Establishing Shots – Mar 12-18, 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.

Death of a Ladies’ Man, Matthew Bissonnette’s new feature about a carousing academic stumbling toward’s life’s exit, finds the Canadian director once again operating under the influence of Leonard Cohen’s music. As Bissonnette tells The Globe and Mail’s Brad Wheeler, the late bard was amused by the filmmaker’s unwavering infatuation with his music and insistence on weaving it into his films: “My first movie was called Looking for Leonard, which had some Cohen footage in it. Leonard saw the film and kind of liked it. Any subsequent film of mine which used a song of his or referenced his work, we always sent him a note to let him know. Leonard thought it was funny that we kept on doing it.”

While seven Cohen songs can be found in the film, nine Canadian artists are contributing cover versions for a supplementary project that rolls out on Friday, March 12. Ron Sexsmith kicks things off, followed shortly by the likes of Chad VanGaalen and Vancouver’s own Dan Mangan.

Death also plays a role in Sophie Jones, Jessie Barr’s assured coming-of-age drama that’s centred on the complex, commanding performance by Jessica Barr, the director’s niece, in the title role. Declaring the film “a refreshing, deeply human meditation on girlhood, sex, and grief,” The Playlist’s Lena Wilson continues, “In a less skilled actor’s hands, Sophie’s many improvised quirks and caustic remarks could render her insufferable, but Jessica Barr turns this character into something truly special.”

Winner of Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Ray Yeung’s Twilight’s Kiss has been hailed as an “endearing and quietly angry gay twilight romance” by The Hollywood Reporter’s Elizabeth Kerr. Her review continues, “Yeung demonstrates a keen eye for the social dynamics that impact us and how we respond to them, and finds space to bask in the simple pleasures, basic generosity and the safety net that is family while simultaneously dealing with homophobia, ageism and faith.”

Our VIFF+ members continue to enjoy free access to a selection of VIFF Collection titles. New to the platform this week are Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders, Mia Hansen-Løve’s Things to Come and Carla Simón’s Summer 1993.

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