Miss Representation (USA; directed by Jennifer Seibel Newsom)
|Rosario Dawson interviewed in Miss Representation|
My Little Princess (France; directed by Eva Ionesco)
|Still of My Little Princess|
The British Guide to Showing Off (UK; directed by Jes Benstock)
One of this year’s LGBT entries is this enticing, comic documentary on the Alternative Miss World pageant. Originally started in 1972 as a fringe festival-type event, it has since become a hallmark of London gay life and has attracted the participation over the years of Elton John, Derek Jarman, Andy Warhol, the Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Brian Eno and Boy George. The event has grown in stature and size since, and combines fashion, music and dance in an “anything goes” show that elevates it to the level of high performance art. You can read more on this unique phenomenon on festival founder Andrew Logan’s website.
The Front Line (South Korea; directed by Jang Hun)
Chosen as South Korea’s official entry for this year’s Academy Awards, The Front Line chronicles a battle during the Korean Warand the heavy toll it takes on both sides. Stylistically reminiscent of 2006’s Letters from Iwo Jima and Saving Private Ryan, this work gets up-close-and-personal with numerous soldiers in the hours leading to the signing of the Armistice in 1953. Hun’s young career has made him one of the foremost Korean directors, and includes the romance 3-Iron and The Bow, which was screened at Cannes in 2005.
The Turin Horse (Hungary; directed by Béla Tarr)
Flamenco, Flamenco (Spain; directed by Carlos Saura)
Long-known for his signature work on flamenco-infused dramas such as his 1983 dance remake of Carmen, Saura returns to the world of flamenco and views how it is used, interpreted and updated to today. Instead of a conventional narrative that he turns upside-down, Saura instead films a straight-forward documentary on his favourite subject. Done with passion, style and music, sometimes that’s all you need to use in cinematic language and make it sing.
Cloudburst (Canada; directed by Thom Fitzgerald)
What happens if you spend an entire lifetime waiting for the right to get married, and the big day finally arrives? Fitzgerald’s latest film stars Oscar winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as a lesbian couple who are temporarily split up due to an incident with an amorous contraption (yes that is a euphemism) but fight to get married no matter what. A combination of road movie, family drama and raucous comedy, Cloudburst is presented as part of VIFF’s queer film series.
Our Future (Japan; directed by Iizuka Kashou)
School’s out, but not for a young woman who is exploring her gender identity at age 18. Already shamed in Japanese culture by her parents’ divorce, she is further humiliated at school but befriends two new friends: a young gay boy and a transgendered dance. What does it mean to be labeled as masculine, feminine, neither or both in contemporary Japanese society, and is there a place for anyone who falls outside of the gender binary?
|Still of The Prize|
It’s been two decades since the Berlin Wall fell, but how has it affected those who were behind the Iron Curtain and were suddenly confronted with unimaginable freedom and viewed free will as a threat? A former East Berlin architect goes back to his old neighbourhood to design a building and sees first-hand just how terrible the concept of democracy and freedom is to those who have spent their entire lives entirely sheltered from it. Will The Prize be this year’s answer to the most acclaimed fall-of-the-Berlin-Wall film of our time, 2004’s Goodbye, Lenin!?
Heaven and Earth (Austria; directed by Michael Pilz)
The titular feature of this year’s environmental film series, Pilz’s magnum opus captures life in a small Austrian town over three years and their relationship to nature and one another. Clocking in at a staggering 297 minutes (that’s nearly five hours), the film boasts majestic views captured in stunning cinematography. The film boasts an impressive treatise which you can view here.