After 16 days, some 300-plus 2
features, and a staggering number of tickets sold, the 36th annual Vancouver International Film Festival wraps up at the Centre on Friday (October 13) with a gala screening of director Todd Haynes’s latest, Wonderstruck. But there’s still lots to catch up with before then. Here are a few of the best flicks screening in the final days before the flickering projector lamp is once again extinguished for the year.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (USA/ Italy/france) A sun-drenched 1983 summer in picturesque northern Italy becomes a pivotal one for Elio (Timothée Chalamet) when a Jewish-american doctoral student, Oliver (Armie Hammer), arrives to be the new assistant to Elio’s archaeology-professor father. Although Elio is pursuing a local French girl, Oliver’s presence arouses desire in him. While the essential elements are all there in the film’s sensual textures, there’s a strange sloppiness around its edges: choppy editing, brisk pacing at odds with its languid subject matter, ill-defined character behaviour, and a lopsided focus on Elio’s attraction to Oliver, with little indication of covert mutual flirtation characteristic of closeted gay men. That said, it’s a passionate, visually rich romance, by I Am Love director Luca Guadagnino, that particularly excels in its refreshing take on the permissiveness that’s possible through liberalism guided by knowledge and experience. Centre, October 12 (3:15 p.m.) > CRAIG TAKEUCHI DJANGO (France) First-time director Etienne Comar goes waaaay off reality to bring cloak-and-dagger swag to the two-hour tale of famed Romany guitarist Django Reinhardt and how he left Nazioccupied Paris at the height of the war. But Reda Kateb is a convincing stand-in for the hugely influential Belgian musician, and the tunes— played by the Rosenberg Trio and others—are exceptionally well integrated into the tale. The stately Cécile de France, complete with Veronica Lake mane, plays his partner in unlikely espionage, and those bits play like Inglourious Basterds with a better soundtrack. SFU, October 12 (6 p.m.) > KEN EISNER
GARDEN STORE: FAMILY FRIEND
(Czech Republic) The start-and-end location of the first installment of this time-spanning Czech-tv trilogy is what we would (and the movie should) call a nursery. This hothouse for rare plants is also home to an early resistance to the Nazi takeover, in 1939, and a place for remembrance when the war is finished. It’s more melodramatic than what we’re used to seeing from the reliable directingand-writing team of Jan Hrebejk and Petr Jarchovský, who covered related territory in Divided We Fall. But it features some of their favourite actors in handsomely designed and shot settings, and the story picks up steam as it moves along. The family friend of the title is a young doctor who falls in love with a woman whose husband is grabbed by the Gestapo. Playhouse, October 12 (3:45 p.m.) > KE MOTHERLAND (Philippines/usa) Welcome to the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, where cots are chock-a-block in a giant dormitory, women in labour share single beds, and nurses hand out kangaroolike tube tops because of an incubator shortage. For anyone who’s ever complained about not having a private room for their delivery at a western hospital, Ramona S. Diaz’s verité documentary about a Manila maternity ward is at once eye-opening, sobering, and, often, overwhelming. At some points it seems like babies are popping out everywhere you look—including one who’s the Philippines’ 100 millionth citizen. Though the resilience and humour are inspiring—both in the staff and the patients—birth isn’t always something to celebrate here. Rather,