Check out some of the films we have screened at Reel Movie Mondays.
Screened - MAY 7, 2018
Directed by Ziad Doueiri, Rated 14A
France / Lebanon | 113 minutes | Arabic w/English subtitles, The Archive
HISTORY | DRAMA | GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | SOCIAL JUSTICE | NORTH AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN
One afternoon in the dog days of a Beirut summer, Tony gets into an altercation with Yasser over a broken drainpipe. Tony is a mechanic and a Christian. Yasser is a construction foreman and a Palestinian. When Tony, hard-nosed and hot-headed, refuses to accept Yasser's half-hearted apology, two bruised male egos begin to swell. Tony utters an unforgiveable insult to Yasser. With a speed neither man could foresee, their personal argument escalates through the neighbourhood and the city to the national stage. The dispute comes to encapsulate the lasting legacy of the Lebanese Civil War — and becomes a lightning rod for people with more power than either man to pursue their own agendas. Co-written with Joelle Touma, The Insult is an impeccably made political drama, layered with clever observations on the complex history of the region.
“The Insult, Lebanon's Oscar candidate, delivers an honest assessment of the conflict between decency and cruelty that rages in every nation, neighborhood and heart.” - A.O. Scott, The NYTimes
Principal Cast: Adel Karam, Kamel El Basha, Camille Salameh, Diamand Bou Abboud, Rita Hayek, Talal Jurdi, Christine Choueiri
Screened - APRIL 23, 2018
Directed by Samuel Maoz, Rated 14A
Israel, Germany, France, Switzerland | 114 min. | Hebrew, Arabic, German w/English subtitles, Mongrel Media
DRAMA | LIFE EXPERIENCES | CONFLICT | NORTH AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN
The reported death of an upper-class Israeli couple's soldier son sparks a series of tragicomically absurd events, in the new film from award-winning filmmaker Samuel Maoz.
Maoz's follow-up to his debut feature Lebanon (which won the Golden Lion at the 2009 Venice Film Festival) focuses on upper-class Israeli couple Michael (Lior Ashkenazi) and Dafna (Sarah Adler), who experience gut-wrenching grief when army officials show up at their home to announce the death of their son Jonathan while on duty. Unable to find solace in the well-meaning condolences of their extended family or the empty patriotic platitudes of bureaucrats, Michael spirals into anger, only to subsequently experience one of life's unfathomable twists — a twist that can only be rivaled by the surreal military experiences of his son. Moving from the grieving parents' apartment to the remote military post where Jonathan was stationed, Foxtrot shows us precisely how much damage can ensue when young soldiers, barely able to tell their toe from a trigger, experience boredom, privation, and loneliness.
“Brilliantly constructed with a visual audacity that serves the subject rather than the other way around, this is award-winning filmmaking on a fearless level.” - Jay Weissberg, Variety
Principal Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Sarah Adler, Yonaton Shiray
Screened - APRIL 9, 2018
THE DEATH OF STALIN
Directed by Armando Iannucci, Rated 14A
France, United Kingdom, Belgium | 107 minutes | English, Elevation Pictures
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES | SOCIAL JUSTICE | HISTORY
A specialist in black humour whose television and film work includes the scathing political satires The Thick of It, Veep, and the Oscar-nominated In the Loop, Armando Iannucci is in his element with this acerbic send-up of the Soviet Supremo and his band of scheming bootlicks. Deploying a wide range of English-speaking actors with an assortment of accents — Cockney, Brooklyn, Liverpool — Iannucci sends a not-so-subtle message that Stalin and his inner circle were a bunch of arrivistes who wound up at the helm of a Cold War superpower.
The year is 1953. Joseph Stalin seems in hale (albeit paranoid) condition, terrorizing everyone, summarily killing off any suspected dissenters, and keeping even his cronies on edge. That comes to an abrupt halt one morning when the dictator is found belly-up on the floor of his office following a stroke. What follows is Iannucci's version of hijinks: the plotting and jostling for power by a group of connivers who cowered under their boss. All of the top lackeys are in contention — milquetoast Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), wiseguy Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), bewildered Molotov (Michael Palin), thuggish Zhukov (Jason Isaacs), and depraved Beria (Simon Russell Beale), with Stalin's drunken son Vasily (Rupert Friend) and jaded daughter Svetlana (Andrea Riseborough) off to the side. They move with the clumsiness of aspirants not up to the job but desperate for it anyway. Within the burlesque of The Death of Stalin is a timely allegory about venal, unfit leaders and corrupt governance — the kind of comedy that is Iannucci's specialty. It's not hard to imagine similar, if less bloody, events unfolding in a different capital today.
"A riotous farce of doublespeak and plotting laced with moments of bitumen-black horror." - Philip De Semlyen, Time Out
Principal Cast: Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough, Paul Chahidi, Dermot Crowley, Adrian McLoughlin, Paul Whitehouse, Jeffrey Tambor
Screened - MARCH 26, 2018
A FANTASTIC WOMAN
Directed by Sebastián Lelio, Rated 14A
Chile | 103 minutes | Spanish w/English subtitles, Mongrel Media
LGBTQ | SOCIAL JUSTICE | LIFE EXPERIENCES | IDENTITY LATIN AMERICAN
When her significantly older boyfriend dies under what is made out to be suspicious circumstances, transgender woman Marina (Daniela Vega) comes into conflict with both the man's family and the authorities, forcing her to fight not only to clear her name, but for the one thing she demands above all: respect. Making nods to Almodóvar and Fassbinder, the new film from Chilean director Sebastián Lelio (Gloria) is both an incisive character study and an alluring exercise in style.
"Chilean director Sebastián Lelio and star Daniela Vega give the growing bracket of transgender drama a new, luminous touchstone work." - Guy Lodge, Variety
Principle Cast: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco
Screened - MARCH 12, 2018
Directed by Nora Twomey - Rated PG | Canada/ Ireland/Luxembourg | 93 minutes | English, Elevation Pictures
Female director; award attention; literary adaptation.
From executive producer Angelina Jolie and Cartoon Saloon, creators of the Academy Award (R)-nominated The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, comes the highly-anticipated new feature based on Deborah Ellis' bestseller. The Breadwinner tells the story of Parvana, a 12-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is arrested, Parvana dresses as a boy in order to work and provide for her family. Together with her best friend Shauzia, she risks discovery to try to find out if her father is still alive.
"The Breadwinner is a well-crafted and inspiring story with an important message about female empowerment, embodied in heroic Parvana, something people of all ages should embrace." - Bruce Demara, Toronto Star
Principal Cast: Saara Chaudry, Laara Sadiq, Shaista Latif
Screened FEBRUARY 26, 2018
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Directed by Luca Guadagnino - Rated 14A, |Italy/France/Brazil | 130 minutes | English, Italian, French, German w/English subtitles, Mongrel Media
Award attention; literary adaptation; coming of age (underage love); LGBTQ+.
It's the summer of 1983, in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman, (Timothée Chalamet) a 17-year-old American-Italian boy spends his days in his family's 17th century villa lazily transcribing music and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). One day Oliver, (Armie Hammer) a charming, 24-year-old American scholar working on his doctorate arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture. Amidst the sun-drenched splendor of this sensual setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.
Principal Cast: Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Timothée Chalamet
Screened FEBRUARY 12, 2018
THE DIVINE ORDER
Directed by Petra Volpe - Rated PG, Switzerland | 96 min. | German w/English subtitles, FilmsWeLike
1971: Nora is a young housewife and mother, living in a quaint little village with her husband and their two sons. The Swiss countryside is untouched by the major social upheavals the movement of 1968 has brought about. Nora’s life is not affected either; she is a quiet person who is liked by everybody – until she starts to publicly fight for women’s suffrage, which the men are due to vote on in a ballot on February 7, 1971.
Principal Cast: Marie Leuenberger, Maximilian Simonischek, Rachel Braunschweig
Screened - JANUARY 28, 2018
Directed by John Carroll Lynch - Rated 14A, USA | 88 minutes | English, FilmsWeLike
Critically acclaimed; boundary-pushing; pre-release.
"Lucky" follows the spiritual journey of a 90 year old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town. Having out lived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self-exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment.
Acclaimed character actor John Carroll Lynch's directorial debut, "Lucky", is at once a love letter to the life and career of Harry Dean Stanton as well as a meditation on mortality, loneliness, spirituality, and human connection.
Principal Cast: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston
Screened - JANUARY 15, 2018
Directed by Agnès Varda, JR - Rated PG. France | 89 minutes | French w/English subtitles, MK2
Crowd-pleasing; critically acclaimed; female director.
In Faces Places, 88-year-old nouvelle vague legend Agnès Varda teams up with 33-year-old French photographer and muralist JR to create an enchanting travelogue/road movie. Sharing a lifelong passion for images and the means by which they are created, displayed and shared, the duo hits the road to travel through France’s small villages, meeting locals, learning their stories, and producing epic-size portraits of them on houses, barns, storefronts and trains. Faces Placesdocuments these heartwarming encounters, as well as the unlikely, tender friendship Varda and JR formed along the way.
Principle Cast: Agnès Varda, JR
Screened - NOVEMBER 27, 2017
Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein, Drama, Rated PG, USA | 82 minutes | Yiddish w/English subtitles, Mongrel Media
Deep in the heart of New York's ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, Menashe-a kind, hapless grocery store clerk-struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven, following his wife Leah's death. Tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, so Rieven's strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven before Leah's memorial. It's his chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood, and restore respect among his doubters.
Principal Cast: Menashe Lustig, Yoel Falkowitz
Screened - NOVEMBER 13, 2017
THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE
Directed by Aki Kaurismäki, Drama, Not Yet Rated, Finland/Germany | 100 minutes | Finnish, English, Arabic, Swedish w/ English subtitles, FilmsWeLike
Returning with his first feature in six years since his Film Circuit arthouse favourite Le Havre, Finnish master Aki Kaurismäki (The Man Without a Past) delivers what can be considered the second chapter of his PortCities Trilogy. In his distinctive anachronistic, yet tonally rich style, Kaurismäki paints the unlikely bond between a Syrian refugee and a middle-aged menswear salesman.
Khaled (newcomer Sherwan Haji) worked as a mechanic in Aleppo before fleeing in a coal ship container and accidently landing on the shores of Helsinki. He emerges from his hiding place covered head to toe in black dust, an alien in an unfamiliar town. Wikstrom (Sakari Kuosmanen), deeply unsatisfied with his life, leaves his prickly, alcoholic wife and offloads his remaining stock of men’s shirts to fund a career change. After taking a risk at a highstakes poker game, Wikstrom is presented with a new breath of life that eventually connects and collides both men in an unpredictable friendship.
Deftly mixing tragedy and wry humour, Kaurismäki builds a story of an unlikely community coming together under difficult circumstances. This idiosyncratic fable on the refugee crisis could not be more humane and timely.
Screened - OCTOBER 30, 2017
Directed by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, Animated/Biography/Drama, Not Yet Rated
UK/Poland | 95 minutes | English, Mongrel Media
Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully painted feature film. Written & Directed by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, produced by Poland’s BreakThru Films & UK’s Trademark Films.
The film brings the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to life to tell his remarkable story. Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil-painting handpainted by 125 professional oil-painters who travelled from all across Europe to the Loving Vincent studios in Poland and Greece to be a part of the production. As remarkable as Vincent’s brilliant paintings, is his passionate and ill-fated life, and mysterious death.
No other artist has attracted more legends than Vincent van Gogh. Variously labelled a martyr, a lustful satyr, a madman, a genius and a layabout, the real Vincent is at once revealed in his letters, and obscured by myth and time. Vincent himself said in his last letter: ‘We cannot speak other than by our paintings’. We take him at his word and let the paintings tell the real story of Vincent van Gogh.
Loving Vincent was first shot as a live action film with actors then hand-painted over frame-by-frame in oils. The final effect is an interaction of the performance of the actors playing Vincent’s famous portraits, and the performance of the painting animators, bringing these characters into the medium of paint. Loving Vincent stars famous faces to match the famous paintings they portray.
Principal Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Chris O'Dowd, Douglas Booth, Helen McCrory, Jerome Flynn, Robert Gulaczyk
Screened - OCTOBER 16, 2017
Directed by Justin Chadwick, period drama - 14A
UK/USA | 107 minutes | English, eOne
When wealthy merchant Cornelis (Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds) commissions a portrait of his beautiful wife Sophia (Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl), an irrepressible passion begins to bloom
between Sophia and the talented young artist (Dane DeHaan) hired to commit her beauty to canvas. As the young star-crossed lovers hinge their future together on an investment in the risky tulip market, tensions build and deceptions abound as the stakes grow higher.
Beautifully shot in muted palettes reminiscent of Vermeer, Tulip Fever features quietly powerful performances from its two leads, as well as another wonderfully ominous turn from the Academy Award-winning Waltz. Dame Judi Dench also brings her infamously dry wit to the role of a cheeky abbess.
Tulip Fever interweaves the narrative of one of the most astonishing economic events in European history with a deeply intimate tale of desire, betrayal, and perilous ambition.
Principal Cast: Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan, Judi Dench
Screened - OCTOBER 2, 2017
THE BIG SICK
Directed by Michael Showalter, comedy/romance, rated 14A
USA | 119 minutes | English, Urdu, Elevation Pictures
Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, THE BIG SICK tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Kazan) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he's never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.
Principle Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano
Screened SEPTEMBER 18, 2017 - This was an Encore screening
Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, Australia 2015 - Black Comedy| 118 minutes | English, Rated 14A, eOne
This wickedly comic drama stars Kate Winslet as a worldly dressmaker returning to the Australian backwater that exiled her. The Dressmaker is a sumptuous, saucy, and scandalous tale of love and vengeance in the mid-1950s. It also has the most fabulous gowns this side of the red carpet.
Tilly Dunnage (Winslet) arrives in the small town of Dungatar like a gunslinger: broad-brimmed hat on her head, sleek pumps on her feet, trusty Singer sewing machine at her side. When Tilly is hired to design and custom-make haute couture for the more rebellious local ladies, a battle line is drawn: on one side, those who love Tilly’s progressive style, and on the other side, Dungatar’s conservative busybody contingent.
Principle Cast: Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving