Home Video: Vancouver International Film Fest Favourites and Where to Buy, Rent, or Stream them

Mads Mikkelsen / Another Round

The 2021 Vancouver Film Festival is on now, and this is my sixth time covering it. Every year, there is a wide array of films to be seen, but one or two stand out. So this week in Home Video, here are five favourite films from past VIFFs!

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VIFF Review: The Face of an Angel

A few years ago, a young British woman was murdered in Sienna, Italy. The case gained worldwide attention as the girls’ American roommate, and friend was accused, tried, and convicted of the crime and then later acquitted on appeal.

_The Face of an Angel_ is a fictionalization of this case. Sort of. Rather than going for the true crime, based on a true story type film, director Michael Winterbottom and writer Paul Viragh instead opt to tell the story of a washed-up film director in Sienna trying to find a story among the city, the massive media presence, and local characters during the appeal trial.

Yes, we’re basically talking about a director making a film about a director trying to make a film about a real-life story. And also using _Dante’s Inferno_ as a frame for the story. Yeah. It’s a bit weird. Not what I’d call bad, but definitely weird.

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VIFF Review: Foxcatcher

Bennett Miller has a pretty good track record. His last two films, _Capote_ and _Moneyball_, were both nominated for best picture, for both he was nominated for best director, and for both his main actors were nominated for acting awards. It looks like he’s going to keep the streak alive with _Foxcatcher_, which is a superbly directed, superbly acted, superbly compelling film.

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VIFF Review: Mr. Turner

I’ve said before that one of the things I love about movies is those few occasions when I get to witness one of the great performances of our time; when an actor disappears into a role completely, and I can forget even the most familiar of faces as belonging to an actor I’ve seen before and instead see the character that they are playing.

This doesn’t happen quite as often as you might think, but it happened today when I saw _Mr. Turner_ in which Timothy Spall played famed British painter J.M.W. Turner.

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VIFF Review: Black Fly

When writer-director Jason Bourque was a boy, his family moved to St. John, New Brunswick. The move to a rural area was meant to be a peaceful one, but as it turns out, their new neighbour was a serial killer.

The Bourque’s didn’t suffer any losses at his hands, but Jason, now based in Vancouver, has turned that experience into a taut thriller called _Black Fly_.

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Mommy Trailer: VIFF Hit Is Canada’s Selection To Compete For Best Foreign Language Oscar


Xavier Dolan’s VIFF has been officially selected to compete for the foreign language oscar. Hooray! There are no more showings at VIFF. Boooo! There’s a trailer you can watch! Hooray!

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VIFF Review: Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets

Pulp: a Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets is an easy film to recommend. If you’re a fan of the band, then you should definitely want to check out the story of the band’s final concert –played in their hometown of Sheffield– and if you’re not a fan of the band, then you should check out the story of a band winding down, getting ready to stop playing, and wanting on last great night of rock and roll before they go.

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VIFF Review: Miss and the Doctors

Miss and the Doctors

You know what’s refreshing? A movie about a romance between adults, made by adults and for adults. Miss and the Doctors, or Tirez la Langue, Mademoiselle (Stick Out Your Tongue, Miss, roughly translated) if you prefer the original french title, is just that. It’s a romantic drama about two brothers, opposites dependant on one another, who fall for the same woman, and how their relationship changes as a result.

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VIFF Review: Maps to the Stars

Maps to the Stars

David Cronenberg makes two kinds of films: Great ones and weird ones. I’m honestly not sure which category _Maps to the Stars_ falls into. On the one hand, it’s a biting indictment of Hollywood and the stars who live there and featuring some completely amazing performances, but on the other, it’s a muddled mess of slow-moving plots, some of which are never resolved.

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