Establishing Shots – Apr 30-May 6, 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.

Given that French cinema has long been one of the pillars of VIFF’s programming, we’re pleased to offer you two opportunities to find escape and enlightenment in La Ville Lumière.

An odd couple comedy of the highest order, Grégory Magne’s Perfumes may prove to be just the sort of restorative elixir some viewers are in need of right now. Advocating for the film in The Times, Ed Potton declares, “Magne’s French comedy-drama is quietly delightful.” Meanwhile, The Sun’s Jamie East writes, “As with most Gallic rom-coms, it’s shot and presented in an unassuming and casual way – stylish and sexy without ever really attempting to be either… When Harry Met Sally for people old enough to know better.   ”

You read correctly: even the Brits are falling for this French confection.

Meanwhile, Ulike Ottinger whisks us back to the French capital in the 1960s with Paris Calligrammes, which takes its name from a Left Bank bookstore that Ottinger frequented in her youth. The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody observes, “Ottinger’s method in Paris Calligrammes is classical, but her sensibility transforms the film into a work of vital and energetic modernism. She narrates her experiences and delivers her trenchant observations in a spontaneous, seemingly casually associative voice-over that accompanies a prodigious, absorbing, and wide-ranging collage of archival images and film clips, whether from features, documentaries, news sources, or personal collections.”

Having secure the Best BC Film award at the 2020 edition of VIFF, Karen Lam’s moody, menacing The Curse of Willow Song now commences a virtual theatrical run on VIFF Connect. Speaking to Montecristo’s Sabrina Furminger, Lam explains how the film serves as a rejoinder to rising anti-Asian sentiment: “I think if the film had come out in 2019, it would have felt like a film out of time… It wouldn’t have felt like it was speaking to anything. But all of the discussions we’ve had this year about systemic racism and dreams and isolation —they’ve come to life now, not in 2019. In a lot of ways, everything about the film actually fits now, but I didn’t know it then.”

Should The Curse of Willow Song leave you feeling in need of more sinister fare, we’ve just added Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon and William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth to our VIFF Connect collection. Our VIFF+ members receive free access to these two titles, as well as more than 30 other films and talks. Memberships start at only $12 a month.

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