Films and languages from around the world
The Vancouver International Film Festival is here! From September 25th to October 10th, the festival invites us into lives and worlds beyond our city in the rainforest. Many of these lives and worlds come in other languages, giving us the perfect chance to hear Kazakh, to practice our Spanish, and to test our comprehension of Quebecois French.
If you are like me, then you are easily overwhelmed by the sheer number of films. Why not let language lead you? Hear are 7 films that I have plucked from the massive VIFF sea.
1. Portuguese: August Winds
“Lyrical, sensual and poetic, yet grounded in a bracing naturalism that speaks to Brazilian documentarian Gabriel Mascaro’s roots, August Winds tells the tale of a young couple who discover a skull while diving for octopus. It’s a prismatic evocation of seaside life in the rural tropics. …a beautiful meditation on life and death… a striking accomplishment…” —Indiewire.
2. Spanish: Beautiful Youth (Hermosa Juventud)
From Spain, “an intelligent, bracing study of Spanish twentysomethings doomed to unemployment and disillusion… Brilliant, challenging… [The] whole film is an audacious leap into real lives and real experiences…”—Guardian
3. Arabic: The Rooftops
Set in Algiers, the film moves across five rooftops to tell five stories of conflict, humour, and humanity. “Confident, composed and full of contemporary relevance.”—Filmmaker. Bonus: Because this is Algeria, you’ll hear a lot of French mixed with the local Arabic.
4. Kurdish and Turkish: Come to My Voice
“When the Turkish military surrounds a Kurdish village, takes alleged rebels into custody and demands the return of nonexistent guns, a little girl and her grandmother set off in search of a weapon—any weapon—that might earn her father’s freedom. Breathtaking vistas and nerve-wracking suspense await.”–VIFF
5. Russian: Leviathan
What begins as a dispute between a garage owner and a local mayor emerges as, “A tragedy of biblical proportions [but] also a stingingly effective pitch-black comedy.”—Indiewire.
6. Kazakh: The Owners
“a caustic critique of small-town corruption and croneyism in contemporary Kazakhstan. It is also poetic, surreal and visually arresting.”—Hollywood Reporter. I watched the trailer and loved the colour, deadpan humour, and bizarre dance scenes.
7. French: An Eye for Beauty (La règne de la beauté)
Finally, let’s remember our country’s other official language, and what better way than with a sexy drama involving the sentence (in French), “I had a fling with a girl in Toronto.”
Note: All images from viff.org.