12 Sep Halifax film screening picks — September 12-18 (Atlantic Film Festival edition 1)
The Atlantic Film Festival—challenging films, challenging website. OK most of the films aren’t really that challenging, but the new website is an act of digital sadism that I haven’t seen the like of in some time. That as may be, I have braved the digital frontier to come back with a dozen picks for the weekend phase of this year’s edition:
- Old Stone (Lao shi) [AFF] [TIFF] — Said to be a remarkably mature debut for Chinese-Canadian writer-director Johnny Ma, “exposing with stunning clarity the infuriating red tape and flawed logic of China’s system.”
- Multiple Maniacs [AFF] [TIFF] — The long out-of-circulation second feature by John Waters “restored to its full revolting glory.”
- Weirdos [AFF] [TIFF] — I love the idea of a Bruce McDonald remix of Going Down the Road in theory; I’m crossing my fingers that it works out in practice. As of this writing the Friday gala is sold out but the Saturday repeat screening still has tickets available.
- Toni Erdmann [AFF] [TIFF] — “Here is the world’s first genuinely funny, 162-minute German comedy of embarrassment.” Pretty much the best-reviewed movie of this year, and for sure the most buzzed-about, this film is very much at the top of my personal most-anticipated list.
- Tharlo [AFF] — “Pema Tseden’s magnificent Tharlo, the Tibetan auteur’s fifth feature and the film in which he decisively transcends the influence of Abbas Kiarostami…” Wait, there’s a Tibetan auteur who is strongly influenced by Abbas Kiarostami? How did I not know this?
- Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming) [AFF] [TIFF] — Canadian animator Ann Marie Fleming enlists the vocal talents of Sandra Oh, Ellen Page and Don McKellar for this story of a young Canadian poet attending a poetry festival in Iran. Loving this unlikely premise and indeed awkwardly long title.
- American Honey [AFF] | [TIFF] — Director Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, Wuthering Heights) picked up the Jury Prize (third place, effectively) at Cannes for this über-buzzed film.
- Personal Shopper [AFF] | [TIFF] — One of my favourite directors of recent years, Olivier Assayas, shared the Best Director award at Cannes for a film that generated boos at one screening and a four-minute standing ovation at the next.
- Things to Come (L’Avenir) [AFF] [TIFF] — A remarkable pairing of directorial talent in Mia Hansen-Løve and acting talent in Isabelle Huppert: “Huppert is such a persistently and prolifically rigorous performer that she risks being taken for granted in some of her vehicles, but this is major, many-shaded work even by her lofty standards.”
- I, Daniel Blake [AFF] [TIFF] — Ken Loach, Palme D’Or, ’nuff said.
- Trespass Against Us [AFF] [TIFF] — Speaking of magic combos, how can you say no to Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson in the same film?
- Werewolf [AFF] [TIFF] — Cape Breton director Ashley McKenzie follows up her well-regarded short films with her first feature, a portrait of a couple living a hardscrabble life with methadone addiction.
Before the festival kicks off on Thursday, on Wednesday night at Cineplex Park Lane you can get a virtual taste of the big-city festival experience with a special premiere of the new Oliver Stone political thriller Snowden, where the film is followed by a live-via-satellite Q&A featuring Stone and the film’s subject, Edward Snowden.
There are some pretty excellent screenings out of town this week as well: on Tuesday, King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal has Terence Davies’ Sunset Song, while Fundy Cinema‘s Wednesday documentary screening is Hockney. On Sunday, Fundy has one of the better films from last year’s festival: Simon Stone’s excellent update of Ibsen’s The Daughter.
- In theatres, new/notable:
- Halifax area screening picks for this week:
- Monday (Sep 12) — Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Cineplex Park Lane, 4:30pm, $6.99. Nicholas Meyer, USA, 1982, 112 minutes.
- Tuesday (Sep 13) — Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Cineplex Park Lane, 7pm, $6.99. Nicholas Meyer, USA, 1982, 112 minutes.
- Wednesday (Sep 14) — Snowden (Premiere Live – a Conversation with Oliver Stone), Cineplex Park Lane, 8:30pm, $14.95. Oliver Stone, USA, 2016, 134 minutes + Q&A.
- Friday (Sep 16) — Old Stone (Lao shi), Cineplex Park Lane, 1:30pm, AFF: tickets. Johnny Ma, Canada/China, 2016, 80 minutes.
— Multiple Maniacs, Cineplex Park Lane, 3pm, AFF: tickets. John Waters, USA, 1970, 91 minutes.
— Weirdos, Cineplex Oxford, 7pm, AFF: tickets. Bruce McDonald, Canada, 2016, 89 minutes.
— Toni Erdmann, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:15pm, AFF: tickets. Maren Ade, Germany, 2016, 162 minutes.
- Saturday (Sep 17) — Tharlo, Cineplex Park Lane, 2pm, AFF: tickets. Pema Tseden, China, 2015, 123 minutes.
— Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming), Cineplex Park Lane, 4:30pm, AFF: tickets. Ann Marie Fleming, Canada, 2016, 88 minutes.
— Weirdos, Cineplex Park Lane, 6:30pm, AFF: tickets. Bruce McDonald, Canada, 2016, 89 minutes.
— American Honey, Cineplex Oxford, 7pm, AFF: tickets. Andrea Arnold, UK/USA, 2016, 158 minutes.
— Personal Shopper, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:30pm, AFF: tickets. Olivier Assayas, France, 2016, 105 minutes.
- Sunday (Sep 18) — Things to Come (L’Avenir), Cineplex Park Lane, 6:30pm, AFF: tickets. Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany, 2016, 100 minutes.
— I, Daniel Blake, Cineplex Park Lane, 7pm, AFF: tickets. Ken Loach, UK/France/Belgium, 2016, 100 minutes.
— Trespass Against Us, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:30pm, AFF: tickets. Adam Smith, UK, 2016, 94 minutes.
— Werewolf, Cineplex Park Lane, 9:45pm, AFF: tickets. Ashley McKenzie, Canada, 2016, 78 minutes.
- Annapolis Valley screening picks for this week:
- Tuesday (Sep 13) — Sunset Song, King’s Theatre (209 St. George St., Annapolis Royal), 7:30pm, $8. Terence Davies, UK/Luxembourg, 2015, 135 minutes
- Wednesday (Sep 14) — Hockney, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 7pm, $9. Randall Wright, UK, 2014, 112 minutes.
- Sunday (Sep 18) — The Daughter, Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street, Wolfville), 4pm & 7pm, $9. Simon Stone, Australia, 2015, 95 minutes.