—Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Burn Your Maps is a charming adventure story filled with drama, humour, universal truths, and—Mongolian goats.

After suffering a terrible tragedy, married couple Alise (Vera Farmiga) and Connor (Marton Csokas) struggle to maintain family stability. When their eight-year-old son, Wes (Jacob Tremblay), takes his school research project on Mongolia very seriously, they are naturally supportive. But soon, Wes becomes convinced that he actually is a Mongolian goat herder, and can even name the village where he belongs.

Wes befriends Ismail (Suraj Sharma), a genial Indian immigrant and videographer who accepts the child’s assertion without question. The two of them decide that Wes must go to Mongolia, and that Ismail will make a documentary about it.

Alise and Connor are divided over how to respond to their son. In a bid to heal herself by indulging her son, Alise agrees to travel with Wes and Ismal to Mongolia. They come across a ‘retired’ nun (Virginia Masden) and a Puerto-Rican driver/guide from New York (Ramon Rodriguez) who plays Salsa music as they ride through some photogenic locations. Eventually, dad reluctantly joins them. An encounter with some Mongolian elders finally leads the family to confront their troubles.

Farmiga is in good form as the supportive albeit wounded mom. Young Tremblay shows that Room was no fluke, affecting and endearing. Burn Your Maps is a story with many twists and turns, and it ventures into some uncharted territories of the heart.

Thank you to our sponsor Thunder Bay Care IDA Pharmacy

http://thunderbaypharmacy.ca/

Searchers (Maliglutit)

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Maliglutit aka Searchers Canada
Director: Zacharias Kunuk, Natar Ungalaaq
Cast: Benjamin Kunuk, Karen Ivalu, Jonah Qunaq
Runtime: 94 minutes
Showtime: April 30th 12:05 PM
Language: Inuktitut with English Subtitles
Rating: 14A

Toronto International Film Festival Nomination: Platform Prize

“The combination of icy landscapes, practical details about dog teams, igloo building and raw meat, and a simple tale built around love of family, is compelling.”—Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail

A striking reinterpretation of John Ford’s classic 1956 western, Zacharias Kunuk’s Searchers (Maliglutit) has been relocated from the American West to the frozen North. And, of course, it’s told from a radically different perspective.

Set in 1913, Searchers follows an Inuk man named Kuanana (Benjamin Kunuk) who returns from a hunt to discover his village has been raided and his wife and daughter abducted. Assembling a small posse of fellow hunters, Kuanana sets out to rescue his family or avenge them, depending on what he finds.

The material is culturally relevant and the mirror-image storytelling ingenious. But this would be little more than a thought experiment if the filmmaking weren’t so immediate and compelling.

As in his breakthrough epic Atanarjuat aka Fast Runner, Kunuk – working once again with co-director Natar Ungalaaq and co-editor Norman Cohn – uses the tundra to powerful effect in expansive widescreen frames that dwarf his characters amidst their merciless environment.

An opening track from Tanya Tagaq sets an eerie tone of lurking malice. Dialogue is minimal, and faces are shrouded within fur hoods or hidden behind beards caked with ice. ¬Motivation is simple: survive or die.

Indeed, in its last third Searchers is almost a silent film, its images packed with almost mythic intensity. It’s taking place 100 years ago, but it could just as easily be 1,000.

Thank you to our sponsor Halfway Motors Nissan

http://halfwaymotors.com/

Swiss Army Man

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Swiss Army Man USA
Director: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Runtime: 95 minutes
Showtime: April 30th 10:15 AM
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Sundance Film Festival: Best Directors, Kwan & Scheinert; Catalonian International Film
Festival: Best Feature-Length Film. Four other wins, 20 other international nominations.

“Swiss Army Man is crazy, magical, absurd, funny, sad, creepy – all that and probably more.”—Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

Swiss Army Man tells the rather inexplicable story of a shipwrecked man (Paul Dano’s Hank) who stumbles upon a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe’s Manny) and discovers that it’s somehow responsive. Thus begins the oddball friendship that ensues between the extremely mismatched pair.

Swiss Army Man is one of the most overtly oddball films to emerge in quite some time. Filmmakers Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert demonstrate a knack for engaging cinematic weirdness.

The narrative is infused with unexpectedly potent bursts of emotion with the increasingly compelling bond between the two protagonists heightened by an emphasis on impressively cinematic set-pieces and sequences.

Like an innocent newborn, Manny has no memory of his previous life, and Hank provides him with life lessons, running the gamut from love and sex to loneliness and death. Their interaction is punctuated—literally—for Manny’s penchant for flatulence which proves at times to have some practical applications that, among other talents, somehow enhances their very basic living conditions.

The movie’s high point is a dazzling interlude in which Hank attempts to jog Manny’s memory by replicating a pivotal bus ride.

From there, Swiss Army Man, anchored by its incredible lead performances, entertainingly makes its way through a second half that’s often captivating with the hilariously off-the-wall conclusion cementing the movie’s place as a singularly conceived and executed piece of work.

Thank you to our sponsors Fox on The Run Lunch & Coffee Bar & new Burger Bar

http://foxontherun.ca/

Things to Come

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Things to Come (L’Avenir) France
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, André Marcon, Roman Kolinka
Runtime: 100 minutes
Showtime: April 30th 10:00 AM
Language: French & German, with English subtitles
Rating: 14A

Berlin International Film Festival, Bucharest International Film Festival: Best Director. Boston Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Awards, London Critics Circle Film Awards, Best Actress, Isabelle Huppert. Three other wins, 21 nominations.

“A film whose subtle satisfactions very much sneak up on you.”—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Time

Things to Come avoids the familiar trappings that undermine so many contemporary films. There is little melodrama and very few incidents as such. It is simply about one woman’s life and it’s a spellbinding experience.

The great Isabelle Huppert offers another magnetic performance about a woman facing a barrage of changes and losses.

Huppert plays Nathalie, a philosophy professor who has a comfortable life and a successful career. However, she suddenly undergoes setbacks that could shatter anyone’s life. Her mother needs assisted living. Nathalie’s children grow up and move out. Her husband leaves her for his younger mistress. Her publishers ditch her philosophy textbook in favor of something flashier.

Yet Nathalie allows herself almost no self-pity. She visits the countryside where her protégé Fabien lives in an anarchist cheese-making collective. She tends to her mother’s fat, housebound cat. She visits the family’s beach house one last time to collect her things. She carries on.

This is not the typical Hollywood female-midlife-crisis movies where women have to undergo physical and geographical extremes to get their groove back. Nathalie has her books, her work and her own mind to see her through.

Hansen-Løve isn’t out to push our buttons; while other filmmakers feel the need to italicize, here’s a director who trusts audiences to pay attention, to understand, and most importantly, to savor.

It’s Only the End of the World

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It’s Only the End of the World Canada
Showtime: Thursday, April 27 8:30 pm
Director: Xavier Dolan
Cast: Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard
Runtime: 95 minutes
Language: French with English subtitles
Rating: PG

Cannes Film Festival: Grand Prize of the Jury; Grand Prize of the Ecumenical Jury; Hamburg Film Festival: Best Feature; César Awards: Best Director, Editing, Actor (Gaspard Ulliel). One other win, 14 nominations.

“…it’s unnerving to see Dolan corral some of France’s finest actors… in a maze of tightening close-ups, as they navigate a dense, claustrophobic script that doesn’t try to escape its theatrical origins.” Brian D. Johnson, Maclean’s Magazine

Based on Jean-Luc Legarce’s play, It’s Only the End of the World is about Louis, (Gaspard Ulliel) a writer suffering from a terminal illness, who returns to the hometown he quit 12 years earlier to break the bad news to his neglected family: mother Martine (Nathalie Baye), sister Suzanne (Léa Seydoux), older brother Antoine (Vincent Cassel) and Antoine’s wife Catherine (Marion Cotillard).

But are they willing to listen? The family’s tendency to shout over each other, and to render judgments, is the reason Louis left in the first place. Louis is gay, and his family has not been a source of support.

At first, Louis is greeted back with familial warmth. However, it’s soon apparent that brusque Antoine is a cauldron of resentment, and Suzanne resents lost time with her brother. Timid Catherine tends to put her foot in her mouth, inferring that Louis and his partner couldn’t become parents because they’re gay.

It’s a movie of huge emotions. Suspense hinges on when the reticent Louis will break the news to his family, and what the reaction will be. Dolan keeps up a dizzying pace, cutting between close-ups of family members tearing into each other. There are also beautiful moments of surreal remembrances and sudden silence. There’s also a cuckoo clock that might register opinion aside for marking time.

If one is looking for intensity in acting, the search ends here.

Thank you to our sponsors Club Canadien Français de Thunder Bay

http://www.ccftb.ca/

Julieta

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Julieta Spain
Showtime: Thursday April 27th 6:30 pm
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Adriana Ugarte, Emma Suárez, Rossy de Palma, Daniel Grao
Runtime: 99 minutes
Language: Spanish (with English Subtitles)
Rating: 18A

San Diego International Film Festival: Best International Film; National Board of Review:
Top Five Foreign Films; International Cinephile Society Awards: Best Director.

“Julieta is a deeply satisfying, down-to-earth tale of grief and quiet rediscovery.”—Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight

Pedro Almodóvar first gained prominence as the bad boy of Spanish cinema, then matured with deeply-felt films like All About My Mother and Volver. At the very least,
his films are all visually engaging and provocative. Julieta is no exception.

Here, Almodóvar has woven together three short stories by Alice Munro and reset them in Madrid. Julieta is a sophisticated woman (Emma Suárez) who suddenly puts her life on hold. A chance meeting prompts her to write a long letter to her estranged daughter to explain things she never had a chance to tell her before.

This leads into a lengthy flashback where we meet the same woman, much younger (played by Adriana Ugarte) and her experiences when she encounters a man on a fateful train ride who later becomes her husband.

The film deals, in part, with secrets and how they can reverberate over the years, causing pain to the person keeping them as well as the one from whom they have been hidden.

Almodóvar injects small moments of humour along the way, partly thanks to Rossy de Palma as a gruff housekeeper. He casts his film with a keen eye: both women who play Julieta are beautiful and compelling.

Julieta doesn’t build to a crescendo, but it manages to grab you from the first scene and never loosens its grip. it’s the work of a master storyteller. Julieta is a haunting story that’s well worth seeing.

Thank you to our sponsors Giorg and Bight.

http://www.giorg.ca/

http://bightrestaurant.ca/

20th Century Women

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20th Century Women USA
Director: Mike Mills
Cast: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig
Runtime: 118 minutes
Showtime: April 23rd 7:15 PM
Language: English
Rating: 14A

National Society of Film Critics, Best Actress 2nd Place, Annette Bening; National Board
of Review: Top 10 Independent Films; Academy Award Nomination: Best Original Screenplay. Seven other wins, 64 nominations

“Ultimately, the value of 20th Century Women is that it provides Annette Bening with a prime showcase. It’s worth seeing just to watch her grapple with this challenging character.”—Leonard Maltin, leonardmaltin.com

Set in 1979 in Santa Barbara, 20th Century Women is a coming-of-age tale about Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), teen son of Dorothea (Annette Bening) a divorced single mother.
Like Beginners (with Christopher Plummer), director Mills draws on his childhood to create 20th Century Women.

Dorothea owns a huge old boarding house. Her lodgers include a hippie-ish handyman (Billy Crudup) who is helping her renovate and a feminist artist named Abbie (Greta Gerwig). Also present is Julie (Elle Fanning), a close friend of Jamie’s. She sneaks into his bedroom via scaffolding every night, but just to hang out, cuddle and talk, to Jamie’s everlasting chagrin.

A product of the Depression (seen in flashbacks), Dorothea feels a bit out of touch so she decides to enlist the help of Abbie and Julie in raising Jamie. She wants him to be a good man, well-rounded, thoughtful, and thinks these women can help. And they do, even though conflicted Dorothea sometimes comically resents their efforts.

20th Century Women is a loving study of a time and place, and Mills captures the late ‘70s perfectly. He has a good eye for period details including fashion, music and attitude. .
The movie’s big draw is Bening. Her character stays just out of reach in terms of Jamie’s emotional understanding, in the way a parent does, and her performance alone is worth the price of admission.

Thank you to our sponsor the Thunder Bay Art Gallery

http://theag.ca/

Little Men

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Little Men USA
Director: Ira Sachs
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Ehle, Paulina García, Alfred Molina
Runtime: 85 minutes
Showtime: April 23rd 7:20 PM
Language: English, Spanish
Rating: PG

Deauville Film Festival: Grand Special Prize, Ira Sachs. Thirteen other
international cinema nominations.

“By the end, Sachs has raised urgent questions about immigration, classism, gentrification, loyalty, family and nascent sexuality – but he’s done so utterly organically, via 10 square feet of city. Lovely.”—Johanna Schneller, Globe and Mail

The disruptive nature of change illuminates this latest gem from New York’s Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange), an artisan of the small gesture and quiet epiphany.

Set in a funky Brooklyn neighbourhood, the film’s generational feud — adults versus teens — is also an evolution of sorts. Brian and Kathy Jardine (Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Ehle), the married new owners of a dress shop, want to triple the rent of their seamstress tenant, a Chilean immigrant named Leonor (Gloria’s Paulina Garcia). The Jardines feel they can no longer afford the sweetheart deal allowed Leonor by their recently deceased grandfather, who deeded them the shop.

Leonor, a single mom, insists she can’t afford to pay more. The Jardines have their own pressures: Brian’s a struggling professional actor supported by Kathy, a psychotherapist. Their move from Manhattan to Brooklyn was dictated by thrift, not lifestyle.

The battling adults have 13-year-old sons, aspiring artist Jake and aspiring actor Tony, fast new friends played by newcomers Theo Taplitz and Michael Barbieri. Refusing to take sides, the teens begin a silent protest, refusing to speak until the rent dispute is settled and apologies are made.

The antagonists all make persuasive arguments. Sachs is careful not to demonize the families or trivialize their sentiments. Sachs and his fantastic cast bring wisdom and humour to the situation.

Cinematographer Oscar Duran and composer Dickon Hinchliffe make strong contributions, adding visual and sonic grace notes to a simply lovely picture.

Thank you to our sponsors Portobello Home and Sail Superior

http://portobellohome.com/

http://sailsuperior.com/

A Man Called Ove

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A Man Called Ove Sweden
Director: Hannes Holm
Cast: Rolf Lassgård, Zozan Akgün, Tobias Almborg
Runtime: 116 minutes (program is incorrect)
Showtime: April 23rd 4:40 PM
Language: Swedish, Persian with English Subtitles
Rating: PG

Seattle International Film Festival: Best Actor, Best Film (3rd place); European Film Awards: Best European Comedy; Academy Award Nominations: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Make-up. Ten other awards, 19 nominations.

“A Man Called Ove” starts out gruff and unlikable….Then it opens up and becomes something of an epic about ordinary life, touching, funny and engrossing.”—Tom Long, Detroit News

A Man Called Ove quite movingly hits all the required notes with its story of a grouchy guy who turns out to have a heart of gold and a past worth sighing over.

Writer/director Hannes Holm is working from a popular novel by Fredrik Backman.
The expressive Rolf Lassgård (After the Wedding) plays title grumpster, Ove. Old beyond his 59 years, Ove wants people off his lawn. He’s also become an annoying neighbourhood watchdog.

He is clearly an unhappy man. Newly laid off and recently widowed, he’s making typically best-laid plans to take his own life. He wants to be reunited with his late wife Sonja (Ida Engvoll), who is seen in numerous happier-day flashbacks where Filip Berg plays the younger and sweeter Ove.

Suicide attempts become comic through constant interruptions from the neighbours, especially Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), an immigrant from Iran expecting her third child with her clueless hubby Patrick. Parvaneh needs help with her restless kids and she’s also eager to learn how to drive, while clueless at it.

Maybe Ove could assist? And could he also look after a stray cat, the one with beseeching eyes? A Hollywood re-make beckons but in this version of A Man Called Ove, all the tears and smiles are earned.

Thank you to our sponsor Allure Medispa

http://alluremedispa.com/

Weirdos

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Weirdos Canada
Director: Bruce McDonald
Cast: Dylan Authors, Allan Hawco, Molly Parker, Julia Sarah Stone
Runtime: 84 minutes
Showtime: April 23rd 5:00 PM
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Vancouver Film Critics Circle, Canadian Screen Awards Nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Molly Parker); Berlin International Film Festival Nomination: Best Film

“Veteran director Bruce McDonald brings a light touch to theatre great Daniel MacIvor’s presumably autobiographical tale of young teens getting ready to leave rural Cape Breton in 1976.”—Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight

Bruce McDonald (NOSFA presentations, Hard Core Logo, Dance Me Outside) describes his lovely new film Weirdos as a running-away-from-home movie, as a “to be 15 years old” movie, as a blossoming sexuality movie, as a “remember the 70s” movie, as a road movie, as a love-story movie. It is all of those things, and a bit more.

The film is written by playwright Daniel MacIvor, and is shot handsomely in black and white by cinematographer Becky Parsons who captures melancholic beauty in her low contrast black-and-white images of the Maritimes.

The story is set in the breezy summer of 1976, Weirdos follows teenagers Kit (Dylan Authors) and Alice (Julia Sara Stone) from Antigonish, Nova Scotia to Sydney (a mere 200 miles, but it is a small road movie), where notions of glamorous freedom, a high-school beach party and Kit’s elegantly manic mother (a sublime Molly Parker) await. Kit’s “spirit animal” Andy Warhol makes an appearance, musing that Canadians are “weirdos” – but in a good way.

The soundtrack is early Cancon, featuring Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan and other artists who stayed home. And when a television murmurs with American bicentennial hoopla, a Cambodian refugee tells New York-dreaming Kit that it’s “not your parade.” Weirdos is a coming-of-age story, for a country. McDonald waves a freak flag. It has a leaf.

Thank you to our sponsor of Weirdos – Red Lion Smokehouse

http://www.redlionsmokehouse.ca/

Paterson

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Paterson USA
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani
Runtime: 118 minutes
Showtime: April 23rd, 2:15 PM
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Toronto Film Critics Association Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Best Actor; Cannes Film Festival: Palme Dog; three other wins, 26 nominations.

“Jarmusch, who made supernatural vampires seem human in Only Lovers Left Alive, now finds inspiration in the mundane.”—Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Paterson presents an alternate style of moviemaking, in which director Jim Jarmusch salutes a life with a refreshing lack of drama.
Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in Paterson, NJ, a coincidence about which he good-naturedly endures comments he’s clearly heard before. He drives, he lives with his wife and their dog, and every so often he writes poetry — simple but profound lines of verse based on his everyday life. He straightens his leaning mailbox when he arrives home from work. He goes to the bar on his nightly walk with the dog and has a single beer with a roomful of close acquaintances. .

There is an honesty and realism to Adam Driver’s performances that work well in the part of a blue-collar poet who feels no need to court the spotlight — even when his wife Laura (the captivating Golshifteh Farahani) insists he should try to publish. The artsy, slightly flighty Laura is an opposite force to Paterson’s rock-solidness, always in motion, constantly chasing her life dream of the moment.

But again, Jarmusch doesn’t present this as a problem to be solved; it’s just an intertwining of lives, the way lives often really are: imperfect, occasionally maddening, ultimately poetic, in an utterly individual way.

Thank you to sour sponsor Lakehead University Department of English

https://www.lakeheadu.ca/academics/departments/english

River of My Dreams

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The River of My Dreams:
A Portrait of Gordon Pinsent
Canada
Director: Brigitte Berman
Cast: Norman Jewison, Gordon Pinsent, Christopher Plummer
Runtime: 104 minutes
Showtime: April 23rd 11:45 AM
Language: English
Rating: G

“The result is a fluidly told yarn about an artist of the national-treasure kind.”—Brad
Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Bio-pics sometime carry a deadening stigma but such is not the case with River of My Dreams, a lively and engaging look at Newfoundlander Gordon Pinsent, the multi-talented actor, painter, writer and born raconteur.

Director Brigitte Berman (Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got) uses animated flashbacks and recollections of family members and colleagues to chronologically unspool the life and career of a man whose artful doings have become part of the Canadian cultural landscape.

Still sharp of mind, Pinsent provides mellifluous narration and resonant ‘non-showoffy’ quoting of Keats, Shakespeare and Lewis Carroll. Offering amusing and insightful anecdotes are Mary Walsh, critic Richard Ouzounian, director Norman Jewison (who directed Pinsent in The Thomas Crown Affair). Best is Christopher Plummer, who, upon being pestered by the ‘whippersnapper’ at the Stratford Festival, promptly told him to “f— off.” They later became friends.

Pinsent’s recollections (particularly on actress Charmion King, his second wife) are amusing and poignant as are the remembrances of reconciliation among his adult children from his two marriages. Pinsent doesn’t shy away from blemishes in his personal life.

Aside from clips of his work on TV and film work, we see what a Renaissance man he is. Pinsent paints and writes very moving poetry. “I never really believed I was that great at anything,” he says at one point, and in spite of all evidence to the contrary, we believe him.

Thank you to our sponsor Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centres

http://www.thunderbay.ca

Last Cab to Darwin

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Australia
Director: Jeremy Sims
Cast: Michael Caton, Ningali Lawford, Mark Coles Smith
Runtime: 123 minutes
Showtime: April 23rd 2:20 PM
Rating: 14A

Australian Film Institute: Best Lead Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay; Film Critics of
Australia Awards: Best Actor (Michael Caton), Best Supporting Actor (Mark Coles Smith)

“Great performances … elevate the film from merely likable to poignantly satisfying.” – Bruce Demara, Toronto Star

Screenwriter Reg Cribb and writer-director Jeremy Sims have adapted Last Cab to Darwin from Cribb’s stage play. It’s an effective pictorial mood-setter, with blood-red desert sunsets and golden-hour river swims, showcasing a career-high performance from Michael Caton.

Caton plays taxi-driving Reg, who has never left the dried-up mining town of Broken Hill, in New South Wales, nor has he ever started a family. So there’s no one to consult when his stomach cancer is found too late to save him. Sure, there’s his neighbour Polly (Rabbit-Proof Fence’s Ningali Lawford-Wolf), an Aboriginal woman he sometimes shares a bed with, although he keeps this a secret from his mates at the local pub.

When Reg hears about a doctor up north who’s fighting for the rights of sick people to die with dignity, he cleans up his cab and heads for Darwin. Along the way, he hooks up with a handsome young, mixed-race drifter called Tilley (movie-stealing Mark Coles Smith) who, despite being quite trouble-prone himself, helps Reg navigate the indigenous reaches of central Australia. How handy to run into a beautiful English nurse (The Tudors’ Emma Hamilton) before hitting Darwin.

Earthy, engaging performances and its sense of humanity carry Last Cab to Darwin. The cab ride is worth the fare. That acoustic-guitar score is mighty nice, too.

Thank you to our sponsor Lifestyle Insurance Services Ltd.

http://lifestyleins.ca/

The Red Turtle

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Director: Michael Dudok de Wit
Showtime April 23rd, 12:15 PM
Runtime: 80 minutes
Language: None
Rating: G

Athens International Film Festival: Best Film, Special Mention, Director Michael Dudok; Cannes Film Festival: Un Certain Regard; San Francisco Film Critics Circle: Best Animated Feature

Entirely wordless, yet saying so much, The Red Turtle begins as a familiar Robinson Crusoe adventure, about a shipwrecked man who washes up on a remote island populated only by birds, crabs and turtles who already call the isle home.

He’s able to forage for food and fashions rudimentary shelter out of natural materials at hand, a task that risks death from accident, animal attack or the merciless force of wind and waves. He also builds a raft out of the bamboo he painstakingly collects from the island’s abundant forests, in the hope of escaping his paradise prison.

The only thing he can’t create is companionship, and that’s where the title reptile comes in. He encounters the giant beast while attempting to paddle away and at first it seems he’s about to become prey. Something altogether different ensues as the story takes a distinct turn toward the surreal and the heart is lifted.

Informed by legends of both the East and West, the film invites us to contemplate humanity’s connections to the natural world and the realm of the spirit.

The Red Turtle is also a joy to listen to, as well as to watch. Composer Laurent Perez Del Mar contributes a strings-laden score that signals both danger and delight. It’s another integral part of a rapturous film that beckons us to watch and to think, again and again.

Jean of the Joneses

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Director: Stella Meghie
Cast: François Arnaud, Gloria Reuben, Anna Hopkins, Sherri Shepherd
Runtime: 82 minutes
Showtime: April 23rd, 10:00 AM
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Canada Screen Awards Nomination: Best Supporting Actress, Sherri Shepherd
Zurich Film Awards Nomination: Best International Feature Film

“Highly visually controlled, snappily edited, and beautifully acted, Jean of the Joneses is a clever New York comedy about the Caribbean diaspora.”—Sean L. Malin, Austin Chronicle

Jean of the Joneses is a crisply urbane comedy from first-time writer-director Stella Meghie, boasting a sparkling lead performance by Taylour Paige. Meghie’s assured debut, which entertainingly exposes the deeply buried secrets and lies within a multi-generational Jamaican-American family of indomitable women, is astutely observed and highly relatable.

Paige plays the professionally and emotionally adrift Jean Jones, a blocked writer struggling to make good on her promising first novel while taking a “break” from her once-sturdy relationship with her boyfriend.

Seeking sanctuary in the supposedly nurturing arms of her family isn’t the best idea, given that her physician sister Anne (Erica Ash) has her own issues—she just discovered she’s pregnant with a fellow doctor’s child—while classy sister Janet (Gloria Reuben) is going through a very messy divorce.

Then a man who drops dead on the doorstep of no-nonsense grandmother Daphne’s (Michelle Hurst) Harlem brownstone turns out to have been her long-lost grandfather, a revelation that rips the lid off all manner of long-held secrets and resentments.

Meghie garners some terrific performances from her talented ensemble which also includes Sherri Shepherd as Jean’s sympathetic mom and Mamoudo Athie as a bemused paramedic who tries to pick up Jean in the back of an ambulance. But it’s Paige who shines brightest here, dispensing just the right, gently jaded mix of dry wit and affecting vulnerability.

Thank you to Harbourview Optometry Centre for sponsoring this film.

https://www.harbourviewoptometry.ca/

Hello, Destroyer

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Director: Kevan Funk
Cast: Jared Abrahamson, Sara Canning, Kurt Max Runte, Ian Tracey
Showtime: April 23, 2017 9:45 AM
Runtime: 110 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Vancouver Critics Circle: Best Canadian Film, Best Director of a Canadian Film,
Best Actor in a Canadian Film (Jared Abrahamson), Best Supporting Actor in a
Canadian Film (Kurt Max Runte), Best British Columbia Film. Two other wins, six
other nominations.

For those who may have seen Youngblood or Slap Shot—Hello, Destroyer isn’t like those, not by a long shot. Canadian director Kevan Funk’s first feature film is a moody look at the side of sport nobody likes to talk about.

A rookie hockey player for the Prince George Warriors, Tyson Burr (Jared Abrahamson) is taught in an almost boot-camp manner how to be a good teammate and a relentless warrior. However, when he severely injures an opposing player with his overaggressive play, he’s ruthlessly abandoned by his team. He goes home and finds work in a slaughterhouse, a metaphor for the meat-on-the-hoof harshness of how athletes can be treated. More’s the pity, as he is otherwise a soft-spoken, nice enough fellow

The film has the feel of a documentary, with sparse, seemingly semi-scripted dialogue creating an almost unsettling intimacy. Jared Abrahamson is very effective as the inarticulate and introverted mucker who struggles to express his frustrations. When he’s discarded by his team and everyone else, he broods and pulls his hoodie low – not as a tough guy, but a shy, lonely and vulnerable one.

This isn’t a traditional hockey film. In a sense, it’s not a hockey film at all. Hello Destroyer shoots for more: A story of alienation and of youth rudely interrupted and lost in the machine.

 

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The Red Violin

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Canada 1999 Drama/Music/Mystery
Director: François Girard
Cast: Greta Scacchi, Samuel L. Jackson, Colm Feore, Don McKellar, Sandra Oh, Sylvia Chang
Please note location change for this film
Showtime: 6:00 PM
Location: Maple Tops Theatre, 24 Court St South
Admission: FREE

For the Canada 150 Reel Film Celebrations, the NOSFA membership has chosen an iconic favourite – The Red Violin. Oscar winner for best Music – original score

There is a kind of ideal beauty that reduces us all to yearning for perfection. “The Red Violin” is about that yearning. It traces the story of a violin (“the single most perfect acoustical machine I’ve ever seen,” says a restorer) from its maker in 17th century Italy to an auction room in modern Montreal. The violin passes from the rich to the poor, from Italy to Poland to England to China to Canada. It produces music so beautiful that it makes you want to cry. “The Red Violin” has the kind of sweep and vision that we identify with elegant features from decades ago–films that followed a story thread from one character to another.

The film is easy to follow, and yet reveals its secrets slyly. The story of the violin is a series of stories involving the people who own it over a period of 300 years. Then there is another story, hinted at, slowly revealing itself, involving an expert evaluator of instruments (Samuel L. Jackson). He is the person who proves that this is indeed Bussotti’s famous red violin and solves the mystery of its color. He is also perhaps the person best equipped to appreciate how rare and wonderful the instrument is–but, like many passionate connoisseurs, he lacks the wealth to match his tastes. His plans for the instruments supply a suspenseful ending to a movie that has already given us just about everything else. Roger Ebert, 1999

The Dressmaker

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April 6, 2017

Location: SilverCity
Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Cast: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Liam Hemsworth
Runtime: 118 minutes
Rating: 14A

“Kate Winslet as sexy femme fatale with a wicked pair of shears is a lot of fun. As her mum “Mad” Molly, Judy David triumphs.”—James Verniere, Boston Herald

Australian Film Critics Awards: Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay; 11 other wins, 39 nominations.

In the wonderfully odd Australian revenge tale The Dressmaker, Kate Winslet is a wild-card clothier who shows up in her home town to settle a childhood score.

From the opening scene where Winslet haughtily swaggers into view like a character in a spaghetti western, dragging a cigarette and seething “I’m back, you bastards,” as she pulls up into the outback town of Dungatar, The Dressmaker is off to the races.

And what a strange race it turns out to be.

Winslet plays Tilly, who left town many years ago with a dark secret. She arrives home, wielding her sewing machine like a shotgun, and begins taking care of her dotty mother (Judy Davis), who lives in squalor atop the town’s hill.

Among the townspeople with whom she crosses paths are a cross-dressing cop (Hugo Weaving) and a handsome young footballer (Liam Hemsworth). They become part of her plot to discover her past, as she gives many in town a stunning makeover along the way.

Director Jocelyn Moorhouse fashions The Dressmaker as a bizarre little ode to her Australian homeland. The slapstick comedy breaks out very quickly, and so does some very, very black humour. The script (based on Rosalie Ham’s novel), takes a few extra turns rather than coming to a clean stop.

But director Moorhouse gleefully blends laughter and shocks. She works with a scalpel — the characters, the one-liners, and, of course, the costumes are shaped with precision.

Winslet is allowed to flex her seldom-utilized humour muscles, and she’s a barnburner in a fun, juicy role.
Davis, Weaving, and Hemsworth provide welcome support in a cast of outcasts, crackpots, and gossipy fussbudgets.

The Dressmaker offers a wild ride for the audience.

Denial

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February 16, 2017

Denial   UK/USA

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:30 pm

Director: Mick Jackson
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall
Runtime: 110 minutes
Language: English

Rating: PG

“Another illuminating performance by Rachel Weisz and a brilliant screenplay by the distinguished British playwright David Hare make Denial one of the most powerful and riveting courtroom dramas ever made.” —Rex Reed,

New York Observer

Best Film of the Year Nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards; Best Supporting Actor Nominations, Timothy Spall, Denver Film Critics Society

Denial is a true-life account of historian Deborah Lipstadt’s (Rachel Weisz) battle with Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall), who sues her for libel after characterizing him as such in a book she wrote.

It’s amazing to think that in the 21st century anyone could possibly deny the Holocaust happened but such was the case 10 years ago when a major court battle was fought in London where Lipstadt, a Jewish-American historian, was forced by British libel laws to prove the Holocaust actually happened..

Lipstadt’s battle with Irving, a self-taught historian known for his passionate defenses of Hitler, is highly compelling. It’s an excellent vehicle for Weisz, cast against type as the Queens-born Lipstadt. She expertly conveys Lipstadt’s outrage at her predicament, made worse when she’s essentially muzzled by her legal team as a tactic. She smolders as her integrity is questioned while Irving argues that the systematic extermination of Europe’s Jewish population by the Nazis never happened. Weisz conveys a whole range of emotion via looks alone, and her performance is masterful.

Just as good is Timothy Spall. Playing an absolutely venal character, he’s remarkably good, never playing Irving as a madman but rather more of a pathetic figure who’s riveting to watch. The always great Tom Wilkinson plays his sparring partner, LIpstadt’s barrister, who unnerves Irving, never making eye contact with him and treating him with disdain, off-putting his fragile ego..

Director Mick Jackson (The Bodyguard, TV’s Temple Grandin) stages the to-and-fro courtroom scenes capably and generates a chilling mood with an eerily hushed visit to Auschwitz.

Denial is solid adult entertainment, well-assembled and intriguing. The acting is great, the story is true, and it is really worth checking out.

For more info:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4645330/

 

 

After the Storm

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March 30, 2017

After the Storm        Japan

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:35 pm

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Cast:  Hiroshi Abe, Yôko Maki, Taiyô Yoshizawa
Runtime: 117 minutes
Language: Japanese with English subtitles

Rating: G

“Japanese filmmaker Koreeda gently examines complex family relationships in this humane comedy by a matchless observer of everyday life.”—Paul Ennis, NOW Toronto

Best Non-USA Release, Online Film Critics Society Awards; Best Feature Nomination, Chicago International Film Festival; Un Certain Regard Nomination, Cannes Film Festival.

Hirokazu Koreeda (Like Father, Like Son) has proven himself a master at delineating the changing dynamics of Japanese family life. Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is something of a failure, but not always so. He once had high hopes, a young family and even wrote a prize-winning novel. But he’s frittered away his good luck on a gambling addiction and now works part-time as a detective, snooping on adulterous couples in order to make his child support. His ex-wife Kyoko (Yoko Maki) is losing patience and believes their 11-year-old son Shingo (Toyota Yoshizawa) might be better off without him in their life, and looks to her budding relationship with a more loudly prosperous businessman.

Ryota has an easy charm and humanity to him. His affection for his son and his fear of losing him are real but he can’t help messing up. As a last gasp, Ryota vies for Shingo’s love by taking him for a nice day out with a burger, new football boots and a trip to see Shingo’s beloved grandmother, a brilliantly warm-hearted turn from Kirin Kiki. A monsoon is on the way and the broken family might get one last chance to put itself back together. “Life is simple,” says the grandmother, pleased with herself. “I said something deep, didn’t I? Write it down. You can put that in your next novel.”
The melancholy of domestic discord is countered by the traditions of food, the warm humour of the family and the genuine love that can survive economic hardship and self-destructive behaviour.


The performances are brilliant and the script is full of delicious one-liners. A carefree but sad, whistling soundtrack comes in every now and then, hinting at a relaxed resignation that will hopefully heal into some form of mutual understanding. After the Storm is undoubtedly one of Koreeda’s best.

For more info:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5294966/

 

Two Lovers and a Bear

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January 26, 2017

Two Lovers and a Bear      Canada

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:20 pm

Director: Kim Nguyen
Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Dane DeHaan, Gordon Pinsent
Runtime: 96 minutes
Language: English

Rating: 14A; scenes of nudity

“Kim Nguyen finds raw authenticity in his location, and in the volatile chemistry between his two stars.”—Brian D. Johnson, Maclean’s Magazine

Kim Nguyen’s Two Lovers and a Bear is no ordinary love story. The film unfolds in remote, snowbound Nunavut. The movie’s unique setting and tonal surprises helps create a refreshingly compelling and unpredictable tale.

The two lovers in question are Roman (Dane DeHaan) and Lucy (Tatiana Maslany), a pair of damaged twenty-somethings. Both are haunted by the memories of their fathers. The couple finds solace in each other’s company and in the refuge their isolated town provides. However, their relationship becomes strained when Lucy receives an acceptation letter to a biology degree that requires her to move “down south”, a notion which Roman initially recoils from.

To reconnect with each other and escape their personal demons, the pair set off on snowmobiles, heading ‘down south’ into Nunavit’s snowy expanses. But things take a turn when a large snowstorm forces the pair to take shelter inside a desolate bunker where Lucy becomes literally haunted by her past.

Both DeHaan and Maslany deliver emotionally-charged performances, exuding a convincing, deep connection. There’s a real rawness and intimacy to their sex scenes, which adds another layer of authenticity to their volatile relationship.

Nguyen composes a series of captivating, tonally-diverse sequences which keep events thrillingly unpredictable. The recurring surreal run-ins with a sarcastic talking polar bear (dryly voiced by Gordon Pinsent) generate humour in the most unexpected of ways. Jesse Zubot’s unsettling, adeptly varied score smoothly facilitates these changes in tone.

The film’s final image is a poignant, beautiful and completely fitting end to the couple’s tale. In Two Lovers and a Bear, Nguyen has crafted a surprising, touching and deeply resonant love story.

 

Manchester by the Sea

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February 2, 2017

Manchester by the Sea

Drama, USA, English

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:55 pm

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Run time :137 min

Rating: R

Review by Eli Glasner, CBC

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Some we just carry with us, our faces flushed with shame when the memories surface.

Manchester by the Sea, the latest film from director Kenneth Lonergan, is about a place where regret — like the grey skies of Massachusetts — is a constant feature.

Casey Affleck stars as a man known in his hometown as “the Lee Chandler.” A fog of notoriety follows him: his head hangs, his shoulders slump under the weight. It’s why Lee’s relocated to Boston, where he works joylessly as a janitor dealing with leaky faucets, horny tenants and ending each evening in a drunken stupor.

But a phone call about his brother changes his plans.

Joe — played in flashbacks by Kyle Chandler — has died, leaving Lee as guardian of his 16-year-old son, Patrick. Lee is expected to relocate home to Manchester-by-the-Sea, move in with his nephew and wind down his brother’s fishing business.

Though he’s grieving, young Patrick’s life — as opposed to his uncle’s — is moving forward. Lucas Hedges portrays the teen as a flesh-and-blood character, juggling multiple girlfriends and a scrappy garage band. It leads to the two butting heads over Lee’s plan to relocate back to Boston.

What follows is a delicate dance with Lee struggling to adjust, while also backtracking and building up to the moment that everything changed. Emerging from the shadow of his elder brother Ben, Casey Affleck has come into his own as an intense actor: confident in his stillness, content let his searching eyes do the work. While there is a similarity in this self-defeated slacker to some of Affleck’s previous roles, Lonergan allows his star to create a portrait of pain unencumbered by the usual redemptive clichés.

With a sad, glazed expression in his eyes, there’s an aura of self-loathing that permeates Lee’s every interaction. He’s desperate to escape his past as well as this new role, which leads to some amusingly awkward moments.

mbysea1

A supporting character’s sputtered line — “We’re trying to lose some kids at this point” — underlines the strength and easy humour of Lonergan’s naturalistic dialogue. America’s obsession with the blue-collar stories of its northeastern shore continues unabated with Manchester by the Sea, but these blunt, straight-talking New Englanders certainly give the film a few moments of much needed levity.

It’s natural to expect a resolution and Manchester by the Sea teases us with possibilities. There’s a wonderfully delicate street scene where Lee bumps into his ex-wife, played by a tenacious Michelle Williams. The two engage in small talk, but you can see pain written across the worry lines of Affleck’s face.

Like much of the film, the moment is sparse and searing. Lonergan doesn’t let his characters off easy. In the end, what makes the film stand apart isn’t its authentic flavours or visceral performances, but the story’s integrity — a rare commitment to truth that deserves to be seen.

 

Love and Friendship

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January 19, 2017

Love and Friendship

Ireland/France/Netherlands

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:20 pm

Director: Whit Stillman
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Clöe Sevigny,
Language: English and French

Drama/Romance/Comedy

Rating: PG

“With his love of fine clothes and finer diction, Whit Stillman proves an unsurprisingly intuitive fit for Austen, but he also knows just how to give her pointed social satire an extra stab of wink-wink postmodern drollery without breaking the spell.” – Justin Chang, Variet

Far from their rhinestone-littered stomping grounds in The Last Days of Disco, Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny reunite with American director Whit Stillman for a zesty shot of baroque fun.

Based on an early Jane Austen novella called Lady Susan, the sardonically titled Love & Friendship gives us a delightfully detestable villain in Beckinsale’s career high, as Lady Susan Vernon. This being pre-Victorian England the only way a woman can achieve anything is through charm and conniving. And, as someone states, Susan is a “genius of the evil kind” at manipulating everyone else.

l-and-f

The only person she’s remotely straight with is her American-expat friend, Mrs. Johnson (Sevigny), but that’s mostly because the latter is so ceaselessly admiring. Plus, this allows Susan to explain her motives and strategy.

Recently widowed, she survives by rotating visits with wealthy friends and relatives, sometimes decamping in a hurry. When we meet her, she has alighted at the country estate of sister-in-law Catherine DeCourcy Vernon (Emma Greenwall). Catherine’s handsome younger brother, Reginald (Xavier Samuel), initially shares her wariness of Susan’s scorched-earth reputation, but soon after meeting the beautiful widow he’s valiantly defending her from the “vile calumnies” of others. She has a well-polished knack for turning insults back on her accusers, but is not at her best around mousy teenage daughter Frederica, played by Morfydd Clark (Pride and Prejudice, Zombies).

Stillman uses Austen as the foundation for the story and then adds some twists of his own. Silent-movie devices, on-screen typography, and Mozartian music all bring out her farcical qualities—underlined by unforgettable comic visits from Tom Bennett as “a bit of a rattle” courting reluctant Frederica. But L&F’s burnished cinematography and elegant performances offer a droll soulfulness that embodies everything we still love, and like, about Jane Austen.

Café Society

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September 29, 2016

Café Society   USA

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:40 & 8:25 pm

Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively, Parker Posey Runtime: 96 minutes
Language: English

Rating: PG

cafe-society“A sweet retro-romance set mostly in old-time Hollywood. Cast is marvelous.”—James Verniere, Boston Herald.
Woody Allen of late has been relishing the glow of nostalgia in his films. Among his recent (and more successful) forays, Midnight in Paris beautifully blended modernist impulses with his reverence for the past. More introspective in tone, Café Society sometimes resembles Radio Days in its skeptical affection for the jazz-tinged world of his parents.

The new film’s Woody surrogate is Jesse Eisenberg, a guileless yet oddly arrogant New Yorker named Bobby, making his way alone in mid-’30s Hollywood. His uncle Phil, played with shark-like precision by Steve Carell, is a big-shot agent who takes forever to lend Bobby a hand. But, more importantly, he introduces the kid to his sexy, self-assured assistant, Vonnie, Kristen Stewart, who’s good in a more supple role. She has a boyfriend who never seems to be around, and Vonnie shares Bobby’s jaded view of the studio world.

Bobby’s Left Coast adventures—narrated by the director—are intercut with scenes from the reality he left behind, represented by his comically bickering parents (Jeannie Berlin and Ken Stott) and “tough Jew” brother Ben (Corey Stoll), whose gangster ways have been keeping the family afloat during the Great Depression. Ben also runs a chi-chi nightclub, where Bobby finds some romantic competition for Vonnie in the form of Blake Lively. A sense of unfinished business hangs over them, giving this sun-dappled snow globe a bittersweet air.

The goings-on benefits greatly from its impressive cast, particularly Eisenberg who is especially strong here. The film is lightweight, charming and affable. Special mention goes to famed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, Last Tango in Paris) whose sumptuous cinematography gives Café Society moments of golden-hued enchantment.

 

 

Captain Fantastic

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September 29, 2016

Captain Fantastic   USA

Location: SilverCity

Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:40 pm

Director: Matt Ross
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, George MacKay, Kathryn Hahn
Runtime: 118 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

“Captain Fantastic leaves viewers with the cheering, deeply affecting image of a dad whose superpowers lie in simply doing the best that he can.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

cap-fantastic

Un Certain Regard Award (directing), Cannes Film Festival; Directors to Watch Award, Palm Springs International Film Festival; Best Film, Seattle International Film Festival.

 

Not to be confused with the stable of superheroes currently cramming cinema screens, Matt Ross’ Captain Fantastic is an engaging, comic family road movie. Viggo Mortensen is bearded Ben, who, along with his wife (Trin Miller) have taken their brood of six kids ‘way off the grid, living in a yurt in rural Washington.

 

The kids all have made-up names. They are trained in martial arts and rock-climbing. Their food is either hunted or grown. They read books assigned by dad, ranging from Dostoyevsky to particle physics. They have comical philosophical disputes.

 

However, when mom dies, their world is completely rocked, revealing budding fissures in the family unit. Upon learning that Jack, (Frank Langella) their mom’s father and their grandfather, is planning a Christian funeral, the appalled troupe head off in the family bus to New Mexico.

 

The oddness of the family begins to look less bizarre when compared to the freakishness that passes for 21st century American normality. A trip to a diner, a supermarket, and a tussle with a traffic policeman result in some amusing cultural conflicts. The family’s naiveté is blithely illustrated when father Ben greets the morning in the buff: “It’s only a penis,” he tells a passing elderly couple.

However it is at the funeral where they confront mom’s parents and come to realize that their lifestyle might not be sustainable as the forces of reaction line up against them.

….2

Captain Fantastic benefits from a witty, politically aware script. The kids are enjoyable and Mortensen is wonderful in the title role, showing a light hand at comedy. Perhaps it is not so ironic to realize that Captain Fantastic really may be a superhero movie after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ville-Marie

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Ville-MarieApril 10, 2016

Canada

Director: Guy Édoin
Cast: Monica Bellucci, Pascale Bussières, Aliocha Schneider, Patrick Hivon
Runtime: 101 minutes
Language: French with English subtitles
Rating: 14A

Santa Barbara International Film Festival: Best International Film.
Canadian Screen Awards Nomination: Best Supporting Actor, Patrick Hivon

“Evenly balanced performances and thoughtful direction keep the momentum going.”—Craig Takeuchi, Georgia Straight

In his second feature, director Guy Édoin links together a handful of characters through Ville-Marie, the Montreal hospital where the majority of the film takes place. Two automobile accidents will give these characters cause to despair and then to rediscover hope—tragedy breeding melodrama and long-cloaked truth.

French screen star Sophie (Monica Bellucci) arrives in Montreal to work in a melodrama directed by her former lover. She meets up with her gay son Thomas (Aliocha Schneider), whom she has not seen in three years, due to her reluctance to tell him the name of his father. Thomas has recently witnessed a road accident that’s been feverishly tended to respectively by paramedic Pierre, (Patrick Hivon) who’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and Marie, an overworked nurse (Pascale Bussières).

These four people are about to drift towards answers they’ve avoided their entire lives. It is how the characters find the means to gradually confront their issues that draws the audience into Ville-Marie.

Bellucci is perfect as the glamorous celebrity out of her element being a mom and Schneider the right mix of angry, lost, and empathetic. Hivon and Bussières exhibit the pain in their eyes that is almost, but not quite, absolved by the conclusion. This quartet might travel through the wringer, but each comes out better by the end.

Tangerine

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TangerineApril 10, 2016

USA
Director: Sean Baker
Cast: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian
Runtime: 88 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Palm Springs International Film Awards: Directors to Watch Award; San Francisco Film Critics Circle, Seattle Film Critics Circle Awards, Independent Spirit Awards: Best Supporting Actress: Mya Taylor. 12 other award wins, 36 nominations.

“Tangerine” is the wildest screwball transgender comedy since Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon donned lipstick, mascara and full-tilt female get-ups in “Some Like It Hot.”” – Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Raw” and “gritty” best describes the tone of Tangerine, a take-no-prisoners view of life in an L.A. replete with ’hos, pimps, cops, and fast food. Actually, the movie is also a raucous, darkly funny comedy in the hands of director Sean Baker and co-writer Chris Bergoch.

Incredibly, the whole movie was shot on iPhones with yellow filters and a frequently phenomenal wide-screen look. This seeming gimmick lends great intimacy to a highly mobile tale more about texture than drama.

Drama is exactly what Alexandra (Mya Taylor) hopes to avoid when she has to inform best pal Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), fresh from a month in jail, that her pimp boyfriend took up with a “white fish” while she was away.

This sets off a chase through various unwholesome parts of town on an incongruous Christmas Eve, with our two trans sex workers acting as our potty-mouthed tour guides.

Despite the loose, mean-streets concept and a soundtrack that jump-cuts between classical music and bass-thumping electronica, the movie often feels like a sharp-edged stage play.

There’s a subplot with an Armenian cab driver (Karren Karagulian) unhappy with his traditional home life, but this pays off with pretty amusing cameos, especially by ex–Western star Clu Gulager as a drunken passenger.

In the end you’re both amused and moved by the big-screen dreams of small-time hustlers who, whatever the margins, want love like everyone else.

Youth

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YouthApril 3, 2016

United Kingdom/Italy/France/Switzerland

Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Michel Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Jane Fonda
Runtime: 124 minutes
Language: English, Spanish, Swiss, German (with English Subtitles)
Rating: 14A

Detroit Film Society, Best Actor (Michael Caine); European Film Awards:
Best Film, Director, Actor. 8 other award wins, 30 nominations.

“Sumptuous, sincere and built on aging bones, “Youth” is a wonder of a film, a look back at life’s sprawling possibilities, dark corners and aspirations.”—Tom Long, Detroit News

A wry meditation on aging, Paolo Sorrentino’s latest film Youth features sumptuous photography and music score, and serene portrayals by Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel as two lifelong friends who have different ideas about how to spend the remainder of their lives.

Fred (Caine) is a retired composer and orchestra conductor whose beloved wife is living in an institution in Venice. Fred is content to have left public life behind him, even declining the honour of conducting one of his compositions for the Queen. The reasons for this, eventually revealed, are particularly touching.

By contrast, Fred’s best friend Mick (Keitel), a film director, is still active, planning a movie with a quartet of young writers. They’re all staying in a hotel in the Swiss Alps where Fred’s distraught daughter, Lena (Rachel Weisz), also visits, having been abandoned by her husband, Mick’s son, for a younger woman.

Sorrentino includes moments of Fellini-esque extravagance (for example, the Miss Universe who descends, naked, into the hotel swimming pool, or a scene in which Mick imagines all the female characters from his films). There is another surreal scene
involving Jane Fonda as a fading movie star that makes a potent comment on the passing of time.

The finale is glorious, both musically and dramatically. As a universal story of how to deal with the passing of time and life’s changing circumstances, Youth is told with precision and tender serenity.

Where to Invade Next

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Where-to-Invade-Next

April 10, 2016

USA

Director: Michael Moore
With: Michael Moore, Krista Kiuru, Tim Walker
Runtime: 119 minutes
Language: English, Italian, French, German, Finnish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Arabic with English subtitles
Rating: 14A

Chicago International Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festivals 2015: Best Documentary Feature. 10 other award nominations.

“Michael Moore goes on a global tour with this impishly entertaining polemic.” – Justin Chang, Variety

Cynics would call Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next? a quixotic quest, if not an outright bogus one. But naysayers aren’t welcome this time.

Rediscovering his funny bone, Moore happily treks far and wide for quality-of-life ideas to take back to the U.S. He’s made his most enjoyable film in years and his most inspiring.

Moore’s travels take him mainly to Europe, wherein he visits countries that each seem to have found a better and more humane ways than America of delivering education, nutrition, employment, drug control, justice, women’s rights and many other social benefits.

In Italy, he marvels at workers who enjoy several weeks of paid time off. In France, he finds schools where gourmet meals are served. Portugal has zero arrests for drug abuse; Slovenia offers free university tuition it extends even to foreign nationals (including many Americans). (Moore manages to overlook how these ideals are achieved.)

Tunisia and Iceland have mastered gender equality where women have risen to the top of the heap with the inference that they’re superior to men in every regard. (Hello Margaret Thatcher?)

Moore candidly admits he’s only looking for good news in countries where not every day is a sunny one. He brings it all back home with a brilliant ending that suggests that maybe all these great “foreign” ideas aren’t so foreign after all.

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Theeb

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TheebApril 10, 2016

United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, UK

Director: Naji Abu Nowar
Cast: Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat, Hussein Salameh Al-Sweilhiyeen
Year: 2014
Runtime: 100 minutes
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Rating: PG

Venice Film Festival: Best Director; British Academy Film Awards: Outstanding Debut
by a British Writer, Director or Producer. Academy Award Nomination: Best Foreign
Language Film. 8 other award wins; 13 other nominations

“The film’s delights … include nods to classic Westerns and David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia.”—Linda Bernard, Toronto Star

A disarmingly complex boyhood adventure with no shortage of tension or harsh beauty, Theeb marks a winning debut feature for co-writer and director Naji Abu Nowar.
Set in the Ottoman Empire in 1916, it chronicles the fraught journey of a tribal boy, Theeb—aka Wolf– (Jacir Eid), who excitedly follows his older brother Hussein (Hussein Salameh), tasked with escorting a British officer (Jack Fox) and his guide (Marji Audeh) across the desert.

The trip is fraught with bandits and mercenaries, however. In an unforgiving canyon pass, the group meets a violent fate that tests not merely young Theeb’s skills at survival but also, in an encounter with a wounded stranger (Hassan Mutlag), his Bedouin-taught strength of character in the face of unimaginable hardship.

Both a classically taut ’50s western and an Arabic coming-of-age drama, Theeb boasts emotionally resonant location cinematography from Wolfgang Thaler and a desert sound design — camels, wind, the echoed yells of bad men, a haunted score, even silence — that’s straight out of any dangerously curious boy’s most breathless nightmare.

In fact, it’s Nowar’s ability to tell his tale so firmly from the viewpoint of his quickly growing-up protagonist, and to elicit so unforced a performance from young Jacir Eid as Theeb, that may be the most impressive achievement of this intimate, well-paced film.

Spotlight

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SpotlightApril 3, 2016

USA

Director: Thomas McCarthy
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber
Runtime: 128 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay.
109 other award wins; 120 nominations

“It’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen about the art and the science of newspaper reporting.” – Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper

Spotlight is a mystery, a thriller and a human interest drama, but mostly it’s a love letter to investigative journalism. It’s based on real events.

The story centres on the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe and their 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. A group of reporters began with an investigation into pedophile priests and went on to discover corruption and cover-up that went right to the top of the organization.

The reporters’ digging unearths a bigger story — the powerful Boston Archdiocese is protecting the criminal priests, moving them to new parishes and turning a blind eye when they offend again, with plenty of legal protection for the offenders.

Spotlight is dedicated to showing what it took to get this story in this city: all the grunt work, digging and dogged persistence that underpins every major news feature.

The story unfolds with all the tension and intrigue of any great thriller.

This is a big story told on a small canvas, with a focus on the human face — clergy, victims, politicians and reporters — of the scandal. Director Tom McCarthy has said that he wanted to present the movie in the same hard-hitting and no-nonsense way that the journalists presented their investigation.

Son of Saul

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Son-of-SaulApril 3, 2016

Hungary

Director: László Nemes
Cast: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn
Runtime: 107 minutes
Language: Hungarian, Yiddish, German, Polish
Rating: 14A
Warning: Intense scenes

Academy Awards, Golden Globes, National Board of Review: Best Foreign Language Film. 43 other award wins, 37 nominations

“Director László Nemes films within a very claustrophobic and shallow-focused frame, bringing home the reality of the Nazi horror while also leaving much terror to the imagination.”—Peter Howell, Toronto Star

As with every Holocaust film, Son of Saul will stir debate that cinema is too trivial to encompass such profound evil. But there’s nothing trivial about this Hungarian masterwork from first-time director László Nemes. One does not merely witness horror; one feels it within their bones.

Nemes keeps his camera tightly focused on Saul Auslander (Géza Röhrig), a Jewish prisoner at Auschwitz. Saul temporarily escapes the ovens by serving with the Sonderkommando, Jews coerced to help execute other Jews and dispose of the bodies. The tight-framed camera allows the audience to see only what Saul sees, the more heinous acts blurred in the background, but all the more terrifying for that.

Tension surges when Saul finds a boy who has survived the gas. When the boy dies, Saul makes it his impossible goal to provide a Jewish burial. Is the boy Saul’s own son? Does he represent Saul’s breaking point, the embodiment of the crime and insult to Saul’s people made manifest in a single tragedy? It is as his fixation is rather a kind of irrational response to irrationality — or to be more precise, an irrational humane response to irrational cruelty.

All one needs to know is in the haunted eyes of Röhrig, whose raw and riveting performance deserves superlatives. Nemes is tackling a subject of enormous complexity. The result is, quite simply, a great film.

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Slow West

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Slow-WestApril 10, 2016

United Kingdom/New Zealand

Director: John Maclean
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn
Runtime: 108 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Sundance Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize. London Critics Circle Film Awards: Breakthrough Filmmaker. 2 other award wins, 11 nominations.

“There’s more to the story than meets the bull’s eye in Slow West, a brainy and genre-defying western by newcomer John Maclean comprar viagra sin receta medica.”—Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Young, Scottish greenhorn Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is making his way across wild Colorado, heading west in pursuit of his love, Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius). Jay happens upon grizzled Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender) who offers to guide hapless Jay for a fee. Jay soon finds that he’s in over his head far more than he realized. .

Unbeknownst to Jay, Rose and her father John (Rory McCann) have a price on their heads, and Silas is actually a bounty hunter. There are other outlaws looking to cash in as well, including Silas’ old mentor, Payne (Ben Mendelsohn). An all out shoot out between the competing parties ensues, as Jay rushes to defend his love.

First-time feature director Maclean manages a delicate balancing act of orchestrating gunplay and death infused with a hefty measure of heart. But what makes Slow West ultimately so entertaining is how much the film goes against expectations, and for a Western—that’s no small feat.

Fassbender’s Silas, seemingly cold and curt, reveals to have some evolving personal integrity, and a knack for a comic aside. Smit-McPhee takes Jay beyond pathetic and upward to determined and noble. Newcomer Caren Pistorius as Rose has little screen-time but owns it when she has it. She is one of many welcome surprises to be found in Slow West.

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Rams

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<img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-625" src="http://www.nosfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/Rams.jpg" alt="Rams" width="487" height="720" srcset="http://www.nosfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/Rams.jpg 487w, http://www.nosfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/Rams-203×300 viagra es venta libre.jpg 203w” sizes=”(max-width: 487px) 100vw, 487px” />April 3, 2016

Iceland

Director: Grímur Hákonarson
Cast: Sigurour Sigurjonsson, Theodor Juliusson, Charlotte Roving
Runtime: 93 minutes
Language: Icelandic with English subtitles
Rating: PG

Cannes 2015, Un Certain Regard Award; Palm Springs International Film Festival, Best Actor(s) Sigurjonsson & Juliusson. 15 other award wins, 5 nominations.

“Rams is a touching humanist drama set in a remote farming valley where two estranged brothers must come together to save what’s dearest to them: their sheep.” – Alissa Simon, Variety

A story of filial rivalry in a remote valley in Iceland, Rams begins as an oddball comedy about sheep farming and grows slowly into a tale of elemental and moving power. In a secluded valley in Iceland, Gummi (Sigurour Sigurjonsson) and Kiddi (Theodor Juliusson) live side by side, tending to their sheep. Their ancestral sheep-stock is considered one of the country’s best and the two brothers are repeatedly awarded for their prized rams who carry an ancient lineage.

Although they share the land and a way of life, Gummi and Kiddi have not spoken to each other in four decades. (Grudging communication comes via notes attached to a sheep dog.) When a lethal disease suddenly infects Kiddi’s sheep, the entire valley comes under threat. The authorities decide to cull all the animals in the area to contain the outbreak. This is a near death sentence for the farmers, whose sheep are their main source of income, and many abandon their land.

But Gummi and Kiddi don’t give up so easily – and each brother tries to stave off the disaster in his own fashion: Kiddi by using his rifle and Gummi by using his wits. As the authorities close in, the brothers will need to come together to save the special breed passed down for generations, and themselves, from extinction.

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One Floor Below

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One-Floor-BelowApril 10, 2016

Romania, Sweden, France, Germany

Director: Radu Muntean
Cast: Ionut Bora, Liviu Cheloiu, Calin Chirila
Runtime: 93 minutes
Language: Romanian with English subtitles
Rating: 14A

Seville European Film Festival: Best Actor, Best Screenplay; National Society of Film Critics: Special Citation. Two other award wins, three nominations.

“The film takes a character who would be merely incidental in a more conventional film and uses him to construct a poignant meditation on responsibility, guilt and community.” – Leslie Felperin, Hollywood Reporter

Fans of the Romanian New Wave know that, paradoxically, the less that happens on screen, the more that goes on in the story.

By that measure, One Floor Below is a busy film indeed. We meet Sandhu Patrascu (Teodor Corban), dog-owner, father and co-owner (with his wife) of a business that deals in car registrations.

One day, Sandhu bumps into a neighbour, Vali (Iulian Postelnicu), who he just heard fighting with a woman in her apartment. The next day, the woman’s been bumped off. Or maybe it was just an accident?

The police come round to ask some routine questions, and Sandhu answers them routinely enough – except that he neglects to mention the fight, or Vali. The cop presses mildly: “Anything that bears mentioning?” Nope.

From this point on, One Floor Below turns into a simmering stew. Vali starts hanging around Sandhu’s apartment, helping his son set up a computer and then asking Sandhu to help him change the registration on his car. Sandhu agrees, but becomes more edgy as time passes. Sandhu is increasingly apprehensive as Sandhu ingratiates himself with his family.

Director Muntean challenges audience expectations in this slow-burn thriller. Here’s a death where the facts don’t quite add up, and damned if Muntean is going to make them do so.

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No Men Beyond This Point

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No-Men-Beyond-This-PointApril 10, 2016

Canada

Director: Mark Sawers
Cast: Rekha Sharma, Bruce Harwood, Kirsten Robek
Year: 2015
Runtime: 80 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

Vancouver Film Critics Circle: Best Supporting Actress in a Canadian Film: Tara Pratt; Other Worlds Austin Sci-Fi Film Festival: Audience Award, Best Editing,
Best Actor, Patrick Gilmore, Best Script.

“The film takes what could have been a highly divisive topic and comes out of it poking fun at all sides.”—Richard Scheib, Sci-Fi, Horror & Fantasy Film Review

What if men no longer served any purpose on Earth? That’s the hook of the absurdist mockumentary No Men Beyond This Point, which presents an alternate universe where in the 1950s, women suddenly gained the ability to reproduce asexually.

Director Sawers blends mocked-up historical scenes and real stock footage to hilarious effect, offering a witty retelling of world history but one where events have been rewritten with women in charge. There is the hippie movement, the Women’s Lib movement, Gay Rights, and Marriage Equality, but all rewritten in terms of a women-ruled world.

With years passing, and women’s population increasing, men eventually became of no use. The film starts in the present day, where the documentary crew follows 37-year-old Andrew Myers (Patrick Gilmore), now the youngest man in the world. As men are being sent off to sanctuaries across the world to live out their remaining days, Myers manages to get a job as a servant for partners Terra (Tara Pratt) and Iris (Kristine Cofsky). Eventually, Andrew and Iris being showing an attraction for each other and Sawers uses their flirtations to delve into the messier aspects of his universe.

No Men Beyond This Point is an enjoyable, deadpan romp. It’s fascinating to see just how much Sawers has thought out his idea of a world where women rule everything. It will certainly spark dialogue.

Mustang

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MustangApril 3, 2016

Turkey/France/Qatar/Germany

Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Cast: Nihal Koldas, Ayberk Pekcan, Ilayda Akdogan, Elit Iscan, Tugba Sunguroglu
Runtime: 94 minutes
Language: Turkish with English Subtitles
Rating: PG

Chicago International Film Festival: Audience Award; Academy Award, Golden Globe Nominations: Best Foreign Language Film. 30 other award wins, 42 nominations

“A beautifully mounted story about the demonization of young female sexuality in a remote Turkish village.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety
Five teenaged girls living in a seaside Turkish village are having a little too much fun celebrating the end of the school year, innocently frolicking with some boys on the beach. Their punishment? The family patriarch – the uncle who’s raised them since their parents’ death – removes them from school, puts them under house arrest, and starts marrying them off.

The girls try to make the best of their imprisonment by pretending and fantasizing. At one point the youngest sister leads an escape to a football match, where the crowd is all female. The girls next plan to flee to Istanbul, which elevates the film into a tense thriller.

Ergüven empathetically presents the village women – especially the girls’ grandmother – as more bent on protecting the girls than controlling them, but the director is plainly furious with the entire system. (The drama is loosely based on the life of the director.)
That anger, however, never takes over or messes with the craft. Ergüven gets great performances from her cast and creates gorgeous images of the five sisters at play and in repose.

With Mustang, Ergüven has made a fiercely feminist statement into a work of art.

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Les Etres Chers

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Les-Etres-ChersApril 3, 2016

Canada

Director: Anne Émond
Cast: Louis Morissette , Maxim Gaudette, Karelle Tremblay
Runtime: 102 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles
Rating: 14A

Canadian Screen Awards: 9 Nominations, including Best Picture

“Writer/director Anne Émond offers a valuable lesson in forgiveness and of letting go of the past with her wonderful sophomore feature Les êtres chers.”—Pat Mullen, Cinemablographer

Filmmaker Anne Emond shows increasing promise with her second feature, Les Etres Chers (Our Loved Ones), an emotionally potent film about a Quebecois family forced to cope with a family tragedy. This sophomore effort is distinctive for pitch- perfect performances and graceful storytelling.

After the paterfamilias of the Leblanc family hangs himself, for reasons gradually revealed, David (Maxim Gaudette), the eldest of his five children, carries on the family business of crafting and selling marionettes. For years, he lives what appears to be an idyllic life with his wife, Marie (Valerie Cadieux), and their two children in Bas-Saint-Laurent.

Life is placid enough until David is suddenly backhanded by the past: He learns, years after the fact, that his father did not die of a heart attack, but committed suicide. David was shielded from the truth because he was considered too “sensitive” to deal with such painful knowledge.

Gradually, the genial David gives over to melancholy and solitary walks. Concerned by her troubled father, Laurence (Karelle Tremblay), David’s elder offspring with whom he shares a special rapport, must consider the possibility that she may inherit the legacy that her father inherited from his.

Les Etres Chers unfolds tangentially, with many sequences of warm family interactions counterbalancing the growing shadow of generational secrets and burdens.

The cast is exceptional but Gaudette truly stands out as David. His character’s spirit imbues Les Etres Chers with its touching humanity.

Ex Machina

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Ex-MachinaApril 10, 2016

United Kingdom

Director: Alex Garland
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander
Runtime: 108 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Academy Award, Best Achievement in Visual Effects; Los Angeles Film Critics
Awards: Best Supporting Actress, Alicia Vikander; 56 other award wins, 124 nominations

“Ex Machina packs a scientist’s brain inside a thrill seeker’s body, much like the nubile robot within it.” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later, makes an auspicious directorial debut with the unsettling sci-fi thriller, Ex Machina. The film deftly explores multiple themes including the considerations of advancing science technology, male attitudes toward women, and questions if love could exist between humans and an Artificial Intelligence.

Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson, Frank) is an Internet coder who wins a workplace competition to spend a week with the mysterious, abrasive, billionaire genius CEO Nathan (Isaac) at his vast hermetic woodland estate in Alaska, accessible only by helicopter.

The nerdy Caleb soon learns from his provocative boss that he’s to participate in an enigmatic research experiment to test how far out Nathan’s newest A.I. creation, Ava, (Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl), has achieved consciousness. Ava is a female robot who expresses herself as a sensual woman, despite her naked wiring, synthetic covering, and metal parts.

The plan is for Caleb to see if Ava can fully pass the Turing test (named after 1950s computer code-breaker Alan Turing) to see if she pass as human. Caleb finds that
he is attracted to Ava but soon wonders whether he can trust either Nathan or Ava.

The minimalist film is filled with surprises, strong performances, and stunning visuals. Ex Machina is witty and dazzling, and asks how much humans can sympathize with the A.I. beings who can out-think them.

Carol

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CarolApril 3, 2016

USA/UK

Director: Todd Haynes
Cast: Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson
Runtime: 118 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

AFI Awards: Movie of the Year; Australian Film Institute: Best Actress, Cate Blanchett; 54 other award wins, 206 award nominations, including 8 Oscar nominations.

“Haynes crafts a tender, devastating romance but also surveys a battleground of power and control.” – Isabel Stevens, Sight and Sound

In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel, “The Price of Salt,” Carol follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York.

As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change. A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage.

As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens. While Carol breaks free from the confines of marriage, her husband (Kyle Chandler) begins to question her competence as a mother as her involvement with Therese and close relationship with her best friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) come to light.

Carol is a casting coup, with Blanchett’s inherent languor—her low drawl, a breath away from boredom—played off against the perter intelligence of Mara, whose manner is caught between the alien and the bird-like.

Haynes maintains the film’s temperature at a low simmer and expertly brings it to the boil, but while Carol builds to a scene of intense eroticism, it’s mostly about all the things you can’t reach out and touch.

Born to be Blue

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Born-To-Be-BlueApril 3, 2016

USA/UK

Director: Robert Budreau
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie
Runtime: 97 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

“Budreau constructs with imagination and pleasing fluidity, painting a portrait with a soft, sympathetic focus while steering clear of worship.”—Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

“Ethan Hawke gives one of the best performances of his career in Robert Budreau’s Chet Baker non-biopic.” – Andrew Barker, Variety

After being plucked out of an Italian prison in 1966, jazz trumpeter Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) is paroled in order to star in a cinematic adaptation of his life story.

After a violent run-in with his former heroin dealer destroys his already tarnished reputation shelves the film indefinitely and leaves Baker unable to play his beloved instrument, the musician finds solace in Jane (Carmen Ejogo), the actress who was tasked with playing an amalgamation of all of Chet’s past loves.

Jane tries leading Chet on the straight and narrow — with the help of his still skeptical former record producer (Callum Keith Rennie) — and back to a life of making music and clean living.

Born to be Blue dazzles thanks to an exemplary performance from Hawke in what might be his best role to date. Baker’s often soft-spoken and conciliatory nature belies a lot of tics, neuroses and a temper that often flares like a gasoline fire, and Hawke nails every bit of it, with Rennie and Ejogo acting nicely as equals in Baker’s life.

Canadian writer and director Robert Budreau also deserves a lot of credit for not forcing his film to be a comprehensive biopic but rather a look at a fixed point in time that Baker’s life will be informed by.

Hawke and the material galvanize the final results into a bio-pic that resonates long after
viewing.

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Amy

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AmyApril 10, 2016

United Kingdom

Director: Asif Kapadia
With: Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Tony Bennett
Runtime: 128 minutes
Language: English
Rating: 14A

Academy Awards, National Society of Film Critics Awards: Best Documentary; 39 other award wins, 40 nominations

“Amy Winehouse’s star shines so brightly in Amy, a treasure trove of found footage of the late artist.” – James Verniere, Boston Herald

What makes Asif Kapadia’s documentary, Amy, a devastating don’t-miss dazzler is the way he lays out her story without editorializing. Kapadia shows us the transformation of this mischief-loving Jewish girl from North London into a peerless interpreter of jazz and soul, ready to take her place with such greats as Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett.

Kapadia goes to the source. Winehouse, who died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at age 27, left behind a motherlode of recorded personal details. There are photos and personal videos shot by family, friends, and her loyal manager that are deftly woven into the narrative. Amy’s youth, like her talent, explodes off the screen. That’s what makes her public decline, brutally recorded by the media, so gut-wrenching.

Kapadia does editorialize on Amy’s dad, Mitch Winehouse, and her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, where it is suggested that both contributed to her precipitous decline.

Credit Kapadia, though, for not overplaying the victim card. Kapadia wisely uses Amy’s songs, with lyrics on-screen to trace her story, from her early days to her final concert in Belgrade, a month before she died, when she went on stage drunk and never sang a note, consumed by her various demons. But one can’t turn away, because the film has made Amy so touchingly, recognizably human.

Al Purdy Was Here

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<img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-615" src="http://www.nosfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/Al-Purdy-Was-Here.jpg" alt="Al-Purdy-Was-Here" width="487" height="720" srcset="http://www.nosfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/Al-Purdy-Was-Here.jpg 487w, http://www.nosfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/Al-Purdy-Was-Here-203×300 donde comprar viagra por internet.jpg 203w” sizes=”(max-width: 487px) 100vw, 487px” />April 3, 2016

Canada/USA

Director: Brian D. Johnson
Featuring: Gordon Pinsent, Leonard Cohen, Margaret Atwood
Runtime: 90 minutes
Language: English
Rating: PG

Toronto International Film Festival: Audience Choice Award, 3rd Place

“Canada’s greatest poet receives a warm and eminently watchable tribute from critic turned filmmaker Brian D. Johnson.”—Adrian Mack, Georgia Straight

A film about a Canadian poet sounds like the compulsory snoozy Can-con stuff endured by bored high school students. However, retired Maclean’s film critic Brian
D. Johnson deftly brings to life the career of award-winning Al Purdy, a two-fisted, eccentric artist, juxtaposing illuminating interviews with some of Purdy’s literary contemporaries and inspired performances by musical artists who were influenced by him. What emerges is a thoroughly entertaining portrait of a great Canadian icon.

The film benefits immeasurably from archival footage of Purdy himself, a colourful figure with tousled hair, often dressed a rumpled, loud clothing. His rumbling baritone with colourful phraseology comes to the fore in TV interviews with Adrienne Clarkson and William F. Buckley. An intimate sit-down with Purdy’s 90-year-old widow, Eurithe, is also fascinating for what she grudgingly reveals and not to reveal about Al, including some dark areas in their past.

Johnson knits together many interesting components that serves the subject: a tour of Purdy’s celebrated A-frame home, once a gathering place for writers of his day, now functions as a retreat for budding writers; interviews with the likes of Margaret Atwood (who recalls Purdy peeing on her car); readings by novelist Joseph Boyden, and performances by Leonard Cohen, Sarah Harmer, Gord Downie, and Bruce Cockburn. These elements combine to make Al Purdy Was Here an enjoyable celebration of Canadiana.