Cook and Walker on the Vancouver International Film Festival

It's fall, and once again VIFF (the Vancouver International Film Festival) is upon us. For two weeks, our city is privileged with over 350 films from around the globe, many of which will never receive the widespread distribution they deserve. For some reason, no one seems to make that big a deal about the festival, which is now in it's 28th year. This exciting array of cinematic treasures appears to be preaching to the converted, as for the most part, VIFF attendees are those already diagnosed with cinephilia. We urge even those with just a passing interest to make a point of attending, whether you choose to see an independent Canadian film, or the next hit from South Korea.
Unlike TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival), our festival is not an international spectacle that attracts celebrity and mass publicity. While such attention sounds fun, it can be somewhat of a distraction from what's actually important. Despite VIFF not being one of the really big festivals, like NYFF, Telluride, or Cannes, we seem to get an equally interesting and extensive lineup. With the 2010 Olympics on the horizon, it is tough to say whether something like VIFF will be able to remain a honourable tribute to cinema or if it will get out of hand entirely, attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. So take our advice, and make sure to take advantage of this invaluable gateway to one of mankind's most important art forms.
Here are some films we don't think you should miss…

Adam's Picks

The White Ribbon
dir. Michael Haneke

The White Ribbon is probably the biggest must-see in the entire film festival thanks to having been bestowed with the Palme D'or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The story takes place in Germany on the eve of World War I, and follows a series of strange incidents that take place in a small village. Austrian Michael Haneke, who is prone to making challenging and often disturbing work, directs the film. His other work includes the near masterpiece Cache, and the searing Funny Games.

A Prophet
dir. Jacques Audiard
A Prophet was the runner-up to The White Ribbon at the Cannes Film Festival, but many have claimed it to be the stronger film. The story centers on a young Arab man who is sent to a French prison and becomes a mafia kingpin. Filmmaker Audiard aims at "creating icons, images for people who don't have images, the Arabs in France''.

Trash Humpers
dir. Harmony Korine

The aptly titled Trash Humpersis sure to turn some heads with its trailer that depicts people humping trash. This may only be Harmony Korine's fourth feature in his 12 years as a director, but he is still grabbing attention, both negative and positive, from his followers and his critics. The visual style mimics that of a lo-fi home video, filmed by the main characters, a "loser-gang cult-freak collective'' on the lam in Nashville.

Kurt's Picks

The Headless Woman
dir. Lucrecia Martel

This is a film, which flew completely underneath the radar until a dazzling trailer was released one month ago. Critics' hailing it as a near-masterpiece only reaffirms my anticipation by its rather humble yet simultaneously realistic critical consensus. The trailer and synopsis communicate a film that is obsessed with a miniscule event (ala Antonioni's ``Blow Up'') explored through a cut up narrative, surrounding the possibility of events instead of offering us a cemented truth. Critics have claimed that they've seen The Headless Woman yet still feel as though they haven't seen it, making for an undeniable allure.

dir. Tsai-Ming Liang
Taiwan, France

Face appears as a zippy, energetic, and (apparently) simultaneously abstract story of a Taiwanese film director who travels to the Louvre in attempt to make a modern adaptation of the Salomé myth. Casting numerous stars from the French New Wave, including the always exuberant Jean-Pierre Leaud, Face is apparently Liang's love song to the late Francois Truffaut. This wouldn't normally fill me with anticipation, yet Face looks and sounds like a coagulation between Liang's definably oriental cinema with the spirit of 60's French cinema.

dir. Francis Ford Coppola
United States, Argentina

The Godfather and Apocalypse Now director may just have it in him to return to form, and while the reviews signal otherwise, the trailer still communicates a film that looks like an astonishing experience. Starring everyone's favorite asshole, Vincent Gallo, in the lead role of Tetro, the film is Coppola's voyage into the artistic rivalry brewed within family bloodline. It is garishly photographed in black and white, with a few key scenes in brilliant and exaggerated colors.

VIFF runs from October 1st-16th. Visit for tickets and more details.

Adam Cook is what you would call a geek. Like, a really big fucking geek. He loves comic books, and is willing to scrap with anyone who knocks Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The true object of his geek love is cinema, whether it's foreign arthouse or Kevin Smith films (Snoogans!). He takes art seriously, and film is his favourite art form, because ``It has the power to encourage empathy, and to deepen our understanding of our own lives, and the lives of others. My goal is to get those around me to get the most they can out of movies by looking deeper at what they're watching''.

Kurt Walker, unlike his bearded associate, has not sacrificed his sanity in the name of a Kevin Smith `film.' ``I lack the sufficient word count to explain why I love cinema, so I'm just gonna say ditto to Adam's explanation. I can say, however, that during grade 2, I got sent to the office for talking about movies too much, and now I'm getting paid for it (Fuck You, NVSD44).'' Oftentimes he finds himself smitten with fictional characters rather than the real thing (Faye Wong in Chungking Express anybody?). Together they hope their obsession with film can inspire enthusiasm here at Cap.

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