The Martlet will have several writers covering the Victoria Film Festival this year, so we had them sit down and write out what they’re most excited to see at the festival, which runs from Feb. 2–11.
Amy Anderson —
I am very interested in films that deal with isolated situations. The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches is a gothic drama predominantly set in a house in rural Quebec, while The Party follows the social happenings of a dinner party over the course of a single night. I think these types of filmic situations can be really powerful — the claustrophobia associated with a limited set and characters really encourage you to focus on the ‘bare bones’ and theatrical elements of the story and images.
I would also like to see Hochelaga, Land of Souls, because I’ve heard it is a brilliant film which highlights an important and difficult part of Canadian history that still plays into many relevant socio-political issues happening today. Additionally, I am very excited to attend an evening of short films created by local professional filmmakers , as I feel that it is very important to be familiar with what is going on creatively in one’s own community.
John Ledingham —
The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond of Matches is the most recent film of French-Canadian director Simon Lavoie. Lavoie’s last film Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own received critical acclaim, winning best Canadian film at TIFF 2016. In black and white, Matches’s trailer offers glimpses of persecution and paranoia in some wooded historical nowhere, while the dramatic angles, distorted perspectives, and shots played in reverse promise a feverish tone. Despite the critical attention, Lavoie’s work remains in limited distribution (I was unable to see Revolution in theatres, with only one screening at one theatre in Vancouver at the start of last year), and catching his new film at VFF may be a rare chance to see it in a theatre on the West Coast.
Photon out of Poland is a film wearing its ambition on its sleeve. Listed as documentary and boasting “the summation of human knowledge, life, and evolution” as its subject, painter-director Norman Leto has set the bar high for himself. With a trailer that cuts between the microscopic, the everyday, and the astronomic, we get a sense of both the film’s grand ideas and Leto’s eye for the abstract image. Since the film draws comparisons to transcendental classics 2001 and Koyaanisqatsi but also purports a “breakdown of quantum physics in an understandable, awe-inspiring way,” I’m not sure whether to expect a film-poem, a science lecture, or a fine balance of the two.
Breandan McGhee & Corey McEwen (The Reel Rant Podcast) –
We over here at The Reel Rant are very excited to make our first attendance at the Victoria Film Festival! Over the last few months, we have been pumping out juicy audio podcasts discussing films of oh-so-many varieties, with a plethora of perspectives from the lovely (some might also say sexy) voices on our show. Host of the show Breandan McGhee and co-host Corey McEwen very much enjoy the mischievous shenanigans that actor Aidan Gillen (A.K.A. Littlefinger) gets up to on the hit TV show Game of Thrones, and we want to see what otherworldly adventures he finds himself in when he’s not gallivanting around in the world of Ice and Fire. With that, we look forward to viewing the film Pickups, starring Aidan, who plays a dude with insomnia! And to be honest, that’s jazzy enough to get us thrilled to see such a film. I mean how can you go wrong with a film about a guy who’s got insomnia? I mean we all saw Fight Club, right? That was bananas! After our viewing of the film we look forward to having a discussion about it on an episode of our show, so be on the lookout for that in the coming weeks on our website, iTunes, and many other podcast listening apps linked via our website!
Ainsley Dankort —
In Soul Mate, the past is revisited for 30-year-old Li Ansheng upon the publication of a novel about her relationship with childhood friend and author Lin Qiyue. Though the visuals and structure are traditional for the Hong Kong melodrama genre, director Derek Tsang plays with and against genre conventions by manipulating time and reality. The performances by Zhou Dongyu and Sandra Ma are ingenious and raw, and the chemistry between the two leads leaves the true nature of the women’s relationship unclear (both actresses made history with a split Golden Horse Award for Best Actress). Soul Mate is a stunning collection of memories, showcasing an ebbing and flowing friendship complicated by circumstance and growing up.
Times and ticket information for all the films above can be found at https://www.victoriafilmfestival.com.