September 14, 2017

VIFF 2017 | 20 Most Anticipated Films (You Should See)

VIFF 2017 | Vancouver International Film Festival

VIFF 2017—One of my favourite times of the year is nearly upon us. After the Hollywood glamour of TIFF fades, cinephiles can finally turn our attention to Vancouver's two-week long arthouse film festival. The Vancouver International Film Festival kicks off its 36th year starting soon with a focus on all forms of visual storytelling while showcasing hundreds of local, Canadian, and international films celebrating contemporary world cinema.

Here are twenty films I think are worth checking out during this year's VIFF screenings:

24 Frames (dir. Abbas Kiarostami, Iran/France)

Kiarostami's last and posthumous film consists of twenty-four short films made up of static shots of landscapes, nature, and animals without any guiding narrative as a visual work of poetry and inspiration. (Panorama / Documentaries)

Bitch (dir. Marianna Palka, USA)

A dark comedy about female repression, the film takes a vicious bite out of patriarchal themes as it satirizes contemporary gender politics, co-starring Jason Ritter. (ALT / Altered States)

Borg vs. McEnroe (dir. Janus Metz, Sweden/Denmark/Finland)

Bad boy actor Shia LaBeouf starring as bad boy '80s tennis star John McEnroe and facing off against his rival Björn Borg (played by Sverrir Gudnason) in this sports dramatization promises to be a thrilling match up. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Breathe (dir. Andy Serkis, UK).

Known for his motion-capture acting work, Serkis' directorial debut stars Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy as a brilliant man stricken with polio and how he and his wife persevered through it all. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Call Me by Your Name (dir. Luca Guadagnino, USA/Italy/France).

Guadagnino's adaptation of the Italian set novel is already garnering critical acclaim for its beautiful depiction of star-crossed, forbidden love and burgeoning male sexuality. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Columbus (dir. Kogonada, USA).

John Cho stars in this meditative drama, the directorial debut of the well-known video essayist, about familial circumstances set against stunning architectural works of the Midwest. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Entanglement (dir. Jason James, Canada)

BC boy and Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch anchors the dark comedy that questions the nature of our relationships as it delves into our collective personal baggage. (Sea to Sky / BC Spotlight)

The Florida Project (dir. Sean Baker, USA)

The Tangerine filmmaker continues his exploration of humanist drama and turns to Southern Florida's charm for a look into childhood curiosity set in a motel community. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Happy End (dir. Michael Haneke, France/Austria/Germany)

The revered Austrian filmmaker dissects the rich upper class during a stay in a lush coastal town in the South of France set against the European refugee crisis. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, UK)

The team behind the blisteringly sharp The Lobster return for a dark, bizarre look into family and one sinister teenage boy in this psychological horror/thriller starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

VIFF 2017 Industry Exchange | Vancouver International Film Festival

Last Days in Havana (dir. Fernando Pérez, Cuba/Spain).

This documentary captures Havana's faded glory through its people on the streets. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Lucky (dir. John Carroll Lynch, USA).

The legendary Harry Dean Stanton leads this film as an elderly atheist searching for meaning late in life. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Meditation Park (dir. Mina Shum, Canada)

Shum dissects the immigrant experience while exploring sacrifice and family bonds, starring Cheng Pei Pei and Sandra Oh. (Sea to Sky / BC Spotlight / Galas)

The Party (dir. Sally Potter, UK).

This black-and-white feature has a stellar ensemble cast including Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Cillian Murphy, and promises inappropriate candour and dialogue from this dinner party comedy. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Public Schooled (dir. Kyle Rideout, Canada)

Your best friend Judy Greer stars in this made in BC comedy about a helicopter mom and her son navigating the social minefield of high school. (Sea to Sky / BC Spotlight)

Shut Up and Say Something (dir. Melanie Wood, Canada)

Acclaimed spoken word artist Shane Koyczan is the subject of this intimate portrait of an artist full of candour and personal stories. (Sea to Sky / Youth / BC Spotlight)

The Square (dir. Ruben Östlund, Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark)

The Force Majeure director returns to darkly comic territory with his trademark biting European humour and is already a Palme d'Or winner from Cannes. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Top of the Lake: China Girl (dir. Jane Campion & Ariel Kleiman, New Zealand/Australia)

A special screening of BBC's Australian detective television drama starring Elisabeth Moss is a must-watch mystery thriller and makes its Canadian premiere at the festival. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Wonderstruck (dir. Todd Haynes, USA)

Haynes' children's runaway fairy tale stars frequent collaborator Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, and promises to be both beautiful and haunting. (Panorama / Galas)

The Young Karl Marx (dir. Raoul Peck, France/Germany/Belgium)

Baldwin, fresh off the acclaim of I Am Not Your Negro, takes on Russian history dramatizing the early development of the Community Party and Manifesto. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Festival screenings are only the beginning of VIFF. There are many other cinephile related events including digital storytelling and new media programs like the Industry Hub conferences, creator talks, and VIFF Live music programming. VIFF 2017 runs from September 28th to October 13th.

Make sure to check back here for all my coverage and reviews. Get your tickets now.


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