Laugh,cry, think at Vancouver festival

Published on Thu, Sep 21, 2006 by Deborah Sacharoff

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Laugh, cry, think at Vancouver festival

By Deborah Sacharoff

If you love movies and are contemplating a trip to Vancouver this fall, consider the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), September 28 – October 13.

With more than 200 feature films from all over the world, it’s a rare opportunity for Blaine area residents to see some great movies that may never come this way again, nor be available on DVD.

Most of the action happens downtown, with several theatres located on or near Granville Street. It’s easy to find food, or enjoy the atmosphere around, with restaurants, shops, cafes, bookstores and hotels, right nearby.

What’s great about it is that a very high percentage of the films are either very good or excellent. The people who select the films at VIFF simply know how to make great choices. In general, their films don’t disappoint.

Each year, this festival is filled with surprises. Even the festival programmers can’t predict what’s going to be popular.

Sometimes certain films that nobody ever heard of end up becoming huge phenomenal hits.

With so many films to choose from, picking a few movies to go see can be quite a challenge.

To start, you can find complete information on movies, schedules, locations and ticketing at their website: Most of the movies show twice, and a few, three times.

If you have a particular interest (like sports, suspense, music or environment) you can actually search for movies that match what you want right here:
The first showings each day generally start about 10 a.m.; the last end about 11 or 12 at night. The Granville 7 Cinemas, shows VIFF films in their seven screen multiplex. Two other theatres for VIFF are located a few blocks away

If you want to plan your visit to VIFF, it’s smart to consider your individual tastes, and review the website in order to create a scheduled list.

Yet for those who don’t like to plan, it can be fun to just show up, see what’s on, and take a chance. Sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised.

Below are selected highlights to help you get started. These are just some that will be shown in each category, not all of them.

To read details about the movies below, go to the website and type in or find the movie title.

Comedy: For those who like to laugh, there are so many choices. Some good options are: A Beauty in Trouble, Change of Address, Citizen Duane, Colour Me Kubrick, Comeback Season, Congorama, Dans Paris, Dog Days Dream, Fido, My Scary Girl, A New Day in Old Sana’a, Offside, The Post Modern Life of My Aunt and Vitus.

Drama or True/Strong Story: The Yacoubian Building, Catch a Fire, Cats of Miriktani, East of Paradise, Elementary Particles, Deliver Me, Encounter Point, A Sunday in Kigali, Last King of Scotland, Jindabyne, The Bet Collector, Lost in a Moment, The Queen.

Documentaries: End of an Elephant, Thirteen and a Half, Manual Landscapes, Thin, Raised to be Heroes, Our Daily Bread, Smell of Paradise, Waban-Aki: People from Where the Sun Rises.
About Oil: Epic of Black Gold and A Crude Awakening.

Music: For classical there’s Antonio Vivaldi: a Prince in Venice and Mozartballs. A charming musical is Colma.

For world music try: Sound of the Soul: the Fez Festival of World Music. For bossa nova, there’s Vinicius. For gypsy music there’s When the Road Bends, and for touching music and travel film try Voyage in G Minor, and To Play and to Fight.

There are literally hundreds of other film gems to discover at VIFF. Known as a great showcase for Canadian films, their documentary, East Asian, French and music related films are also strong choices.

Last but not least, VIFF is affordable. Because it’s a non-profit, there’s an annual membership fee of $2. Tickets to most movies cost about the same as a regular movie price.

If you think you might see several films, a pass can be a more affordable and convenient way to go.

Also, before planning a day trip, it’s a good idea to check the website at, or call to find out about possible last minute schedule changes.