Every day during this year’s festival, we’ll be offering you some supplemental reading (and the odd visual aid) in order to better inform your future viewing or appreciation of work you’ve already seen.
The restoration of Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue hits our VIFF Connect streaming platform today, commemorating the film’s 40th anniversary and honouring the late Linda Manz. In revisiting Manz’s career after her passing in August, Sean O’Hagan praised the anti-star’s “mesmerising turns” in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven and Out of the Blue thusly: “In both, she mesmerises with her singular presence, her instinctive ability to totally inhabit her characters.” Meanwhile, in May of the year, David Stewart took readers behind the anarchic scenes of the making of Hopper’s portrait of punk-era Vancouver.
Operating in a decidedly different register is Song Fang’s The Calming, which just had its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival and has been praised by MUBI for being “a refreshing tonic or a much needed but forever put-off session of meditation.”
Srdan Golubovic’s Father may’ve not grabbed headlines at this February’s Berlinale, but the positive word-of-mouth ensured that it was on practically every festival-goer’s radar. Vancouver audiences can now admire how it deftly “combines the social realism of a Dardenne brothers heartbreaker with a Capra-like fanfare for the ordinary man.”
Set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, Deirdre Fishels’ Women in Blue went back to being considered a “work in progress” in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. As she told the Austin Chronicle in August, “It’s like we ended it too early, and now we need a new ending and we need a new beginning.”
When Charles Officer visited VIFF in 2017, he (and Unarmed Verses) took home the award for Best Canadian Documentary. He now returns with Akilla’s Escape, a crime drama that employs the trappings of the neo-noir to explores the Black experience. In a recent interview, he details how the works of Homer and James Baldwin informed the writing of the film.
In an interview with Filmmaker, The Forum’s Marcus Vetter explains how he secured unprecedented access at the World Economic Forum. And why is he continually drawn to the global economy’s power players? “I am totally aware that we are at a pivotal point in history. The elite is not totally in control anymore and people are losing trust in the system. The genie is out of the bottle, and you cannot put him back in again. Inequality has reached a point of no return.”
At the opposite end of the economic spectrum: Having transitioned from documentary filmmaking to speculative fiction with Lapsis, Noah Hutton explores the perilous terrain being navigated by those employed in the gig economy. In an effort to establish a more humane and sustainable filmmaking model, Hutton’s film was produced employing the principles laid out in this handbook.
We leave you today with the trailers for two films capturing very different stages of the human experience with equal acuity: the deadpan Events Transpiring Before, During and After a High School Basketball Game and the tender Still Into You.