Fúsi, a timid man in his mid-forties, is yet to find the courage to fully enter and embrace the adult world; to lift his wings and leave his nest. He sleepwalks through everyday life, where routine is key. When a vibrant woman about his own age and an eight-year-old girl unexpectedly enter his life, he is soon forced to step up; take a leap and find out where his wings will take him. Working in small, skillfully nuanced, always surprising increments, Kári, enabled by Gunnar Jónsson’s extraordinary performance, charts a moving, totally believable flowering of untapped potential as Fúsi falls in love. Virgin Mountain won the Nordic Council Film Prize and received several awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, including Best Narrative Feature.
Eighty-nine year old influential French filmmaker Agnes Varda and her thirty-four year old travelling companion, photographer/muralist JR, travel across rural France taking photographs of the people they meet. JR’s van is equipped with a printer that turns the photographs into portraits large enough to affix to the sides of barns, houses, an apartment building and a towering stack of shipping containers. Charming and unassuming, the film is an elegy to the dignity of labourers – farmer, factory worker, retiree, waitress, longshore workers and their wives. Faces Places premiered at Cannes and won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Claus is the company commander of Danish peace-keepers stationed in Afghanistan. Meanwhile back in Denmark, Claus' wife Maria is trying to hold everyday life together with a husband at war and three children missing their father. During a routine mission, the soldiers are caught in heavy crossfire and in order to save his men, Claus makes a decision that has grave consequences for him – and his family back home. Employing quasi-documentary realism to powerful effect, A War counter-poses battlefronts at home and abroad before culminating in court room drama. Exploring the collateral damage of war and the agony of moral dilemma, A War was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2016 Academy Awards.
A laid-off oilfield worker, adrift and insecure, returns home, maybe for the last time.
2016, 14 min, Drama
Directed by Katrina Beatty
After a cocky Edmonton pilot is grounded from flying in WWII, he and his brother search for their sense of self among the returning post-war heroes.
The Art of Living
2017, 27 min, Documentary
Directed by Ben Wilson
Ed McFadden is a 90 year old artist who is legally blind. After losing his eye sight, his wife, his home and his independence, he's found new ways to fill his life with art, meaning, adventure and human connection. And he’s one hell of a dancer.
Jafar Panahi’s Taxi
Iran, 2015, 82 min, Drama
Directed by Jafar Panahi
Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi portrays himself as a taxi driver coursing through the streets of Teheran. With a camera mounted on the dashboard of his car, Panahi wants to hear about the lives of his passengers (non-professional actors) while declining payment for his services. What evolves is a portrait of Iran’s capital city laced with compassionate curiosity, humour and social criticism. This is Panahi’s third film created while under a government imposed, 20-year ban from pursuing his craft. Described as “a love letter to cinema…filled with love for his art, his community, his country and his audience,” Taxi won the Golden Bear prize as best film at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Jacques is the curmudgeonly owner of a gritty New York dive bar that serves as home to a motley assortment of professional drinkers. Played by Brian Cox, Jacques is determined to drink and smoke himself to death when he meets the kindly, homeless Lucas (Paul Dano). Determined to keep his legacy alive, Jacques deems Lucas a fitting heir, taking him under his wing to school Lucas in his eccentric ways. A quick study, Lucas soon challengers their friendship when a distraught young French woman shows up at the bar seeking shelter. A distinctly Scandinavian fable of warmth and dark humour, Dagur Kári’s third feature length film, The Good Heart, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The culmination of one of the greatest careers in film history, F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise blends a story of fable-like simplicity with unparalleled visual imagination and technical ingenuity. Based on the Hermann Sudermann novel A Trip to Tilsit, Murnau’s tale depicts the idyllic marriage of a peasant couple (George O’Brien and Janet Gaynor) threatened by a Machiavellian seductress from the city (Margaret Livingston). Made in the twilight of the silent era, it became both a swan song for a vanishing medium and one of the few films to instantly achieve legendary status. At the first ever Academy Awards in 1929, Sunrise won Oscars for Best Actress (Gaynor), Cinematography, and a never-repeated award for “Unique and Artistic Picture”.
Directed by Tasha Hubbard, Produced by Bonnie Thompson
Three sisters and a brother, adopted as infants into separate families across North America, meet together for the first time in this deeply moving documentary by director Tasha Hubbard. Removed from their young Dene mother’s care as part of Canada’s infamous Sixties Scoop, Betty Ann, Esther, Rosalie and Ben were four of the 20,000 Indigenous children taken from their families between 1955 and 1985, to be either adopted into white families or to live in foster care. As the four siblings piece together their shared history, connections deepen, laughter is shared, and their family begins to take shape. Birth of a Family premiered at Hot Docs, was broadcast on CBC Docs POV and won awards at EIFF and imagineNATIVE.
The year is 1919 in Quedlinburg, Germany. Anna is a young woman mourning the death of her fiancé, Frantz, who was killed during the Great War. One day at the cemetery, Anna spots a stranger who has come to pay his respects at Frantz’s grave site. The mysterious Frenchman, Adrian, had known Frantz before the war, and Anna convinces him to visit Frantz’s grieving parents. A romantic relationship develops, portrayed in gorgeous black and white with sudden splashes of colour. When the film takes Anna to France, we are drawn into the slippery realm of secrets, lies and moral uncertainty. A sumptuous period piece, Frantz won a Cesar Award for Best Cinematography and was also tagged as a Critics’ Pick by the New York Times.
Rated R for language, nudity and some bloody images
Chuck Wepner, the "Bayonne Bleeder," was a boxer and the pride of Bayonne, New Jersey. In 1975, he went fifteen rounds with world heavy-weight champion Muhammad Ali and became the real-life inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. Prior to that fight, Chuck Wepner was a liquor salesman, a husband and a father with a modest boxing career. The fight with Ali begins a wild ride through the highs and lows of sudden fame and what happens when the fifteen minutes fizzle out. Liev Schreiber, an accomplished actor and boxer himself, plays Chuck with a restrained honesty that both hurts and charms. Director Philippe Falardeau’s earlier film Monsieur Lazhar was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and screened at Nordlys in 2013.