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a bitter viffer

Viff Poster 2004 SnipI just bought my tickets for the Vancouver International Film Festival. As usual, there’s a lot of dreary-looking films about artists and diseases and camcorder-powered political diatribes, which… yeah. Keep it up, guys. Maybe one day we can finally scrub the last vestiges of cinematic art from art films.

The VIFF specializes in Asian cinema, but they seem to completely miss a lot of what I want to see. Are Kim Ki-duk and Pen-Ek Ratanaruang such household names that they doesn’t need their films picked up by the VIFF? They both have new films that played Toronto and I wanna see them, dammit! Not to mention Werner Herzog’s new movie with Christian Bale. Though at least that one, I’m pretty sure I’ll eventually be able to see.

In some past years, I’ve bought a pass and watched three to five films a day. But as you may have noticed, I’ve grown a little frustrated with the VIFF’s programming, so this year I’m just buying a handful of tickets to films I’m really interested in seeing.

  • The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema. “Famous” Lacan scholar Slavoj Zizek tours cinema from a psychoanalytic perspective. Yeah, I know. Still, Zizek is a much more entertaining writer than his colleagues, and I’m curious to see this. I really like grand overviews of cinema from specific viewpoints.
  • Colour Me Kubrick. John Malkovich in a fact-based role of a man who pretends to be Stanley Kubrick.
  • The Root of All Evil? One of my heroes, Richard Dawkins, wails on religion for a while.
  • The Host. “A mutant emerges from Seoul’s Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people.” Sign me the fuck up!
  • Syndromes and a Century. Seeing this Thai film based on the rapturous reviews coming out of the Toronto film festival.
  • Hana. With Afterlife and Nobody Knows, Kore-eda Hirokazu makes it into the ranks of Japanese directors whose films I’ll go see almost no matter what.
  • Big Bad Love, Juvenile A. Miike Takashi, too, but for different reasons.
  • Woman on the Beach. Another film getting raves from Toronto.
  • Renaissance. Anime-inspired French sci-fi. I’m half-expecting a pretty, pretentious wreck of a film, a la Ghost in the Shell 2, and half thinking I’ll be disappointed if it’s not.
  • Radiant City. A documentary about suburban sprawl that the festival guide is selling in the most obnoxiously simpleminded and preachy way imaginable? Word!