Establishing Shots: Feb 5-11, 2021

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.

Our Black History Month programming launches on VIFF Connect this Friday. If you haven’t already done so, head over to our website to see the full lineup and Nya Lewis’ curatorial statement for the series. Over the course of February, Establishing Shots will be highlighting a few of the selections every week.

Below a headline that hails Melina Matsoukas’ Queen & Slim as “Bonnie & Clyde for the Black Lives Matter Generation“, Slate’s Inkoo Kang proclaims that Matsoukas and screenwriter Lena Waithe “weave the grim fatalism with which Queen and Slim approach the criminal justice system with a romance that alternates between the intimate and the epic. A close cousin of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk in their shared love of melancholy yearning, it is, to my mind, easily one of the best movies of the year. “

Will Prosper’s KENBE LA, Until We Win celebrated its premiere at Montreal’s RIDM documentary festival in 2019 by claiming the People’s Choice Award. Speaking to the Montreal Gazette’s Brendan Kelly this past fall, Prosper voiced his frustration of the dearth of Black stories finding their way to Canadian screens. “We need more of these (Black) stories and it’s important for them to tell their stories instead of other people carrying their stories for them. When you take a look at the Black directors you see in Britain or in France or the United States, you can see that (these Black filmmakers) bring a different lens because they have lived experiences and they bring a very deep portrayal of the situation, whether it’s in fiction or documentary, and everyone benefits from that. And I’d really like to see that happening more in Canada.”

In addition to our Black History Month collection, VIFF Connect has two new first run titles this week. France’s submission to the Oscar’s for the Best International Film, Filippo Meneghetti’s Two of Us stars Barbara Sukowa and Martine Chevallier as an older couple whose relationship must navigate a cruel twist of fate. In an interview with The Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries, Sukowa discusses this role and how acting offered her an outlet for processing her lot as a German born in the wake of WWII. “I was involved with directors who were the first to ask the questions about what had happened, people like Fassbinder and Schlöndorff.” 

A year after it took Sundance by storm and four months after it proved an audience favourite at the 39th edition of our festival, Falling – Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut – returns to VIFF Connect. Those who watch the film on our streaming platform should be sure to stick around after the closing credits for an extended conversation between VIFF’s Alan Franey and Mortensen, Lance Henriksen and other cast members. Mortensen also appears on this week’s episode of Talkhouse, where he discusses a wide range of topics with fellow filmmaker Alix Lambert.

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