UFO death cult thriller, Mexican wrestlers, restaurant mayhem in VIFF’s Altered States series

Friendly Beast is the debut feature from Brazilian filmmaker Gabriela Amaral Almeida.

Amidst all the kitchen-sink foreign dramas, big-name Hollywood blockbusters and poignant, thought-provoking documentaries, the Vancouver International Film Festival also makes room for mind-bending, compelling and sometimes just weird genre (and genre-bending) movies.

This year, the VIFF (Sept. 28-Oct. 13) is once again presenting its Altered States film series. The series features 10 movies that don’t fit in with the regular, more mainstream (read: less gory/perverse/violent) fare. This year’s 10 Altered States run the gamut from UFO death cult thriller (The Endless) to surreal relationship drama (Animals) to weird domestic nightmares (Housewife, Bitch).

Here are five Altered States films that look particularly intriguing. (Note: click on film titles to watch trailers.)

Continue reading:
UFO death cult thriller, Mexican wrestlers, restaurant mayhem in VIFF’s Altered States series

Five reasons to check out Seven Beauties: The Films of Lina Wertmuller

A still from Seven Beauties (1975). It earned Italian director Lina Wertmüller an Academy Award nomination for Best Director.

Throughout September, Cinematheque is presenting a retrospective of work by Italian director Lina Wertmüller. All told, the series includes seven features and a documentary.

Here are five reasons to check out the program, which runs Sept. 8-25, and is presented in collaboration with with Vancouver’s Italian Cultural Centre.

Continue reading:
Five reasons to check out Seven Beauties: The Films of Lina Wertmuller

Rohmer retrospective kicks off with six moral tales of sex and desire

A scene from 1967’s La Collectionneuse.

“Boy meets girl. Boy flirts with girl. Boy leaves girl for another girl whom he already loves.”

That’s how the AV Club summarizes the plots of the films that make up Six Moral Tales. Yet while not much happens on the surface, this series of movies from French filmmaker Eric Rohmer are many a cinephile’s dream.

To celebrate Rohmer’s life (1920-2010) and work, Cinematheque is presenting an ongoing retrospective. The retrospective kicks off with Six Moral Tales, all of which focus on sexual temptation and the rationalization of desire. It’s a rare chance to see these classics, made between 1962 and 1972, on the big screen.

Continue reading:
Rohmer retrospective kicks off with six moral tales of sex and desire

Rare exploitation and horror cult films coming to Vancouver!

A scene from Demons, screening at the inaugural Northwest Horror Show film festival in Vancouver.

No, it’s not filmgoers leaving a screening of the latest Adam Sandler movie. It’s a scene from Demons, a 1985 Italian film screening at the inaugural Northwest Horror Show film festival in Vancouver.

Ah, spring. The buds are in bloom, the birds are singing, locals are taking to the streets in yogawear and shorts. What better time to take in a midnight screening of Cannibal Holocaust?

This year is the inaugural Northwest Horror Show film festival. For three days, March 20-22, Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour) will open its doors to film fans who like their movies twisted, depraved and at least a little off. Not only does the festival marks a rare chance to see cult favourites like Cannibal Holocaust, Demons and The Beyond on the big screen, but it’s bringing to town some films that have never before been screened in Vancouver.

Continue reading:
Rare exploitation and horror cult films coming to Vancouver!

Movies Italian-style at the 2015 Vancouver Italian Film Festival

Those Happy Years

Scene from Those Happy Years, screening at the second annual Italian Film Festival at Vancity Theatre.

Ah, Italian cinema! Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica – all of the greats and more will be represented at this year’s Vancouver Italian Film Festival at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St.) between Jan 9-14.

Now in its second year, the festival celebrates movies from Italy, then and now, from classics like Marriage Italian Style and 8 1/2 to new movies like Those Happy Years and A Five Star Life. Along with screenings, the film festival will feature a photo exhibition devoted to Sophia Loren and other special events. Here are some highlights.

Continue reading:
Movies Italian-style at the 2015 Vancouver Italian Film Festival