With over 380 films playing at VIFF this year, it’s tough to narrow the expansive list down to the films you want to see most. You could try to see them all, but realistically you might find yourself involved in a non stop movie marathon if you did. (And no one’s got time for that, am I right?)
Then there’s also the matter of weighing out your options. Do you see the films that critics are raving about? Or the ones that resonate with you on a deeper, personal level?
When there’s so many films going on during VIFF, it’s not easy to figure out which ones you should watch.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider viewing these 5 picks.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton takes on the true story of a young African-American lawyer, Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), who fights for history-making battles for justice in Alabama. Most notably, one death-row inmate Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) whose innocence for the murder of a young white girl epitomizes racial injustice.
Noah Baumbach, writer and director of whip-smart comedies like Frances Ha, Margot At The Wedding, and The Squid and The Whale, is a master of crafting beautifully structured films. His latest film is a retrospective on marriage—including all the good and all the bad that comes with it—and never crosses into melodrama territory. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver portray Nicole and Charlie respectively, putting on some of the best performances of their career.
Russian director Kantemir Balagov crafts a poetically bleak, if not intensely compelling, film that focuses on the titular character, lanky nurse Iya (Viktoria Miroshnichenko) who is nicknamed ‘Beanpole’ for her tall stature. Set in Leningrad shortly after World War II, this drama focuses on the story between two women—Iya and her friend, Masha (Vasilisa Perelygina)—and their attempt to return to normalcy.
Following his beautifully controlled horror film The Witch, Robert Eggers returns with his sophomore horror endeavor: The Lighthouse. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson shine as two lighthouse keepers on the remote New England coast. Shot in black-and-white, Eggers captures the oppressive atmosphere and tension between the characters to deliver a gripping and haunting psychological thriller.
Having won a slew of top honours at the Hong Kong Film Awards 2019, Chan Oliver Siu Kuen’s directorial debut Still Human is a film not to be missed. The film, set in Hong Kong, follows a middle-aged man confined to his wheelchair (Anthony Wong) and his young Filipino maid (Crisel Consunji) as they learn to embrace their lives again. Still Human takes inspiration from the real life story of Xyza Cruz Bacani, a Filipina who took up photography while working as a nanny in Hong Kong.