Film recommendations from the 40th Vancouver International Film Festival

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Excerpt from “The Quickening”

The 40th edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) took place October 1-11 this year, and I had the chance to see some amazing films during the festival. The following reviews highlight the films that have marked me.

Fortune favors Lady Nikuko: Director Ayumu Watanabe

Ayumu Watanabe’s feature-length anime Fortune favors Lady Nikuko is a love story of a different kind, between a boisterous, life-loving mother, Nikuko (voiced by Shinobu Otake) and her daughter, Kikuo (Cocomi) who is different from her in every way. Alternating between whimsy and realism, the film is stronger when it focuses on the mother-daughter relationship as they adjust to a rough life in a crumbling seaside town in Osaka.

Kikuko doesn’t like the disturbances that occur after his mother’s frequent failed relationships, as it usually causes them to move on. The film threatens to get bogged down when Watanabe focuses on Kikuko’s attempts to fit into the new school and the feuds between the girls and the odd and annoying behavior of the middle school kids.

But perhaps Nikuko’s description of the film as straightforward and with unsophisticated appetites is perhaps the film’s most overwhelming weakness. A tall woman, she is presented as loud and childish. Nikuko’s appetite for fun, whether for food or her losing boyfriends, makes her an object of ridicule in the city.

While highlighting what the film wants to show as Nikuko’s many failures – weight, poverty, bad relationships – it is possible to see his joie de vivre as expressing elementary truth; life is tough, grab what brings you joy. And so, the film’s ending that dates back to Nikuko’s early years reveals how the saying that fortune favors the bold highlights the riches in his life.

Three sisters: Director By Lee Seung-won

Lee Seung-won Three sisters is a tale of brothers and sisters with diametrically opposed lives that features mind-boggling performances by the main actors in this ensemble piece. Hee-sook (Kim Sun-young) is heartbreaking as an older sister and the owner of a sad little flower shop. Constantly apologizing, she finds relief from the bored existence by secretly cutting herself off. Mi-yeon (Moon So-ri) is the wealthy middle sister with the seemingly perfect life slowly unraveling as her unwavering control over her family undermines the happy family facade she shows to parishioners at the church where she is. choir mistress. The younger sister, Mi-oak (Jang Yoon-ju) is an alcoholic playwright who ignores her shy husband and angry stepson in his desperate quest for fame. Her flamboyant and uncontrollable personality hides a woman afraid of life.

What initially appears to be a family melodrama gradually darkens into a heart-wrenching story about family secrets that began in childhood and its corrosive effects.

Acceleration: Director Haya Waseem

Haya Waseem’s first feature film Quickening the deliberately opaque style denies easy access to the psychology of Sheila (Aroog Azeem), a Pakistani Canadian in first year of college. Sheila gets angry with the strict rules imposed by her mother, but still manages to take advantage of the freedoms of the young adult. After the end of a love affair, Sheila finds herself unable to cope. She cannot even confide in her parents who are experiencing their own depression with increasingly acrimonious fights.

The dreamlike cinematography and elliptical performances work so hard to keep Sheila at bay that, unfortunately, when the extent of her alienation becomes apparent, it’s hard to care too deeply about it.

The six: Director Arthur Jones

Arthur Jones documentary film The six tells the story of Chinese workers who survived the sinking of the Titanic. An international team led by Steven Schwankert uncovers the history of the men, painstakingly reconstructing their arrival in New York Harbor in lifeboats for their onward voyages to the UK, Canada and the US. Because the Chinese exclusion law was still in effect at the time of their rescue, the six were unable to land in the United States and instead worked on steamboats until they found their way. to the country in search of better opportunities for their families.

Schwankert and his team describe how the Titanic listed the six on a separate manifesto, the Foreign Passenger List, along with their occupation as seafarers. They suggest in the film that the passengers, being experienced sailors, got off the ship quickly when it became clear to them that the Titanic was taking on water. The film movingly describes the fate of the men whose lives speak of the need for invention and reinvention in order to survive.

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