Establishing Shots – April 2-8, 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.

After seeing its premiere postponed by the cancellation of last year’s SXSW, Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby has made up for lost time, riding an eventual TIFF bow to an array of positive notices and praise for its progressive bi representation. As Seligman explained to Slate’s Madeline Ducharme, “While I was developing and creating the film, the audience I kept thinking of were bisexual women, and young bi women in particular. I wanted to portray the way your family just doesn’t really get bisexuality: They think you’re experimenting or actually gay or whatever. But I’m also really tired of seeing that be the main conflict of a character’s journey.”

In praising the “sex-positive cringe” comedy, the A.V. Club’s Katie Rife also lauds the craft that Seligman brings to her film: “Seligman shoots Danielle running this gauntlet of familial expectations like a horror movie, grouping the characters in claustrophobic clusters and cutting between Danielle and the judgmental eyes burning into her as she limply puts food onto a paper plate, then scrapes it back into the bowl. The suspenseful mood is reinforced by Ariel Marx’s screeching score, positively Harry Manfredini-esque at times.”

We’ll also be hosting Seligman for an Indie Spirits talks on April 12. Admission is free for anyone who rents the film on VIFF Connect.

Also launching on VIFF Connect this week is The Conductor, Maria Peters’ biopic of Antonia Brico, the pioneer who became the first woman to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic. As Allan Kozinn wrote in The New York Times obituary after her passing in 1989, “[Brico] made her way in the male-dominated musical world largely through the force of her personality as well as her unshakable determination and a facility with both the standard orchestral literature and contemporary American works.”

Here’s a look at Brico plying her trade:

Our VIFF+ members receive free access to dozens of films and talks. Joining our VIFF Collection titles this week are two assured character studies from directors more commonly associated with their work in front of the camera: John Carroll Lynch’s Lucky (featuring one of Harry Dean Stanton’s final onscreen appearances) and Ethan Hawke’s Blaze. Monthly VIFF+ memberships are just $12.

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