VIFF 2014: Introduction and Proposed Schedule

Part of my coverage of the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival.

In just over two weeks, I’ll be heading to the Vancouver International Film Festival for the sixth time in the past seven years (a streak only interrupted by the birth of child #1 in 2011). As always, I plan to review as many of the films I see there as possible. In 2012 I managed to cover 30 out of 31 (I still plan to get to that last one someday), and last year I had eleven long reviews, a whole lot of letterboxd capsules and one two-part podcast. As with last year, I’m planning on some preview coverage this year, as I’d like to watch some films from directors who will feature at this year’s festival, mostly people from whom I’ve never seen anything before.

The festival looks to be much the same as in previous years, with a wide selection of world cinema, with a special focus on East Asian film in the Dragons & Tigers series programmed by Tony Rayns and Shelly Kraicer. Unfortunately, this year there will be no Dragons & Tigers competition, the award for young filmmakers that I had a lot of fun following along with the last couple of years. It leant a predictable structure to the festival, two films showing per night at one venue, followed by repeat performances during the day at another venue on the opposite end of downtown, with the whole competition viewable in only four days, followed by the gala awards ceremony. Instead there’s now a more general award for new directors, and the competition includes a slate of eleven films. Their showings are spread apparently at random throughout the first week, as if the award were a late addition and the competitors cobbled together from elements of the already-programmed festival as a whole. I might be able to make it to five of the competition films (marked with an * in the schedule below). Making it to all of them will probably be impossible as there are just too many other things to see during the eight days I’ll be in town.

This is a rough draft of the schedule I’m looking to follow at the 2014 Festival. Shows that conflict with each other are listed without a space in-between, with the filming I’m currently leaning towards attending listed first.

Saturday, Sept. 27:

The Princess of France (Matías Piñeiro)

La Sapienza (Eugène Green)

The Golden Era (Ann Hui)

Sunday, Sept. 28:

National Gallery (Frederick Wiseman)

Exit (Chenn Hsiang)*

Listen Up Philip (Alex Ross Perry)

Flowing Stories (Tsang Tsui Shan)

The Owners (Adilkhan Yerzhanov)

Monday, Sept. 29:

Ballet 422 (Jody Lee Lipes)

God Help the Girl (Stuart Murdoch)

Horse Money (Pedro Costa)

Uncertain Relationships Society (Heiward Mak)
Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg)
The Vancouver Asahi (Yuya Ishii)

The Furthest End Awaits (Chiang Hsiu-Chiung)
Mommy (Xavier Dolan)

Tuesday, Sept. 30:

Miss and the Doctors (Axelle Ropert)*
Revivre (Im Kwontaek)

Free Fall (György Pálfi)

Heaven Knows What (Benny & Joshua Safdie)

Rekorder (Mikhail Red)*

Güeros (Alonso Ruíz Palacios)

Wednesday, Oct. 1:

Uncle Victory (Zheng Meng)

Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)

Hill of Freedom (Hong Sangsoo)

Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

Thursday, Oct. 2:

Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh)

Violent (Andrew Huculiak)
Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
An Eye for Beauty (Denys Arcand)

The Boy and the World (Alê Abreu)
Welcome to Me (Shira Piven)

The Iron Ministry (JP Sniadecki)
The Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas)

Friday, Oct. 3:

Ow (Yohei Suzuki)*

Adieu au langage (Jean-Luc Godard)

August Winds (Gabriel Mascaro)*

Welcome to New York (Abel Ferrara)

Phoenix (Christian Petzold)

Saturday, Oct 4:

Blind Massage (Lou Ye)

Jauja (Lisandro Alonso)
Life of Riley (Alain Resnais)

Highway (Imtiaz Ali)

The Midnight After (Fruit Chan)
The Two Faces of January (Hossein Amini)

Sunday, Oct. 5:

Queen and Country (John Boorman)

Above Us All (Eugenie Jansen)

My biggest regrets are going to be missing The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Isao Takahata) which plays only once, just as I arrive in town and The Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas) which overlaps with a pair of films I’m unlikely to be able to see anywhere else. The Takahata is opening in Seattle in October, so that won’t be too bad, but it looks like the Assayas won’t have a US release until 2015. The biggest regret of all, of course, is that Johnnie To’s Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 isn’t playing the festival at all, though it is playing at Toronto. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to catch that one.

Here is a list of my planned preview coverage.

Casa de Lava (Pedro Costa)
The Color Wheel (Alex Ross Perry)
Ex (Heiward Mak)
Hahaha (Hong Sangsoo)
Jab We Met (Imtiaz Ali)
Liverpool (Lisandro Alonso)
Love Aaj Kal (Imtiaz Ali)
Les Pont des Arts (Eugène Green)
Viola (Matías Piñeiro)

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