VIFF nabs the festival hits
> BY ADRIAN MACK
The Georgia Straight goes to press this week only hours before the Vancouver International Film Festival announces its gala closing film for 2017. This exalted position in the festival’s 16-day schedule is impossible to predict, and sometimes puzzling in retrospect. Terrence Malick’s ambitious (to say the least) IMAX doc Voyage of Time brought VIFF to a close in 2016—on paper, a definite high-five to serious festivalheads but an underwhelming performer on its subsequent general release.
Still, does it matter whether VIFF 2017 ends with a bang or a whimper? Based on an overall schedule revealed in a handful of media releases over the last few weeks, let’s wager a strong no on that one. Our pulse is already racing over a series of special presentations, including the latest features from Michael Haneke (Happy End), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Sally Potter (The Party), and Raoul Peck (The Young Karl Marx), along with the biggest sensation at Cannes this year: Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’or winner, The Square.
Lofty names also appear in the Spotlight on France series with the newest from Agnès Varda (Faces, Places) and Arnaud Desplechin (Ismael’s Ghosts) bumping up against sensations like Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute), a period piece about AIDS activism in ’90s Paris that also brought Cannes to its feet.
Speaking of Cannes, Claire’s Camera places Isabelle Huppert and The Handmaiden’s Kim Min-hee inside that very festival itself, in a smartly self-reflexive comedy from Hong Sansoo that comes to us via VIFF’S everimpressive, Asia-focused Gateway stream (which includes the audiencefavourite Dragons & Tigers series). Genre fans will note that Hong Kong
Left to right: Geoff Berner launches a new book and a new album this week as part of the Accordion Noir festival; Montreal’s TOPS has a strong commitment to the art of pop songwriting.
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