The next stream to be announced for VIFF 2017 was our M/A/D stream– offering music, art and dance the big screen treatment they deserve and audiences a chance to experience creativity across a wide spectrum. The creators in this stream are trailblazing artists, iconoclastic musicians and as varied as their work is rich. Take a look at all the trailers parked below…
24 Frames(Trailer not available)
The late Abbas Kiarostami’s last film contains 24 four-and-a-half-minute segments, each inhabiting a fixed frame and depicting landscapes, animals, even a digitized reproduction of Bruegel’s The Hunters in the Snow. They also contain a haunting summation of the master’s life’s work that will have you seeing the world through new eyes. “A mesmeric glimpse into Kiarostami’s mysterious mind… Gorgeous… Watching it is akin to opening a series of nesting dolls, or leafing through a book of dreams.”–Guardian
Beuys: Art as a Weapon
Germany’s Joseph Beuys, one of the most important European artists to come to prominence in the wake of WWII, produced confrontational performances and installations that shocked the establishment and expanded the boundaries of what art could be. Andres Veiel’s wide-ranging portrait–the first detailed look at Beuys’ life–is chock full of archival footage showing how the man and his art rose to near-mythological status. What might be surprising is how humorous and generous this revolutionary really was…
Seven arduous, successful years in the life of “starchitect” Bjarke Ingels are chronicled in Kaspar Astrup Schröder’s intimate portrait. Named one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world, Ingels comes across as a paradox: he’s a down-to-earth visionary. Starting in Copenhagen with a power station boasting a ski slope on its roof, the film follows him to New York, where the focus is on his VIA 57 West apartments–and health issues… This is fast-paced, entertaining and enlightening filmmaking.
Bunch of Kunst
Iggy Pop–who makes an appearance here–calls the Sleaford Mods “the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band,” and Christine Frantz’s straight-shooting documentary captures the politically charged duo at their profane best. When we first see vocalist/ranter Jason Williamson and musician Andrew Fearns, they are 40-ish and still schlepping to gigs in a van. Two years later, their ferocious live performances and scathing, hilarious lyrics have propelled them to stardom. This is one ride you don’t want to miss!
Bosch: The Garden of Dreams
Director José Luis López-Linares was given unprecedented access to Madrid’s Prado museum and Hieronymus Bosch’s most famous work, The Garden of Earthly Delights. Placing behind-the-scenes footage (restoration work, the X-raying of the painting, etc.) alongside interviews with writers Salman Rushdie and Orhan Pamuk, soprano Renée Fleming, philosopher Michel Onfray and others, López-Linares has crafted a fascinating, gorgeously shot film about one of the most mysterious art works of all time.
Chaplin in Bali: Journey to the East
With the coming of sound to motion pictures, Charlie Chaplin found himself at a creative crossroads, fearful that talking pictures may spell the end for him. So, he and his brother Sydney took a trip to Bali to find some peace and ponder their futures. Captivated by the local customs, especially the dances, Charlie began filming extensively… Raphael Millet has marshalled the footage Chaplin shot and created a time capsule that transports us to another world, a world from which Chaplin drew inspiration.
A towering figure in Mexican pop and favourite of Almodóvar, Chavela Vargas was both a myth and a cypher. A singer who turned Rancheras into dark journeys of the soul, Vargas endured a hard life but each trial (including her late-in-life coming out) made her deep, coarse voice richer. Directors Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi use the devastatingly beautiful lyrics of Chavela’s songs to illustrate the stages of a career punctuated by heartbreak. It’s a fascinating story with a killer soundtrack to boot.
Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of My Life(Trailer not available)
What do Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Whitney Houston, Sean “Puffy” Combs, and Alicia Keys have in common? They all owe much of their success to legendary recording exec Clive Davis. Brimming with fantastic archival performance footage, Chris Perkel’s info-packed portrait traces Davis’ life from childhood to his epiphany at the Monterey Pop music festival (where Joplin blew his mind) to his tenure at the top of the music industry. What a ride it’s been!
David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts
VIFF favourite Phil Grabsky (The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan, VIFF 04; In Search of Beethoven, VIFF 09; In Search of Chopin, VIFF 14) returns with this probing and celebratory documentary on the work of Britain’s greatest living artist, David Hockney. Focusing on two exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, in 2012 and 2016, the film features extensive, in-depth interviews with Hockney himself. And, with Grabsky at the helm, you know the images will be both beautiful and revealing.
Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy
Sixteen years ago, Thomas Riedelsheimer’s documentary on artist Andy Goldsworthy, Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, was a VIFF smash. Now the director-artist duo has re-teamed for another exquisite chronicle of Goldsworthy’s ongoing fascination with re-shaping the natural world, as we follow him on his extensive travels from one site-specific work to another, revelling in his imagination and his art. Anchored by Riedelsheimer’s gorgeous images, this is pure cinema for the soul.
Louise Lecavalier in Motion(Trailer not available)
Since commencing her career as a platinum-blonde dreadlocked dynamo in the early ‘80s, Louise Lecavalier has established herself as a Canadian contemporary dance icon. Having toured with Zappa and Bowie, the Montreal dancer/choreographer (now 58) embodies electric energy, extreme dedication and unrelenting inventiveness. In Raymond St-Jean’s mesmerizing homage, Lecavalier’s unwavering creative vision is fully explored, illuminating a woman in perpetual motion, spiritually, mentally and physically.
The Romanian mining town of Petrila is about to see its mine shut down, its last group of miners laid off and the mine’s buildings demolished. Enter former-miner-turned-anarchic-artist Ion Barbu, an energetic surrealist determined to save the buildings and re-construct a sense of community through his art, which includes paintings, murals and performances. Mixing anger, comedy and empathy in equal measures, Andrei Dăscălescu’s superb documentary revels in the power of art to unite people in common cause.
Schumann’s Bar Talks(Trailer not Available)
Munich’s Charles Schumann, now 76, is to bartenders what Barcelona’s Ferran Adrià is to chefs–a bigger-than-life legend who rewrote the rules of his artistic calling. Marieke Schroeder’s very entertaining odyssey follows the snappily dressed Schumann, who resembles a cross between Max von Sydow, Humphrey Bogart and Bruno Ganz, as he travels the world (Munich, Berlin, Vienna, New York, Havana, Tokyo, Paris) seeking out the best cocktail bars and expounding on the art of bartending. A Sazerac, anyone?
A staple of Manhattan’s art scene in the 1980s, erstwhile Vancouverite Richard Hambleton painted menacing, shadowy figures all over a metropolis that was equally dangerous and exciting. Covering the street-art pioneer’s heyday (when he was frequently mentioned in the same breath as Basquiat) and his subsequent long fall from grace, Oren Jacoby crafts a portrait of the often toxic New York art scene that left Hambleton more comfortable lurking in back alleys. “[An] intense, surprising story.”–Screen
Song of Granite
The rare tribute to an artist that aspires to be as boldly creative as its subject, Pat Collins’ biography of celebrated Irish sean-nós singer Joe Heaney seamlessly combines elements of narrative, documentary and lyrical filmmaking to create an evocative portrait of an artist and the land that forged him. “Heaney’s story shows that this is music that doesn’t originate with a spark but is carefully honed over the course of centuries, manifesting itself in magnetic talents.”–IndieWire
Ambitious, experimental and never less than stimulating, Heinz Emigholz’s film was written by himself and psychologist Zohar Rubinstein in the form of a dialogue. And what a dialogue it is: nuanced, digressive and unabashedly cerebral, it’s the work of men for whom thinking is an art, an avocation and a pleasure. Performers John Erdman and Jonathan Perel enact the exchanges against a backdrop of architecture that informs the speech, complicates it and at times overwhelms it.
Where You’re Meant to Be
For pop tunester Aidan Moffat, formerly of indie band Arab Strap, it seemed like a good idea at the time: reconfigure folk legend Sheila Stewart’s classic Scottish folk songs for a modern audience. Then he comes up against the dynamic 79-year-old hurricane herself, and she is forcefully opposed to his plans… Paul Fegan’s frequently very funny and deeply musical film is “affectionate, playful and irreverent in spirit. But it becomes something else altogether, something affecting and profound…”–Guardian
Tickets for all of these amazing films available here.