Tuesday, September 02, 2008

VIFF 2008: more titles come out of the shadows

The full list of VIFF titles is still yet to be released. But even if the festival went ahead with just the sneak preview titles, then that would still be enough for it to maintain its status as probably the best film festival in the world just for film fans. Cannes has to be the best overall film festival but unfortunately that is not open for ordinary film fans.

In addition to the popular Cannes titles showing at VIFF, here are some others which catch the eye:
  • Night and Day -- For some reason Hong Sang-soo's latest film is not playing at TIFF but thankfully VIFF is showing it. The danger is that if Hong Sang-soo's films do not show in a major film festival, then it is hard to expect his films to make it to DVD anytime soon.

  • Revue -- Last year, I came across Sergei Loznitsa's Blockade which was an absorbing edited account of archived newsreel footage showing the siege of Leningrad during WWII. It was amazing to see how so much old news footage outlining the damage caused by war existed and it was even more remarkable that Loznitsa skilfully put it together. In Revue, he once again revisits archived newsreel material to document some of the Cold War situations in the Soviet Union. This should be worth the watch.

  • War, Love, God and Madness -- Mohamed Al Daradji documents the danger he and his crew faced while filming Ahlaam, the Iraqi feature he made after the 2003 invasion. I had seen Ahlaam two years ago and it was a bit shocking to see such a bleak atmosphere portrayed. But given how things in Iraq have unfolded since the film was shot in 2004, the events in Ahlaam pale in comparison to the chaos that has taken place since then. Still, I am curious to hear how Al Daradji actually managed to film a feature given the constant danger that lurked around every street corner.

  • Years When I was a Child Outside -- The new feature from John Torres. I was present in the theatre when Torres was awarded the 2006 Dragons & Tigers Award for his impressive debut feature Todo Todo Teros which skilfully moulds personal video footage along with scripted film. I was eager for his new feature and as expected VIFF is showing it.

  • If the stars line up properly, then maybe I might be able to visit VIFF again. But as it stands, I am left to drool remotely...argh...have to be careful not to let the saliva fall onto the keyboard.


    acquarello said...

    Holy cow! Liverpool, the new Darezhan Omirbaev, Nae Caranfil, a gaggle of Filipino films...and that's just a sneak preview?! If it were only a month or two shifted from NYFF, I would have loved to double dip on the selections.

    Sachin said...

    I know :) Every year for 16 days, I wish I can magically be transported to Vancouver. Last year, I spent 6 days and loved every minute...

    Pacze Moj said...

    I'll see you a Kabluey, and raise you: opening my eyes to four new filmmakers!

    Although I've never been to a film festival, the fact they exist (and post their screening schedules online) at least lets me make indirect film discoveries.

    PS: I'm enjoying Galeano's Football in Sun and Shadow very much.