The 34th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival is just around the corner, with over 350 films from 70 countries being screened from September 24 to October 9. With so many options for the discerning filmgoer, which ones should you spend your hard-earned popcorn on? Here are our six picks for films you should add to your VIFF calendar:
Monty Python: The Meaning of Live (UK)
- The Dates: Sep 25 11:45 am International Village #10 / Oct 02 04:00 pm / Vancouver Playhouse / Oct 07 09:15 pm Centre for Performing Arts
- The Film: It’s been more than 45 years since Monty Python formed, and their influence on comedy has been massive. As we see them prepare for their final show in 2014 we meet fans of all ages, thrilled and grateful to see them in the flesh.
- The Hook: Roger Graef and James Rogan’s doc takes us behind the curtain to show John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terrys Jones and Gilliam as they really are. And guess what? They’re just as funny. The Meaning of Live is about personalities as much as performance.
My Internship In Canada (Quebec)
- The Dates: Sep 25 06:15 pm Centre for Performing Arts / Sep 27 12:45 pm International Village #9
- The Film: Steve Guibord (Patrick Huard, Starbuck, Mommy), independent Member for Prescott-Makadew à Rapides-aux-Outardes, ends up, despite himself, holding the balance of power in Parliament and must decide if Canada will go to war in the Middle-East.While travelling through his riding to consult his constituents, accompanied by his wife Suzanne and his daughter Lune, along with Souverain, an idealistic Haitian trainee, special interest groups enter into a debate that goes wrong and the Honourable Member must face the weight of his conscience.
- The Hook: Despite the subject-matter, My Internship in Canada promises to be a a laugh-out-loud political comedy that could not be more timely, especially with the federal election looming.
No Men Beyond This Point (British Columbia)
- The Dates: Sep 26 08:30 pm Rio Theatre / Oct 02 04:00 pm SFU Woodwards
- The Film: When women develop the ability to reproduce asexually and males are no longer being born, what happens to all of the remaining men? In Director Mark Sawers’ deadpan mockumentary, one becomes a housekeeper for a West Vancouver all-female family.
- The Hook: No Men Beyond This Point incorporates archival—and “archival”—footage in creating a world where men have become an endangered species. Cross Michael Moore with Y The Last Man and you have No Men Beyond This Point.
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of National Lampoon (USA)
- The Dates: Sep 24 08:45 pm Rio Theatre / Sep 27 04:15 pm SFU Woodwards
- The Film: Douglas Tirola’s documentary whisks us back to the 70s when a couple of overachieving college smartasses made good. In fact, to hear Judd Apatow tell it, “They became all of modern comedy.” Fueled by weed and indignation, they transformed a counterculture magazine into an empire and launched the careers of John Belushi, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and dozens of other luminaries.
- The Hook: National Lampoon helped launch the careers of John Belushi, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and dozens of other luminaries. Mixing anecdotes from surviving founders and illustrious collaborators, Director Douglas Tirola illustrates how the National Lampoon tapped into the attitude of the times, earned its place in the zeitgeist and established the course of comedy for decades to come.
- The Dates: Sep 27 03:30 pm Rio Theatre / Oct 04 08:45 pm Rio Theatre
- The Film: A glum stand-up (Gregg Turkington) wanders the Mojave Desert, bound for his estranged daughter but seemingly condemned to repeat the same hellish performance. In between what passes for gigs, he tries in vain to contact his daughter on the phone, visits local sites of interest, such as airplane graveyards, and shacks up for a few nights at the estate of his well-off cousin (John C. Reilly). Entertainment sets out to discover the two-bit comedy clubs of the American West and finds a country with far too much space on its hands.
- The Hook: A stellar cast of comedians and actors including Turkington as his comic persona Neil Hamburger, Tye Sheridan, Michael Cera, Amy Seimetz, and Lotte Verbeek. This is “not a film that aspires to be loved, liked, or even enjoyed in the slightest”, which of course has got us even more intrigued.
- The Dates: Sep 29 06:15 pm Vancouver Playhouse / Sep 30 01:30 pm Vancouver Playhouse
- The Film: Having butted heads with would-be rock ‘n’ roll messiahs (Dig!) and full-blown cult leaders (Join Us), Filmmaker Ondi Timoner now takes on Russell Brand, a pop culture figure who often seems more ego-and-contradictions than flesh-and-blood. As seen in this profile, he’s played the celebrity game like he wrote the rulebook and yet seems to have emerged as a born revolutionary.
- The Hook: Russell Brand is not for everyone. In fact, this biography was abandoned by six directors over seven years before Timoner proved up to the challenge. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover seems a fitting mantra for this comedian and actor turned activist
The 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival runs September 24 to October 9. For more information, visit: http://www.viff.org/festival