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Blisters and bonhomie

Blisters and bonhomie

Aug 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Next month it will be 20 years since I walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the medieval pilgrim trail that traverses the North of Spain. So it was something of a nostalgia trip watching Lydia B. Smith’s Walking the Camino: Six Ways To Santiago (Vancity 1-7, 16th and 23rd), a documentary that captures the...

Rites of passage

Rites of passage

Jul 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Last month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave his approval for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. After years of government hard-sell and a blitz of pro-pipeline advertising in BC, the PM’s last-minute, tepid approval of the 1,200km pipeline from the tar sands came as some surprise. As crowds roared defiantly...

The best of flicks and docs

The best of flicks and docs

Jun 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Under normal circumstances, a tournament as big as the World Cup must be a big drain on summer audience numbers. When the four-yearly extravaganza of wall-to-wall soccer takes place in Brazil – a nation famed for its flamboyance and flair on the field – it presents even more of a programming challenge. Vancity...

DOXA preview

DOXA preview

May 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Spring is here and with it a new batch of top-notch, international documentaries at the DOXA Festival (www.doxafestival.ca), the west coast counterpart to Toronto’s world renowned Hot Docs. DOXA opens with Virunga, at the Playhouse on May 2. The documentary depicts the heroics of rangers protecting Africa’s...

The same, but different

The same, but different

Apr 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • The truth will out. The surprise in romantic drama The Face of Love (due out on the 18th) is that it takes so long to arrive. Annette Bening plays Nikki, a designer still grieving the loss of her husband Garrett (Ed Harris) five years earlier. One day, she spots a dead ringer for Garrett and tracks the stranger down...

It’s eerie in Finsterworld

It’s eerie in Finsterworld

Mar 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • The annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (www.womeninfilm.ca) takes place at Vancity Theatre from March 6-9. The fest opens with BC director Karen Lam’s supernatural thriller Evangeline, a genre that organisers say is under-represented by women directors. It also includes the intriguing drama...

A heroine’s journey and other feats

A heroine’s journey and other feats

Feb 1, 2014

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • The annual Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival is not just about mountains and it’s not just about film. The fest, which launched in North Vancouver in 1998, includes films and guest presentations on a whole bunch of outdoor adventuring activities over its nine-day run, including snowboarding, kayaking,...

Dreams of fame and glory

Dreams of fame and glory

Dec 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Few sporting heroes have had as precipitous a fall from grace as Lance Armstrong. He’d beaten cancer and gone on to win seven Tour de Francetitles and the Livestrong charity he founded had generated hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer survivors. But after years of aggressively fending off doping accusations,...

Fan-funded films

Fan-funded films

Nov 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • Retiring VIFF artistic director Alan Franey said he was amazed only four 35-mm films screened at this past fest. Two years ago, he never expected digital projection to be adopted so quickly. Technology is also fast reshaping the way films are funded. Crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, which launched a...

Saving ourselves

Saving ourselves

Oct 1, 2013

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead • How does humanity deal with the threat of annihilation of itself and the biosphere? Three documentaries at the Vancouver International Film Festival offer very different responses. In The Expedition to the End of the World (Ekspeditionen til verdens ende), Danish director Daniel Dencik follows a crew of artists and...