Festival Snap Shots:
films Top the Slots
The Vancouver International Film Festival has
announced that its 2003 Opening, Anniversary and Closing Gala films are
an all Canadian tag-team of The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions
Barbares), The Saddest Music In The World And The Snow Walker.
“This is an
unprecedented move for us,” Festival Director Alan Franey says, “and
represents not a change in direction, but the seizing of a special
opportunity. Our sense is that these three proudly and inimitably
Canadian films beg to be put centre stage for the way they
collectively celebrate not only the rich geographical and cultural
breadth of this country, but the happy stylistic versatility of
Canadian cinema today.”
September 25 Opening Gala, Denys Arcand’s Cannes multiple
prize-winning The Barbarian Invasions is every inch Quebec and
cosmopolitan, 1968 and now. As relatives, friends and lovers flock to
the bedside of the ailing libertine Rémy, their facetious
exchanges show that 17 years later The Decline of the American
Empire – and the pleasure principal – continues. The film stars
Marie-Josée Croze, who won Best Actress at Cannes this year
for her performance, and Rémy Girard, Stéphane Rousseau
and Pierre Curzi. The film is distributed by Odeon Films, an Alliance
Atlantis company. The Opening Gala is sponsored by Rogers
Anniversary Gala film on October 4, Guy Maddin’s The Saddest Music
In The World, is his most hilariously infectious fever dream yet,
set in 1933 in a very dark and cold Depression-era Winnipeg. Isabella
Rossellini plays glamorous beer baroness Lady Port-Huntly, who
announces a contest that invites and catches the attention of the world,
a competition to determine whom on earth most charms our ears with
doleful song and lyric. In the heat of battle, the Kent family must
confront the wretched secrets of their past. Joining Rossellini in the
cast are Mark McKinney, Maria de Medeiros, David Fox and Ross McMillan.
Maddin’s films have been favourites with Vancouver audiences
since his Tales from the Gimli Hospital was screened at the
1988 festival. TVA Films, a division of Groupe TVA Inc., is the
distributor. Jackson-Triggs Winery sponsors the Anniversary Gala.
Martin Smith’s The Snow Walker, the Closing Gala selection on
October 10, is a sweeping wide-screen drama set in the 1953 Northwest
Rankin Inlet. Based on a story by Farley Mowat, this largely
Vancouver-based production tells the extraordinary story of two people
struggling to survive while stranded in the high Arctic. The film
stars Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan) as bush pilot Charlie
Halliday and impressive newcomer Annabella Piugattuk as Kanaalaq, the
ailing young Inuit woman who becomes his travelling companion.
Piugattuk had never acted before she was discovered by the casting
director at a teen dance in the tiny town of Igloolik. She now lives in
Vancouver. At once epic and intimate, this visually stunning film is
destined to become a Canadian classic.\
Smith, who is also an actor, has enjoyed a 30-year Hollywood career.
His roles include playing the lead in the 1983 film Never Cry Wolf,
another Farley Mowat story. The Snow Walker, which is
distributed by Lions Gate Films, is a directorial departure for Smith,
whose directing credits include Air Bud and the pilot for Buffy
the Vampire Slayer.
gala films are screened at the VISA Screening Room @ the Vogue Theatre,
918 Granville Street.
annual Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 25 to
October 10. More than 150,000 patrons are expected to attend 500
screenings of 300 films from 50 countries at 10 Vancouver screens: the
Granville 7(Granville Cineplex Odeon Theatres); the VISA Screening Room
at the Vogue; The Ridge; and the Pacific Cinémathèque.
Festival Info Line opens September 4 at 604-683-FILM (3456). The
complete film line-up will be available at www.viff.org on