Monday, October 15, 2012

VIFF 2012 - Day 16

Capsules of the films I saw on the final day of the 31st Vancouver International Film Festival. Full reviews of my favorites, plus a recap of my festival experience to come shortly.

Sister (L'enfant d'en haut)
directed by Ursula Meier
Switzerland Switzerland
Meier further refines her craft with this her second feature film. It gets heavy handed and repetitive with the visual metaphors (impressively shot by Agnes Godard), but the story is always engaging, and the principal characters are wonderfully rendered. An outstanding performance from young Kacey Mottet Klein, as a streetwise kid who finds inventive ways to look after himself and his older deadbeat sister.

Full Review
Persistence of Vision
directed by Kevin Schreck
USAUSA, UKUK, Canada Canada
A very low budget documentary that tries to assemble the story behind the making of Richard Williams' The Thief and the Cobbler, an animated film he worked on for nearly three decades but never completed. An interesting story of creative obsession, but the predominately low resolution archival footage make this better viewed on a small screen. Also a shame that Williams refuses to talk about the film, his participation would have made this far more interesting.
Stories We Tell
directed by Sarah Polley
Canada Canada
An amazingly well crafted documentary told with great cinematic skill. It's a multi-layered film that not only tells a personal story, but also thoughtfully explores how memories and perspectives differ and how the true story changes depending on how it is told and who is telling it. Watching a stranger's grainy Super-8 home movies has seldom been so emotional or captivating.

Full Review
directed by Antej Farac
Sort of like a German version of Trailer Park Boys. It's a comedic drama that takes place in a decrepit housing project in Munich, featuring a cast of quirky characters living on the fringes of society, many of whom are real residents of the building playing themselves. It's stylishly shot, and uses a good blend of absurd fantasy and grim reality to tell a strange, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always relevant story.
directed by Volker Goetze
Senegal Senegal
A documentary about Ablaye Cissoko, a remarkably talented Senegalese singer and kora player, directed by German jazz trumpeter Volker Goetze. Provides a fascinating portrait of the artist and of the quickly eroding West African culture he represents. Features some beautiful imagery and several emotional musical performances. 
Holy Motors
directed by Leos Carax
What an exciting way to end the festival. This is an outrageously stunning cinematic statement that breaks all the rules and conventions and offers no apologies for doing so. Carax's comeback offers a rare thrill ride where you truly never know what to expect. Denis Lavant delivers perhaps the most versatile performance ever filmed, and the glorious cinematography captures a surreal version of Paris that reminds us of all the wonders of cinema. Masterful and magical, it rightfully should have won the Palme d'Or.

Full Review


FrontRoomCinema said...

Wow! When I said see everything I was kinda joking!! LOL

365 moviesandsongs365 said...

I've added Sister to my queue, I've read elsewhere it has a "Dardenne" atmosphere, although what I read was more positive than your take on it. Glad you loved Holy Motors, I'm definitely going to see it.

Michaël Parent said...

I can,t wait to see Holy Motors. Almong with The Master and Django Unchained this is the film I am most expecting for 2012!

d_4 said...

Wow now I'm ready for Holy Motors! Can't wait to see the reviews and general recap, that should be interesting.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Haha, and I still only saw a fraction of the full schedule...

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah, it shares the same types of young, poor, and struggling main characters that the Dardennes like to use, but the directorial style is totally different. I did like it a lot, it just got overshadowed by me watching the excellent Stories We Tell, and the masterful Holy Motors on the same day.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Hopefully you get to see it soon. The other two are on my list as well. The Master opened on the same weekend the festival started, so I haven't got the chance to see it yet.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It's a crazy crazy film. I'm already itching to see it again.

Lisa Thatcher said...

Oh I'm soooooo glad you loved Holy Motors - But I knew you would! I was the same as you, as soon as it opened here I went and saw it again. I have to say, it was as thrilling a ride the second time around as it was the first. Its also a film that has stayed with me... I keep thinking and thinking about it. I agree it should have taken the top prize. Its a film you almost can't fault. I haven't seen any of Carax's previous works, but I am fighting to get my hands on them. Very very pleased you enjoyed it.

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