5 VIFF Films by Female Directors

By Mike Archibald

One of the best things about VIFF is that it does things that Hollywood can’t, or won’t. If you’ve looked towards the multiplexes for films directed by women and found few on offer, despair no longer: we offer a wealth of them. As a film festival, we draw from the best of world cinema, which, necessarily, includes films that lie outside the confines of corporate culture. This world-spanning free zone includes movies from a wide demographic spectrum and we’re proud to present them to you. Below is just a tiny sampling of films we’re showing that are directed by women. The movies in this list reflect a wealth of different concerns: the vagaries of love and chance, long-lost romance, wartime injustice and much, much more.

The Dreamed Path (Directed by Angela Schanelec), 86 min.

Program Stream: Panorama

Screening: Mon, Oct. 10 9:00pm Cinematheque | Thu, Oct. 13 3:30pm International Village 08

Two stories of relationships that fall apart: in the first, vacationing lovers pull back and separate; in the second, set 30 years later, a married couple split. What joins these two instances of failed romance together—fate, blind chance, or something even more mysterious? A challenging but, for the patient, very rewarding film.

A Good Wife (Directed by Mirjana Karanovic), 95 min.

Program Stream: Panorama

Screening: Wed, Oct. 5 6:15pm Playhouse | Thu, Oct. 13 4:00pm SFU

This powerhouse drama is the directorial debut of a renowned European actress. She also stars as Milena, a middle-aged woman living in comfort in postwar Serbia. One day she finds an old VHS tape from her husband’s days as a wartime paramilitary leader, and her illusions about her partner are shattered…

The Long Excuse (Directed by Nishikawa Miwa), 124 min.

Program Stream: Gateway

Screening: Tue, Oct. 11 1:15pm IN09 | Thu, Oct. 13 6:30pm INO9

This story of a novelist awakening to his own hypocrisies is one of the festival’s highlights. On the day that his wife dies, our hero is off sleeping with another woman. Obliged to display his grief publicly, the writer feels trapped in his own dishonesty. Things get even tougher when he meets a widower whose bereavement is much stronger…

Never Eat Alone (Dir. Sofia Bohdanowicz), 68 min.

Program Stream: True North

Screening: Sun, Oct 2 9:30pm, Cinematheque & Tue, Oct 4 3:45pm, Cinematheque

An elderly woman takes a trip down memory lane as she recalls a man who appeared with her on a CBC show long ago…What ever happened to him? This is a work from a director soon to take her place among the ranks of Canada’s best; it screens in our exciting new series, Future//Present. Not to be missed!

Toni Erdmann (Dir. Maren Ade), 162 min.

Stream: Panorama 

Screening: Fri, Sep 30, 8:30pm, Centre | Tue, Oct 11, 8:30pm, Rio | Thu, Oct 13 2:15pm, Centre

Don’t let that long runtime put you off—this is a crowd-pleaser through and through, a raucous, laugh-out-loud delight. Its story of a vivacious old man and his businesswoman daughter is chock full of laughs, but for all the guffaws it will generate it’s also a moving, deeply penetrating film about father-daughter relationships and much more besides.

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