Yeti meets Smallfoot, and from VIFF, Transit and Colette, both excellent
And we get her story, both glorious and tragic, in old interviews, her diaries as read by Fanny Ardant, and home movies. Notably we get the Aristotle Onassis chapter. She had an affair with him and expected he would marry her only to find one day that Jackie Kennedy got him. She was fired from the Metropolitan Opera (not well explained), had a reputation for tempestuous outbursts (not dwelled on here) and in a way led a sad life. As she says in one TV interview with David Frost, women should be with a man and have children but destiny meant that for her it was not to be. (Sun and then Thurs the 11th, both in the afternoon)
LE GRAND BAL: Festival films can be serious. This is one of the happiest. It takes us to a village in central France where every summer for a whole week everybody is dancing. One musician is heard calling it an “acoustic” festival, meaning this dance music in a huge variety of styles is played non-electric. Most are well-known, waltzes, mazurkas, the bourree, Celtic, Greek and many others. If you don’t know them, there are workshops in the day and then non-stop dancing in nine or so tents, each with different music, until 3 in the morning. The film captures the fun, expresses the purpose (a celebration of togetherness, “peoples’ need to be touched”) and shows several magnificent sequences of dancers moving in unison. One, about half way through, is hypnotic as a whole dance floor of people moves slowly in circles chanting all the while. Talk about feel-good movies. (Sunday morning and Wednesday evening)
KINGSWAY: Although at the start you see Church’s Chicken and a brief glimpse of the 2400 Motel, it would be a stretch to say this film is about our well-travelled diagonal street. This is another of Bruce Sweeny’s comedy-dramas about people in dysfunctional families and relationships. It’s better than the last couple of his films and has vibrant dialogue delivered by a fine cast. That includes a regular: Gabrielle Rose, as a matriarch trying to keep the peace but not succeeding because she’s too nice.
Her son (Jeff Gladstone) is depressed. He thinks his wife (Colleen Rennison) is cheating on him because he saw her motorcycle parked at the motel. His sister (Camille Sullivan) is generally feisty and angry. She works as a car mechanic and has to stand up to complaining customers. She also plays detective to find out who her brother’s wife has been seeing at that motel. The mystery is secondary in this film. Neuroses and family dynamics are up front and ultimately the plot is a quest for a way to keep things together. It’s a small, modest film but it’ll keep you amused and optimistic. (It screens Sat and Mon, in the late afternoon)
FIRECRACKERS: If you’re watching for better participation by women in the movies, look no further. The director, Jasmin Mozaffari, and most her crew are women and the story is about two others. It is intense, angry and real, and without stating it so obviously, a picture of life for young women in a patriarchal society.
Michaela Kurimsky and Karena Evans play teens is a small Ontario town (the director is from one) who are anxious to get out. The film is superb at showing why and what’s in the way. They have a young man with a car who will drive them to New York. He stalls and dithers and then stands them up. There’s an ex-boyfriend who assaults, a mother who impedes, a church that beckons. Two guys offer to take them out west “where there are jobs”. It’s hard finding a way through all this and the script has the two women represent opposite ideas. One is a fighter, as seen in a vicious scrap early in the film. The other is more easy going. Both drink and swear and reflect real upsets that women have to cause sometimes. An auspicious debut by the director who originally made it as a short in film school. (Screens Fri late and Sun afternoon)
PARALLEL: Fans who like Twilight Zone-like strangeness in their movies will probably take to this one. They’ve already approved of it at the Fantasia fest in Montreal. It’s a third film from the Mexican filmmaker Isaac Ezban, who after his first two were hits, was brought to Vancouver by Bron Studios to make his English-language debut. It’s a clever tale but so twisty, I must admit I sometimes had trouble following it.
It’s a time travel film of sorts based on the difference in speed at which time advances in our world and an alternate universe that four friends discover. They find a hidden room in the house they rent (in Seattle) and a mirror which serves as a portal to that parallel world. Soon they’re going in and out of the two dimensions and finding inventions, art ideas, lottery choices and dating tips. This is fantasy, and light-hearted at first. Would Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone ever make a Frankenstein movie? Then it becomes a cautionary horror tale about rampant ambition, undeserved self-advancement and ethics. It’s well-executed but a genre item for sure. (Plays Sat evening and Sun afternoon)