• VIFF 2011: envoi
    For years I've listened to people rave about the Vancouver International Film Festival.......
  • VIFF Dispatch No. 6: 'What is this darkness?'
    Kathleen Murphy: The best films I saw during my week at the Vancouver Film Festival were Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and Béla Tarr's incomparable The Turin Horse. Both ran two hours plus. The storytelling in the former unreels slowly, cumulatively, so mysteriously that if you don't watch with intense concentration, you'll miss moments when everything racks focus. The narrative in Tarr's masterpiece is terrifyingly repetitive and monotonous, in the Beckettian sense, like a great engine grinding itself ever deeper into a hole, in circular slow motion that you fear might go on forever.
  • VIFF Dispatch No. 5: Sleeping Sickness

    Sleeping Sickness ... drifts in an eerie suspension, at once beautifully attentive to mood, place, and what we might call the climate of people's souls, yet holding the press of story and theme at arm's-length. The setting is Africa, where director Ulrich Köhler spent much of his childhood.

  • VIFF Dispatch No. 4: Dreileben

    A couple of years ago, U.S. audiences were riveted by Red Riding Trilogy, a production for Britain's Channel Four exploring a history of crime, of both the organized and the darkly obsessive varieties, twisting its way through a community in the North of England over the span of a decade. The trilogy was a unified work pursuing a narrative involving a teeming cast of characters, yet each of the three feature-length components was handled by a different director, and each director took his own, quite distinct stylistic approach to his part of the saga. Much the same is true for Dreileben, a 2011 triptych for German television that played this year's Vancouver International Film Festival......

  • VIFF Dispatch No. 3: Miss Bala
    AFI grad Gerardo Naranjo's Miss Bala can't help but make art movie aficionados swoon—and Hollywood sit up and take notice. Might there be just a whiff of opportunism, aesthetic and thematic, in this pedal-to-the-metal thriller about the victimization of a young and beautiful woman (Stephanie Sigman) inadvertently swept into the bloody war among Mexican drug cartels, the DEA, cops, and maybe even the military? One writer may have exposed the little worm in the apple of so many critical eyes: "Were it not for the pervasive horror of the real-life combat, Miss Bala might have seemed absurdly lurid, unduly noir."
  • VIFF Dispatch No. 2

    Angry grannies, Sleeping Beauty and a soulful tot

    Three fables of females from this year's Vancouver International Film Festival, considered by Kathleen Murphy
  • VIFF 2011: Chantal Akerman's jungle fever


    By Kat Murphy

    After getting up early and driving for three hours, perhaps the first film you watch in the Vancouver International Film Festival should not be Chantal Akerman's Almayer's Folly, all two-plus hours of it. Akerman is not the liveliest of directors; her style is lengthy staring, to frame a scene and contemplate it with lacerating intensity, as though seeing clearly could be an acid test for truth. Tired as I was, this provocative director's exploration of cultural, ethnic and gender powerplays held me captive for much of its long running time.

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