While travelling outside of the country is generally still restricted, you can still explore it through world cinema as the Vancouver International Film Festival is back with online and in-person screenings.
Vancouver International Film Festival preview
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
After a year and a half of watching films on streaming services, movie theatres are starting to re-open again. Highly anticipated films that were supposed to be released last year are finally being shown the way they were meant to be shown—on the big screen. Watching Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was also the first time in a very long time that I went inside one and ate popcorn again while getting used to eating and drinking while wearing my mask. While travelling outside of the country is generally still restricted, you can still explore it through world cinema as the Vancouver International Film Festival is back with online and in-person screenings.
Leonard Schein created the festival in 1982, making the upcoming festival the 40th edition. The festival has been successful in introducing films from around the world and hosting conversations with people in the film and TV industry and Vancouver is celebrating. Unlike last year where most of the films that were shown were available through the festival’s streaming service VIFF Connect, most of the films in this year’s edition will be screened in theatres around the city but with limited capacity. Most of the regular venues in the festival will screen films as well as three new venues including the Kay Meek Arts Centre in West Vancouver, the Hollywood Theatre, and the Orpheum Annex.
There will be in-person guests for some films—especially the Canadian films—and video chat for the rest of them. There will also be talks featuring industry heavyweights including Craig Zobel, director of the Emmy award-winning miniseries Mare of Easttown, the production designer of The Green Knight Jade Healy, and the editor of The Suicide Squad Fred Raskin. This year’s edition is slightly shorter than usual, so there are fewer films to be seen, but some of the most highly discussed films from other festivals earlier this year will be shown.
One of them is the Canadian film Night Raiders directed by Danis Goulet and starring Canadian actress Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers; the movie involves an alternate reality where institutions like residential schools still exist, and a mother tries to rescue her daughter who was kidnapped by the government. Assisted suicide is addressed in Michael McGowan’s adaptation of Miriam Towes’ classic book All My Puny Sorrows (starring Sarah Gadon) where a divorced woman deals with her terminally ill sister. Kenneth Branagh’s masterpiece Belfast, which earned the Audience Award in this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is a homage to his childhood in Northern Ireland, and will also be screened at VIFF.
Other films that will be shown this year include a theatre director’s revenge production in Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s near three-hour epic Drive My Car; a couple trying to persevere in Bergman Island; a character study of Japanese youth in Spaghetti Code Love; a World War II espionage romance in Wife of a Spy, and the follow-up to Alan Zweig’s documentary on record collectors with Records. Also, Japanese director Hirokazu kore-Eda discusses cinema with South Korean director Bora Kim in a special VIFF Leading Lights conversation on VIFF Connect. 40 years later, world cinema is more appreciated and coming together to discuss film is starting to come back at this year’s VIFF.
The Vancouver International Film Festival will happen between October 1 to October 11 both in-person and online.