Establishing Shots: Dec 11-17, 2020

Every week, Establishing Shots offers some further enlightenment on the films that will be screening in-cinema at the VIFF Centre and online through VIFF Connect.

Given the extension of the provincial health order, our theatres will remain closed into the new year. However, we’re about to share how you can enjoy an array of offerings on VIFF Connect with a new monthly membership. Details will be available next week!

Arriving on the streaming platform this Friday is The Forbidden Reel, Ariel Nasr’s documentary that serves to restore Afghanistan’s film history. In discussing his gripping portrait of cinephiles risking their lives to preserve their nation’s films from the Taliban, the Afghan-Canadian documentarian shares with Point of View Magazine, “It’s really interesting to talk to the makers and observers of cinema. I’ve found cinema has a sacred feeling. In Afghanistan, you really feel that sacredness.”

Meanwhile, Juan José Campanella (The Secret in Their Eyes) takes a decidedly different approach to film history with his wickedly funny crowd-pleaser, The Weasels’ Tale. The twisting (and progressively more twisted) tale of former leading lights of Argentinian cinema reigniting their fiery personalities as they fend off predatory schemers, the comedy has been praised by The New York Times’ Nicolas Rapold, who concludes, “You can’t keep a good weasel down.”

Filmmaking (or a sort) also features prominently in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s To the Ends of the Earth, which finds a Japanese television presenter shooting tourist videos in Uzbekistan. The film premiered at TIFF’s 2019 edition and has proven to be Kurosawa’s best reviewed film since 2009’s Tokyo Sonata. Writing for Slant Magazine, Sam C. Mac notes that this marks a “radical departure” for a filmmaker often associated with genre fare before offering a closing assessment that suggests this is ideal viewing for the close of 2020: “With To the Ends of the Earth, Kurosawa celebrates the conquering of fear as our greatest hope against the world’s horrors.”

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