• Anthony Nadeau

Vancouver International Film Festival(VIFF) Movie Reviews


DIRECTOR Caroline Monnet CAST Pascale Bussières, Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, Samian, Jacques Newashish, Dominique Pétin, Joséphine Bacon

Canada 2021, 81 min. In French and Anishinaabemowin

Bootlegger is a story of a young woman Mani(Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs-Rhymes For Young Ghouls) who leaves Montreal & returns to her reserve to find some opposing views in her charge to try and get legal alcohol onto the reserve she has a lot of flack from a lot of the community they think it'll do more harm than good.

They think that the way things are are the way things should be and they're quite stuck in their ways the tribal council consists mostly of elders. Mini has gone to law school she knows some legal roundings but she's not very well respected within her community because even one of the elders tells her that you've gone to learn the white man's ways don't come back here and tell us how to do how to live our ways.

There are some things that happened when she was last there that are still not dealt with and she's dealing with the ailing health of her grandmother and the woman who is the bootlegger in the community, who also owns the local store. There is eventually a referendum in the end to make a final decision in the community.

Brother's Keeper


DIRECTOR Ferit Karahan

CAST Samet Yıldız, Ekin Koç, Mahir İpek, Nurullah Alaca, Cansu Fırıncı, Melih Selçuk

Turkey/Romania 2021

85 min. In Turkish and Kurdish

This Turkish film is is quite grim at times it's about a young boy's boarding school and at the very start it's in the showers none of the boys are undressed they're all in their underwear and they're having showers these one group of boys start fighting and the bathmaster tells them that they have to shower the rest of the shower in cold water. One of the boys starts to get sick that evening says he doesn't feel well and he has a headache and it goes on ignored until the next morning when he won't wake up he's basically comatose almost.

Memo does throw up at one point and his friend Yusuf watches over him and tries to get help from some of the senior staff in regards to the well-being of his friend it basically goes ignored until later in the day when he's still unresponsive. Then gets help from one of the teachers one of the aides they then go to the sick room he calls in the bath master who is basically put over the coals for what happened the night before because it's -32 outside and the snow is coming down. They call in the principal they try to get an ambulance out there but nobody can make it out to get the child to the hospital to get them looked at.

There is quite this shocking revelation at the end of the film that kind of alarmed me and I'm sure anybody else who has seen this movie. However, also surprising is that there is not one second where there's any music to heighten or overdramatize the film it's just solely relied on the actors and what a job everybody does in this film.

I hope this finds an audience because I think this is one that might be something to watch it doesn't fit into your standard boy's school drama I mean there is a bit of drama in it but a lot of it's just left to the characters and apparently, this is a semi-autobiographical look at the director's life because he spent 6 years and a boarding school himself he said, of course, he didn't want to share too much of what happened when he was there.

His wife told him that he might find it cathartic to do this film to write about it and do the movie so we had a lot of support. I only know this because I watched the q&a after the film and it was quite an interesting conversation.

Everything Went Fine

DIRECTOR François Ozon

CAST Sophie Marceau, André Dussollier, Géraldine Pailhas, Charlotte Rampling, Eric Caravaca, Hanna Schygulla, Gregory Gadebois

France 2021

113 min. In French

Everything Went Fine (French: Tout s'est bien passé) is a 2021 French drama film, written and directed by François Ozon. It is based upon the novel Everything Went Well by Emmanuèle Bernheim.

Sophie Marceau who plays Emmanuel Bernheim is quite good in this film, my first time seeing her. This is not an easy movie to watch it's about coming to terms with her father having a stroke he has to go for an MRI and a bunch of other tests he's not able to use his right arm due to the stroke. This becomes quite problematic for her and her sister, he leaves them with the difficult task of helping to assist him to end his life.

This procedure at the time I don't know about now but at the time this procedure was illegal in France so they had to find somebody in Switzerland who is willing to do this and they successfully did. He postpones the first initial date because he wants to see his grandson's recital.

The story is very well told, very well portrayed even though it's a grim subject.

Emmanuel is the one who is kind of the one leading the whole thing in terms of helping her father with his final request he's later put in a care home, they visit him as often as they possibly can.

She has a lot of loving support from her sister and her husband nice to see a positive male role who's not overbearing or dismissive or abusive but quite compassionate and understanding of the predicament she's in right now and I just thought it was beautifully done for the subject matter in which they're dealing with.

Lamya's Poem


DIRECTOR Alex Kronemer

CAST Millie Davis, Faran Tahir, Mena Massoud

USA/Canada 2021 88 min.

In a mysterious and haunting dream world, a 12-year-old girl meets the 13th-century young poet Rumi, as they travel through a fantastical land where luxurious airships float through the air and unfurling

A very haunting piece of music opens Lamya's Poem, it brought back memories of Itzak Perlman playing the violin for the theme of Schindler's List.

This is a story of a young girl who is 11 who is Lamya and the story of her and her mother in Syria in 2016 during the Syrian war she is given a book by Rumi by the local bookseller, who is also her tutor. This helps Lamya escape the nightmarish situation in which they're living.

One day when she's out having ice cream with her friends a plane flies overhead and drops a bunch of bombs and their towns in shambles, so it's then when her mother does find her that they have to leave before they're killed. Her mother then finds a raft that can take them and pretty well gives her all the money they have left and a lot of her personal belongings just to make sure that she and her daughter can get to somewhere safe. Unfortunately, there's a bad storm, their boats capsize and they are found but they were put on different boats for arrival at different ports so they're both very distraught and Lamya stays with some people under a bridge until the police come to break it all up.

Even though this may sound like a very sad movie it's Lamya's story of her escape into this other realm where she's with the young man Rumi who wrote these love poems and the adventures that they go on she's there with him as he's writing these poems, she's there adventuring with him on different obstacles and different adventures. One of the better films of the year for me!

Portraits from a Fire

DIRECTOR Trevor Mack

CAST Nathaniel Arcand, Wiliam Magnus Lulua, Asivak Koostachin, Sammy Stump, Pauline Bob-King, Melanie Bobby

Canada 2021 92 min. In English and Tsilhqot'in

I really didn't know what to expect from this movie the title had me intrigued from the word go even before I knew anything about the movie. We have a young man, Tyler(William Magnus Lulua) who loves to make movies he has cardboard cutouts that he's made and he's doing a science fiction fantasy film where he's doing all the sound effects, he's doing all the voices, he's doing everything and he's so excited about it he wants to share with the other people on the reserve.

The outdoor hockey rink, of course, is not frozen over, it becomes a makeshift drive-in, unfortunately, it doesn't have a very big turnout, he's hoping his father would come but his father's busy with work.

The movie really took off for me when they have some flashbacks and if you remember in the 90s when you would try to watch a movie or video online and it would glitch out on you like it would all get pixelated, that's what the editing is like here in for a second there I thought there was something wrong with the video. Then I watched the interview with the director and some of the people behind the scenes, after the film and he says this was an editing software that they had found. They wanted to try it with this film and I think it really helps shape the narrative very well it brings a different realm of truth to the film, it brings more depth I think instead of just going back and doing older footage film of what they were doing back in the day. There is a video that he later finds in his dad's dresser of him and his father and his mother, there are revelations later that I won't give away here but there are some very interesting ways in which the camera helps tell the story. The film really breathes a sense of reality, a sense of realism that a lot of modern movies don't focus on the human side of things where they often get lost in the visual instead of using the visuals as an aid to the story. Instead of using the new trick that they found or the new gadget to really overindulge the audience with it's instead used as forming a deeper construction of the story.

I found the character, Sammy(Sammy Stump), to be one of the lighter moments of the movie just the actor just exudes such charm and compassion for Tyler who's trying to get in touch with his father and not sure why his father is so distant. This later comes answered and there's a there's a amazing scene where he his father has a vision where he's at a door and there's baby shoes on the door and it's easily one of the most powerful movie moments I've seen in a very long time I won't say any more than that. Tyler meets another young man Aaron(Asivak Koostachin) who Tyler didn't even know was around. I think some of the best parts of the film and certainly the most touching moments in which he is with his mother, Trish(Pauline Bob-King) who he's not quite sure why she's left. Tyler finds himself talking to his camcorder to talk to his mother and he's not even sure why,but then he's convinced by Aaron to make this video about him and his mother and show it to the community. Sammy helps him gain that audience he has the local school agree to show Tyler's film. There is something that happens during the showing of the film and that's where the story takes a side turn and really makes for an interesting watch. Great movie!

The in-Laws


DIRECTOR Kuba Michalczuk

CAST Maja Ostaszewska, Marcin Dorociński, Izabela Kuna, Adam Woronowicz, Ewa Dałkowska

Poland 2021 80 min. In Polish with English Subtitles

The film, which had its world premiere at VIFF 2021, opens with an unbroken, 16-minute tracking shot: Andrzej (The Queen’s Gambit’s Marcin Dorociński) and Malgorzata (Maja Ostaszewska), a well-off couple, are at the hotel which was to host a reception to celebrate the marriage of their son, Łukasz, to Weronika, the daughter of a working-class couple, Wanda (Izabela Kuna) and Tadeusz (Adam Woronowicz). One small wrinkle: Łukasz dumped his bride-to-be at the altar.

As the guests start to show up because everything is already been paid for Andrzej and his wife Malgorzata feel that it's just best to let things the way they had a planned so they start sending out the alcohol, the appetizers, the band evenstarts to play even though they're thinking about cancelling them, but it's keeping guests amused for the most part.

The stood up bride Weronika has gone home obviously distressed over what is taking place, her parents show up to overhearing Łukasz's mother speaking to her son on the phone and telling him not to take Weronika's calls and she understands it's quite okay. This starts to build some tension between the two families and it comes to head near the end of the movie this brings some great scenes at the end.

From what the director was saying at the the q&A after the film was that they shot it in just 17 days so that's quite a feat shooting it during covid and this is apparently his first film he's directed.

He has done some music videos before and some commercials with a friend of his who was also the cinematographer on this one and he obviously knows what he's doing because this is a very tight structured film. It has some tender moments that has some disgruntled moments where couples are arguing over certain things that have happened in this scenario and previous instances that have happened in the past but a very impressive debut for first time director.

DIRECTOR Kier-La Janisse

USA 2021 193 min In English and Portuguese

Assembling clips from 200 films and insights from 50 interviewees.

It's not very often that a documentary can teach you so much about what you didn't know I have been following and watching horror since I can remember back and of course the days of Friday the 13th and American Werewolf in London, Halloween, Night of the living Dead all those standard classics that everyone refers to when it comes to this time of the year.

But you know we there's that other subs genre that isn't monsters and and slasher slasher villains like Freddy and Jason and Michael instead there's this whole other genre that predominantly goes overlooked, but every once in awhile it kind of makes a come back, a lot of it is mostly underground and not well known and I guess that can be said to be the same for this subs around for even though a lot of it only is is the subtext of folklore where is it's not really a full horror movie but they they tackle on you know a lot of the classics that we know like some I hadn't even heard of like Witch Finder General, Blood on Satan's Claw I know is well revered is is a full core The Wicker Man of course is probably the most popular known folk horror movie but then we've got movies from the '90s or the '80s that they reference like the Lair of the White Worm and then even current movies within the last couple of years The Witch, Hereditary, Midsommer.

I felt like I was attending a film course in folk horror history because they go back to the early days of we're talking like some dating back as early as the 20's, they have an archival article about review of a movie dating back to the '60s were at first references folk horror. They have some scholars we have some people who actually worked on some of the films in which they've mentioned we have people who are very well versed in full core have studied it and are very knowledgeable in their field of study of this genre of horror that really has an interesting scope of many different cultures and theories of what's happening on the on the planet at the time why it was relevant then why it's relevant now. A very engaging documentary, it's well over 2 hours almost 3 hours long I didn't feel like there was an uninteresting moment in the entire film.

I felt like I could almost watch a week's worth of this stuff because it's so well done it's so well crafted it's so well researched

I think if you appreciate horror and you feel like you could sit through this I would definitely recommend it I can't remember the last time I was this intrigued by a documentary just because it opened a whole new world of of film for me that I haven't really paid much attention to a good majority of these movies like Grim Prarie Tales from the 90s The Reflecting Skin and some others I have seen like there is a good but they're mostly current within the 90s and beyond you know precursors of The Witch even but which was released in 2015.

I'm even looking into getting a physical copy for my personal collection and I haven't added a horror documentary to my collection, this is definitely something I think I could watch again

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