by Johnny Papan
The Vancouver International Film Festival has been showing the latest and greatest of homegrown and international cinema since 1982.
This year’s festival runs from September 27 through to October 12, utilizing ten of Vancouver’s finest venues including the Orpheum, Rio, and Vancouver Playhouse to showcase some of the world’s most anticipated upcoming films.
With an Official Selection spanning several genres from all over the globe, this year’s VIFF is not one to miss out on. Out of the many great films to choose from, here are our top 10 picks for VIFF 2018.
1) THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT
Opening the festival will be The Hummingbird Project, directed by Kim Nguyen and starring Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård. Nguyen was previously Oscar nominated for her dramatic war-film War Witch, also known as Rebelle.
The Hummingbird Project follows two cousins who, using their contrast of brains and social skills, hope to create a thousand-mile long fibre optic cable that will shave one millisecond from the New York Stock Exchange—an advantage that could reap them millions of dollars in profits. However, they run into several challenges and make even more enemies, most notably their former boss (played by Salma Hayek).
2) VOX LUX
Starring Natalie Portman, Stacy Martin, and Jude Law, Vox Lux follows the story of Celeste, who rose from the depths of a terrorist attack to become a pop-music superstar. After derailing her career with a major scandal, Celeste writes her sixth album, Vox Lux, a collection of sci-fi anthems meant to ignite her big comeback. While touring, Celeste faces personal struggles involving her family, fame, mental health, and motherhood.
3) THE FRONT RUNNER
Hugh Jackman takes on the role of Gary Hart, a democratic presidential nominee, in The Front Runner. The odds are in Hart’s favour until rumours of an extramarital affair begin to surface, causing his political career to implode. Directed by Jason Reitman (recognized for films such as Thank You for Smoking, Juno, and Up in the Air), The Front Runner proves that privacy was gone long before the rise of the internet.
Portrayed by Keira Knightley, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was a French writer, actor and feminist icon whose work caused an uproar in the early 1900s. The biopic Colette showcases Colette’s upbringing and unveiling of her work, while also shining a light on her distraught relationship with Willy, the lover who took credit for her first four novels.
5) BOY ERASED
Boy Erased is a coming-of-age drama surrounding 19-year-old Jared (played by Lucas Hedges), a young gay man whose parents—a baptist minister (Russell Crowe) and a god-fearing mother (Nicole Kidman)—cannot accept his coming out. He finds himself pressured into conversion therapy as his loved ones try to convince him that orientation is a choice. Jared struggles as he tries to decide whether he should live a lie, or accept his sexual orientation and put the love of his friends and family at risk.
6) THE HAPPY PRINCE
Written, directed, and starring Rupert Everett, The Happy Prince encapsulates the final years of legendary writer Oscar Wilde. After two years of imprisonment for being homosexual, Wilde lives in poverty, estranged from regular contact with his wife and children. He fills the void of loneliness with a self-destructive lifestyle fuelled by drugs, alcohol, and multiple sexual partners, yet maintains his ironic sense of humour until his bitter end.
7) THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN
Star Robert Redford announced The Old Man and the Gun will be his final film as an actor, which is only one reason not to miss this film! The crime-comedy is based on the true life of Forrest Tucker, a criminal and escape artist, who successfully slithered his way out of prison an astonishing 18 times. Tucker is also regarded as one of the world’s most notable bank-robbers, who solidified his infamy when he conducted his final heist at the age of 78 years old.
Non-Fiction is a social comedy set in the modern publishing world. The death of print-media is forcing a stressed-out publisher to transition his publication into the digital realm with the help of a young woman. The publisher is in a rocky relationship with a successful actress who has gotten bored with him. Soon, the marriage of an obnoxious novelist and political operative is put under stress, leading to a flurry of sharp wit and intelligent comedy from the entire cast.
With 12 films taking part in VIFF 2018, director Olivier Assayas is considered a VIFF favourite.
Clara centres around astronomer Isaac Bruno (played by Patrick J. Adams), a rational man fascinated with discovering life beyond Planet Earth. Despite his grave efforts to prove otherwise, Isaac is convinced that we may be the only lifeforms in the entire universe. When painter Clara (Troian Bellisario) steps in as his new research assistant, the duo make an unbelievable astronomical discovery.
However, Isaac’s obsession with life beyond the stars causes strain in his personal and professional relationships, especially when his rational mind prevents him from believe anything beyond cold, hard data.
10) SHARKWATER EXTINCTION
In this posthumous release, Canadian documentarian Rob Stewart (who sadly passed away during the film’s production) races across the globe to showcase the corruption that is putting sharks in peril. A follow-up to his highly impactful film Sharkwater, it’s clear that Stewart’s unwavering passion for these sea creatures will live on in his inspirational message that we have the power to effect change.
Sharkwater Extinction is a stunning piece filmed in 6K that encourages viewers to face stigmas, overcome fears, and look at the world with a sense of wonder, powerful statements that will solidify Stewart’s legacy.
You can check out the rest of the VIFF 2018 Official Selection and get tickets on the VIFF website.
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