Insider Picks from the VIFF Programmers

We spoke with the schedulers behind Vancouver’s biggest film festival.

As the premiere dates loom closer, it’s time to get the diary out and start planning your evenings for the week of Friday, October 3 to October 10. You might have seen our Events Editor’s early VIFF picks as part of our September issue, but we decided to get even more up close and personal with those involved in the scheduling program to guide you through VIFF’s bountiful screenings calendar.They brought the films to Vancouver, and now they’re sharing their inside picks exclusively with Ladies and gentlemen, The Programmers’ Choices.THE PASS SYSTEM Terry McEvoy, Canadian Images Programmer The film exposes a shameful chapter in Canada’s recent past, when Indigenous people were illegally restricted to their reserves and jailed for leaving without a pass. Narrated by Tantoo Cardinal and directed by Alex Williams, this shocking and compelling documentary reminds us that the journey to truth and reconciliation is long, and that it’s not over yet.HOMME LESSJacqueline Dupuis, Executive Director Exploring an ironic juxtaposition, Mark Reay spends his days in the hot spots of New York City, snapping photos of models, doing acting gigs and living the life that people come to the city dreaming of, and at night he retires to a rooftop and sleeps hidden away under a tarp. Director Thomas Wirthensohn followed Mark for two years, documenting everything from his elaborate daily routines to his innermost feelings. What emerges from this is a rich human portrait and one of the best “city films” in years.THE MEASURE OF A MANAlan Franey, Director of ProgrammingThe zero-sum game that is the “law of the market” (the French title)—wherein if one wants a job another must be let go—lies at the heart of Stéphane Brizé’s profoundly humanist drama. Vincent Lindon is superb as an unemployed mechanic whose new job in security at a big-box supermarket forces him to make decisions that go against everything he believes in.INGRID BERGMAN: IN HER OWN WORDSPochu AuYeung, Program Manager & Senior Programmer This piece celebrates not only the career of this legendary icon, but also her independence of spirit in both her professional and personal life.  Film excerpts along with never-before-seen private footage, notes, letters, diaries and interviews with her children offer a multifaceted portrait of this extraordinary woman who was very much ahead of her time.GONIN SAGA Tony Rayns, Dragons & Tigers Programmer “With the surprise of his ferocious new film GONIN SAGA, Ishii Takashi reveals two things. First, that he’s kept completely up-to-date with the social and economic changes of the last 20 years and can pin down the here-and-now as few other directors can.  Second, that he’s the unchallenged master of Japanese neo-noir!”  CRUMBSCurtis Woloschuk, Canadian shorts & Altered States Programmer Finally, you’ll have an answer for that often-awkward question at parties, “What’s your favourite Ethiopian post-apocalyptic sci-fi flick?” Miguel Llansó’s surreal quest film – Nazis and spacecraft and Santa! Oh my! – invites you to marvel at its very existence and the undiluted imagination contained in every frame.ASSASSIN Shelly Kraicer, Dragons & Tigers Programmer A masterpiece of world cinema, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s exquisitely beautiful swordplay fantasy is both an instant classic and a profound work of art.  Bursts of swordplay; soul-infused landscapes; the silence of philosophy. Wuxiacinema distilled to its essence.