September 13, 2018

VIFF 2018 | 20 Most Anticipated Films (You Should See)

"Expand the frame."
VIFF 2018—It's almost here. As Hollywood awards season kicks into high gear, fall means Vancouver's two-week-long arthouse film festival is almost upon us. The Vancouver International Film Festival celebrates its 37th year with an expanded focus on all forms of multimedia and cinematic storytelling as they showcase 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:

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet (dir. Robin Hays, Canada)

Cameron Monaghan stars in the world premiere of the big made-in-BC film of the festival about a troubled teenager saddled the reputation of correctly predicting his friend's unfortunate death. (Sea to Sky / BC Spotlight / Galas)

Boy Erased (dir. Joel Edgerton, USA)

Actor turned filmmaker Edgerton explores the troubling world of gay conversion therapy and religiously motivated homosexual denial. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Burning (dir. Lee Chang-Dong, South Korea)

A searing psychological thriller wrapped in layers of mystery, Lee's film stars Steven Yeun and promises a haunting portrait of human nature. (Gateway)

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (dir. Marielle Heller, USA)

Comedian Melissa McCarthy turns to serious drama in the portrayal of real-life biographer turned notorious forger Lee Israel. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Colette (dir. Wash Westmoreland, UK)

Keira Knightley stars in the biopic of French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Collette's early life playing the feminist icon who turned in Paris upside down with her life's work. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

The Darling (dir. Seung-Yup Lee, Canada/South Korea)

Korean actress Lee Sun-hwa wanders through the low-budget film afflicted by debilitating anxiety in a devastating depiction of a woman caught between the restrictive ways of tradition and the undefinable inclinations of the heart. (Sea to Sky / BC Spotlight / North American Premiere)

Everybody Knows (dir. Asghar Farhadi, Spain/France/Italy)

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem weave a web of mistrust in Iranian filmmaker Farhadi's Spanish set film of deceit. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

The Favourite (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/UK/USA)

Lanthimos continues his dissection of the human condition with this darkly humorous period piece set in the sumptuous court of Queen Anne in eighteenth-century England starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone. (Panorama / Special Presentations / Canadian Premiere)

Finding Big Country (dir. Kathleen S. Jayme, Canada/USA)

This nostalgic documentary highlights the Vancouver Grizzlies' inglorious six-year NBA history set around the search for maligned sports figure Bryant "Big Country" Reeves whose less-than-sculpted man-mountain frame made him an easy target for criticism. (Sea to Sky / BC Spotlight / World Premiere)

The Front Runner (dir. Jason Reitman, USA)

Reitman dramatizes the 1998 unravelling of Senator Gary Hart's presidential amidst a groundbreaking sex scandal full of muckraking and monkey business starring Hugh Jackman. (Panorama / Special Presentations / Galas)

Grass (dir. Hong Sang-soo, South Korea)

Prolific filmmaker Hong adds another unassuming, poetic film to his filmography. Kim Min-hee plays another social observer of folly set up in a coffee shop documenting all the interactions of its patrons. (Gateway / Canadian Premiere)

The Hummingbird Project (dir. Kim Nguyen, Canada)

Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård play working-class cousins intent on creating a 1,000-mile-long fibre-optic cable to shave a millisecond (or "one flap of a hummingbird’s wing") off of stock transactions for a slight competitive advantage that could result in millions. (Sea to Sky / BC Spotlight / Galas)

Kingsway (dir. Bruce Sweeney, Canada)

Sweeney's heartfelt farce delivers some dysfunctional love and relationship dynamics in a very obvious but welcome East Vancouver setting. (Sea to Sky / BC Spotlight)

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (dir. Stephen Loveridge, USA/Sri Lanka/UK)

This all-access documentary offers insight into the uncompromising figure that is Sri Lankan refugee turned subversive pop icon and artist M.I.A. whose creativity and charisma are only rivalled by her combativeness and appetite for controversy as told through decades of her own personal footage. (Music/Art/Design)

Mega Time Squad (dir. Tim van Dammen, New Zealand)

This high-concept comedy uses the mind-bending pratfalls of time travel to construct a visually artful comedy of errors. (Altered States)

Non-Fiction (dir. Olivier Assayas, France)

Assayas uses marriage to comment on our current age of disruption and digital lives through actors Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

The Old Man & the Gun (dir. David Lowery, USA)

In reportedly his last performance, Robert Redford grounds this charming comedic caper, based on the New Yorker profile of dapper bank robber Forrest Tucker, looks to make a fitting cap to his legendary fifty-year career. (Panorama / Special Presentations / Galas)

Shoplifters (dir. Manbiki Kazoku, Japan)

A touching story about love and crime, Kazoku spins a yarn of compassion and family through a very poor family living on the margins of society. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

The Sisters Brothers (dir. Jacques Audiard, France/Belgium/Romania/Spain)

Boasting a stunning cast of John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed, Audiard aims to tell a contemporary shootout western adapted from BC-born author Patrick deWitt's novel set in Oregon circa 1851. (Panorama / Special Presentations)

Under the Silver Lake (dir. David Robert Mitchell, USA)

Following up It Follows, Mitchell's LA stoner noir stars Andrew Garfield as a bumbling amateur detective who goes spiraling down a La La Land rabbit hole into seedy realms and corridors of obscene power. (Altered States)

Screenings and showings are only one way to enjoy all VIFF has to offer. There are a plethora cinema-related events including digital storytelling and new media programs like Totally Indie Day, the Sustainable Production Forum, creator talks, and VIFF Live music programming. VIFF 2018 runs from September 27th to October 12th.

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

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