Five Sure Bets at VIFF 2014

World cinema covers all the bases at this annual, glorious presentation of over 200 feature-length films. Here, five early picks that will move you to laughter and tears.


FARM CHAINS (USA) A migrant tomato picker’s workday: 15 hours away from home, a cheque for $42.27. This persuasive, no-punches-pulled doc, produced by food activists Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser, shows how workers’ lives could be drastically improved by an extra penny paid per pound, a bump that would cost consumers a few bucks but might threaten the US$311 billion Walmart Grocery makes a year. A must-see.

September 27 & 29, October 1. VIFF details


LIVING IS EASY WITH EYES CLOSED (SPAIN) In this nuanced period piece about one big-hearted Beatles fan (played by two-time Pedro Almodóvar star Javier Cámara) chasing John Lennon across Franco’s Spain, every scene glows with loving remembrance of things past. A multiple award winner.

October 3 & 8. VIFF details


24 JOURS (FRANCE) Luminous performances sweeten a harrowing story about the terrible effects of a kidnapping on one Paris family. It’s hard when this biopic suggests anti-Semitism underpins the crime; harder still that ignorance and apathy might have ensured its tragic conclusion. Based on a book by the mother of victim Ilan Halimi.

October 2 & 6. VIFF details


CLOWNWISE (CZECH REPUBLIC) Can the old comedy rekindle when three friends reunite after the Velvet Revolution: one with dementia, one repatriated, one with rectal cancer? With equal parts humour and pathos (that’s clowns for you), this charmer stares down with dignity the absurdities of aging.

October 1, 3 & 6. VIFF details


LISTEN UP PHILIP (USA) A pointed and parodic satire from indie auteur Alex Ross Perry follows the death throes of the brainy, neurotic relationship of two unlikable mopes (Wes Anderson regular Jason Schwartzman and Elisabeth Moss, Peggy from Mad Men) in New York City. 

 September 26 & 28, October 1. VIFF details

Related : Decades of Film in Vancouver, Best B.C Films at VIFF 2013