The Calgary International Film Festival just announced that Harry Dean Stanton’s last film, Lucky, has been added to the schedule.
That’s exciting news!
I’ve been looking forward to catching this film ever since I came across the trailer about a month ago. Hooray for last minute additions! But Lucky is only one of over 200 films you can see at this year’s festival which runs from Wednesday September 20th to Sunday October 1st. You can check out my picks for the festival below or head over to the Calgary International Film Festival web site and check out the entire festival line up of films, galas and behind the screen events.
“Harry Dean Stanton is Lucky, an offbeat 90-year-old atheist in a small desert town, in John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut that focuses on mortality and loneliness.”
Reasons for wanting to see: Harry Dean Stanton – David Lynch – and a tortoise named President Roosevelt. Need I say more, ladies and gentlemen?
Joe Leydon from Variety says, “Everything Harry Dean Stanton has done in his career, has brought him to his moment of triumph in “Lucky,” an unassumingly wonderful little film about nothing in particular and everything that’s important.”
- Wednesday September 27, 9:45 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 5
- Sunday October 1, 4:45 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 1
AWARDS: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Locarno Film Festival
“Two men must relive the most terrible day of their lives in this expertly written thriller from Korean director Cho Sun-ho.”
Reason for wanting to see: I like time loop movies like Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow or Source Code. Need I say more? Need I say more? Need I say more?
John DeFore from the Hollywood reporter says, “…the story pushes into themes of guilt, revenge and forgiveness, finding a resolution that is both unexpected and poignant.”
- Saturday September 23, 7:15 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 6
- Wednesday September 27, 10:00 pm at Cineplex Eau Claire 6
“In this dark comedy, an Arab Israeli’s midlife crises provokes a scheme to sell bottles of Nazareth’s “Holy Air” to tourists.”
Reason for wanting to see: What can I say – religious comedy – almost as good as political comedy and this seems to have both.
Sheri Lindon from the Hollywood Reporter says, “Adult growing pains, regional politics and the business of religion all figure in Holy Air, a winning satiric comedy that’s as tenderhearted as it is sly.”
- Thursday September 28, 6:45 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 6
- Sunday October 1, 4:30 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 3
AWARDS: FIPRESCI Prize Jerusalem Film Festival 2017
“A feast for the senses, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts is a creative extension of the Spaghetti Western sub-genre. In fact, since the film is deeply rooted in its Indonesian settlings, from rugged locales of Sumba island to cultural details, it can be called the world’s first “Satay Western”. A term coined by Maggie Lee of Variety.”
Reason for wanting to see it: I love Spaghetti Westerns and this looks like a really interesting story of revenge and survival. Plus, it seems to have elements of dark comedy which I’m sure I’d enjoy.
A.A. Dowd from AV Club says, “It’s a small. offbeat movie, punctuated by bursts of terrible violence but also infused with a winning strain of deadpan humor…”
- Friday September 22, 10:15 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 2
- Saturday September 30, 4:45 PM at Globe Cinema Upstairs
“Seemingly perfect couple Lisa and Dan plan a steamy swingers weekend, but things go south when a third couple drops by unexpectedly.”
Reason for wanting to see it: I love the concept. A third couple drops by unexpectedly. Which just proves that things never go as expected, or four is company six is a crowd.
Plus, next to political comedy and religious comedy you can’t beat a good sex comedy. Sex is one of our fundamental drives and it shapes us and motivates us to be and do things we’re not always willing to share on Facebook – unless of course you’re a Kardashian.
- Wednesday September 27, 7:30 PM at Globe Cinema Downstairs
- Friday September 29, 5:00 PM at Globe Cinema Downstairs
Guests In Attendance: Writer/Director Jonathan Cohen and Writer/Producer Nicola Sammeroff at both screenings
“Follow the conservationists, scientists and activists battling poachers and criminal networks to save elephants and rhinos from extinction.”
Reason for seeing it: What seems to make this documentary more compelling than others on the same subject is the fact that filmmaker Kate Brooks has a background in conflict photography and she takes those skills and applies them to her film about the war against extinction.
Fionnuala Halligan chief film critic for SCREENDAILY says, “What distinguishes The Last Animals from other films on the subject is the raw urgency of Brooks’ direct conflict reportage: she is a war correspondent who lets us understand that what is happening here is nothing short of an all-out battle. After all, who are we, she asks, as guardians of this planet, if we allow the slaughter of these mystical, beautiful beasts to continue.”
- Saturday September 30, 4:00 PM at Globe Cinema Downstairs
- Sunday October 1, 7:15 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 2
Awards: Hot Docs: Audience Award – Fourth Place – Northwest Fest: Best International Feature – Sheffield International Documentary Festival: Environment Film Award Nominee – Tribeca: Disruptor Award
Guest in attendance: Director Kate Brooks in attendance at both screenings
To find out more about the film and what you can do to help check out The Last Animals Web Site.
The Calgary International Film Festival has a number of Behind the Screen events including a Film Location Road Trip and Barbecue as well as several panels and talks with film makers including a Conversation with Playwright and Screenwriter David Hare. This is a free event you just need to RSVP in order to attend.
Hare is in Calgary for the World Premiere of his full length animated feature Wall. “In Wall playwright David Hare visits Jerusalem, Ramallah and Nablus, accompanied by Israeli and Palestinian guides in order to examine the personal, social, political, and economic implications of this imposing edifice whose very existence contravenes international law.”
Reason for seeing it: What a terrific opportunity to hear about the writing and film making process from someone who has spent his life in theatre and film. Plus the film is timely with talk of more walls going up. Walls that will only divide us not unite us.
- In Conversation with David Hare Sunday September 24, 3:30 pm Cineplex Eau Claire 3
- Screening of Wall Monday September 25, 6:30 PM at Globe Cinema Downstairs
- Screening of Wall Sunday October 1, 1:00 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 2
Guests in attendance: Director Cam Christiansen, Screenwriter David Hare, Executive Producer David Christensen, and Producer Bonnie Thompson will be at the September 25 screening.
“Young housewife and mother Nora joins the women’s suffrage movement in 1971 Switzerland, fanning the flames of major change through her quaint little village.”
Reason for seeing it: Looks like a well made little film that uses humour to look back at the fight for women to get the vote in Switzerland in 1971. A little historical fact that I knew nothing about but would be interested in seeing.
Nick Schager from Variety says, “The long-fought battle for women’s suffrage in America ended in 1920, but it wasn’t until 1971 that Switzerland granted its female population the right to vote. …thanks to its director’s sturdy guidance and Leuenberger’s fine lead performance as Nora, whose resolve is colored by doubt and trepidation, the film never feels stilted or preachy; rather, it radiates an infectious admiration for the courage shown by its heroines in the face of immense obstacles.”
- Friday September 22, 5:00 PM at Globe Cinema Upstairs
- Saturday September 30, 7:30 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 6
AWARDS: Tribeca Film Festival, Audience Award
“This beautifully-shot tribute to colour, fire and sound focuses on the major fireworks manufacturing city of Tultepec, Mexico where more than two-thirds of it’s residents manufacture fireworks.”
Reason for seeing it: There are so many intriguing things about this film. The visuals the dive into the community and the work they do – it’s a chance to experience something very removed from my day to day life.
Dennis Harvey from Variety says, “Mixing sheer spectacle with modest but pleasing human-interest threads, Viktor Jakovleski’s first directorial feature is a poetical, entrancing documentary.”
- Tuesday September 26, 5:30 PM at Globe Cinema Downstairs
- Saturday September 30, 9:30 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 4
BRIMSTONE & GLORY will be preceded by the short film: MADRE BUENA
“A Mexican mother embarks on an epic journey through the countryside to find a Donald Trump pinata for her son’s birthday.”
“This love story won six Academy Awards last year. Now you can see it with the score performed live by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.”
Reason for seeing it: Live Music! Live Music performed by the CPO! Live Music performed by the CPO while watching the movie!
- Thursday September 21, 8:00 PM at Arts Commons Jack Singer Concert Hall
This event is already sold out. Damn! So, why did I include it on the list – because there is a waiting list and in the meantime you can always catch a Taste of the CPO on Friday September 22, at 8:00 PM in the Jack Singer Concert Hall.
A Taste of the CPO offers a few highlights from the coming season. “Resident Conductor Karl Hirzer, showcases selections from classic masterworks – Stravinsky’s blazing Firebird Suite and Dvorak’s thunderous New World Symphony – as well as the Irish traditional tune of Danny Boy and Jimi Hendrix’s iconic Purple Haze.”
“Christine, aka Lady Bird, longs for a life beyond her California high school in Greta Gerwig’s solo feature directorial debut.”
Reason for seeing it: If the trailer is any indication this is a truthful film about life and growing up and that appeals to me. This film looks like it’s about real people – average folk who live in average homes and have average jobs. I find Hollywood’s focus on the rich upper class for it’s “American Family Drama” generally unrelatable. This film on the other hand offers a more truthful look at what it means to be human and in particular what it means to be a young woman growing up.
Tomris Laffly from Time Out New York says, “A sweet, deeply personal portrayal of female adolescence that’s more attuned to the bonds between best girlfriends than casual flings with boys, writer-director Greta Gerwig’s beautiful Lady Bird flutters with the attractively loose rhythms of youth.”
- Friday September 29, 7:00 PM at Globe Cinema Upstairs
“Ai Weiwei’s beautifully shot documentary juxtaposes with the tragedy of its subjects: the mass refugee migrations of the Middle East.”
Reason for seeing it: The Calgary International Film Festival always includes several high quality documentaries in it’s line-up and this is certainly one worth checking out.
Deborah Young from The Hollywood Reporter says, “Shot in 23 countries, the film has an amazing breadth and a relentless moral drive that will make it a reference point for this subject, whatever the audience response may be.”
- Sunday September 24, 1:00 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 5
- Saturday September 30, 3:30 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 6
“A young transgender faces the scorn and judgement of society after boyfriend dies.”
Reason for seeing it: The trailer hooked me on this one. Looks like a complex and layered film and after checking out a couple of reviews I had to put this one on my list.
David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter says, “Shocking and enraging, funny and surreal, rapturous and restorative, this is a film of startling intensity and sinuous mood shifts wrapped in a rock-solid coherence of vision.”
- Monday September 25, 6:45 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 5
- Saturday September 30, 3:00 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 4
Awards: Berlin International Film Festival, Best Screenplay
“Packed with humour and plenty of heart, Lipstick Under My Burka smartly portrays the lives of four women in contemporary India.”
Reason for seeing it: A number of the films at this year’s festival look at women and their place and struggles in society. This looks like an interesting film and I particularly like the fact that it deals not just with young women but older women as well.
Katie Walsh from the Los Angelas Times says, “The rousing Indian drama Lipstick Under My Burkha co-written and directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, takes on the repressive traditions around gender and sexuality in that country with refreshing candor and humor.”
- Friday September 22, 6:30 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 5
- Saturday September 30, 12:15 PM at Cineplex Eau Claire 6
AWARDS: Glasgow: Audience Award – Granada Film Festival Cines del Sur: Best Feature – London Asian Film Festival: Best Film – Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival: Audience Award Asian Frontiers – Mumbai: Best Film on Gender Equality – Tokyo: Spirit of Asia Award.