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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!


  1. Peter Carbonetto wrote:

    “The Root of all Evil” was on CBC today. How bout that.

    Sunday, September 24, 2006 at 9:08 pm | Permalink
  2. David wrote:

    Yeah, I missed the entire TIFF – it was during my first week of classes, and I just didn’t have time to get out there.

    But I was curious about Radiant City, despite the likely simplicity of the thing. It’s from the guy who did Waydowntown, which was at least a mildly entertaining take on the Calgary lifestyle. I’m not holding my breath in anticipation of Renaissance, but it could be decent.

    I’m starting to feel the benefits of the festival scene fading away. With massive DVD libraries becoming available (like zip), there’s not much reason to rush out to the festival. If I wait a year or two, the films will be out on DVD and there will be enough reviews to figure out if it’s worth my time.

    On the other hand, festivals are usually the only thing that gets me off my ass to check out new material. Except this year. And last year. Oh, and the year before that.

    Monday, September 25, 2006 at 7:27 am | Permalink