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Random Acts of Romance, directed by Katrin Bowen

Random Acts of Romance, directed by Katrin Bowen

Film

VIFF film reviews: Plan your paparazzi-free film fest experience Add to ...

The 31st Vancouver International Film Festival has more than 600 screenings scheduled through Oct. 12. Globe B.C. will run daily capsule reviews throughout the festival to help you plan your VIFF experience. No, you won’t find Kristen Stewart or Gwyneth Paltrow at VIFF, unlike that paparazzi-fest back east, but here’s what you will be able to find, without too much trouble: a ticket. See below for reviews for Friday's screenings, followed by other festival film reviews in alphabetical order:

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SCREENING FRIDAY

Amour :A well-off cultured Parisian couple struggle with the ravages of age and illness in Michael Haneke’s drama, which won Palme d’Or at the 65th Cannes film festival in May

At VIFF: Oct. 8, 3 p.m. Vogue; Oct. 12, 6:20 p.m. Granville 3

****

Blood Relative: Thalassemia sufferers have stunted growth, but also a champion in Vinay Shetty, and this doc follows a year in their lives characterized by hope

At VIFF: Oct. 6, 6:45 p.m., Granville 2; Oct. 10, 4:15 p.m., Granville 7; Oct. 12, 9:15 p.m., Granville 2

****

Persistence of Vision: The lifelong project of Canadian animation pioneer Richard Williams was doomed to fail, but the documentary telling the tale is gripping

At VIFF: Oct. 4, 6 p.m., Granville 4; Oct. 7, 3 p.m., Granville 4; Oct. 12, 10:45 a.m., Pacific Cinémathèque

****

Random Acts of Romance: Two couples on the verge of disaster cross paths in this Canadian-directed film anchored by strong performances and good writing

At VIFF: Oct. 5, 6 p.m., Granville 4; Oct. 9, 12 p.m., Granville 5; Oct. 12, 6 p.m., Granville 5

****

Virgin Tales: Documentary follows families in the midst of purity balls: either sweet affirmations of teen girls' commitment to Christ or creepy conservative rituals, depending on your perspective

At VIFF: Oct. 4, 6 p.m., Granville 1; Oct. 7, 12:15 p.m., Granville 5; Oct. 12, 3:15 p.m., Granville 1

****

MORE FESTIVAL REVIEWS

A Late Quartet: Elegant performances drive this character drama about the members of an illustrious string quartet

At VIFF: Oct. 4, 9 p.m., Granville 3; Oct. 7, 9 p.m., Granville 3

****

A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman: Lacks the absurdity one might expect from a film based on Chapman's comedic memoir and featuring the voice work of his surviving Monty Python cast-mates

At VIFF: Oct. 6, 4:15 p.m., Park; Oct. 11, 9:15 p.m., Park

****

A Mere Life: Welcome to the unrelentingly bleak life of Park Il-rae, who can't keep a job to support his family and can't even succeed at committing suicide

At VIFF: Oct. 1, 12:45 p.m., Pacific Cinémathèque

****

After the Battle: A dramatic lens combines with Tahrir Square protest footage to tell the story of a modern Egyptian woman who comes to the aid of a marginalized villager during the crisis

At VIFF: Oct. 3, 6:05 p.m., Granville 3; Oct. 8, 2:45 p.m., Granville 3; Oct. 10, 6 p.m., Granville 3

****

Barbara: A resourceful surgeon exiled to a rural hospital in 1980s East Germany must tread carefully to avoid exposing her Western lover's plan to get her out of the country

At VIFF: Oct. 5, 9:15 p.m., Granville 3; Oct. 11, 3 p.m., Granville 3

****

Berberian Sound Studio: This thriller within a thriller is a tension-filled treat for vintage horror fans

At VIFF: Sept. 30, 4:20 pm Granville 2; Oct. 9, 9:30 pm Granville 1

****

Beware of Mr. Baker: Documentary chronicles the life of drummer Ginger Baker, with mixed results

At VIFF: Sept. 28, 3:20 p.m. Granville 5; Oct. 2, 9:30 p.m. Granville 1, Oct. 6, 3 p.m. Granville

****

Beyond the Hills

At VIFF: Oct. 9, 10:30 a.m. Granville 2; <QL>Oct. 11, 9:30 p.m. Granville 7

****

Birders: The Central Park Effect: Which is more enrapturing: the birds or the birders?

At VIFF: Oct. 8, 3:15 pm Granville 1; Oct. 10, 6:15 pm, Granville 4

****

Cartoon College: A real-life look into the many (perhaps too many) characters learning the art of cartooning at a U.S. college

At VIFF: Sept. 29, 2:50 pm Granville 1; Oct. 4, 3:20 pm Granville 5; Oct. 5 6:30 pm, Pacific Cinémathèque

****

Emperor Visits the Hell: Based on a classical Chinese novel, this bizarre take on how the country's power elite can make your life hell suffers from a murky plot

At VIFF: Oct. 2, 6:45 pm, Pacific Cinematheque; Oct. 3, 1:30 pm Pacific Cinematheque

****

The End of Time: Try to keep up as noted experimental filmmaker Peter Mettler explores the meaning of time while avoiding the didactic in the attempt

At VIFF: Oct. 6, 1 p.m. Granville 7; Oct. 11, 9:30 p.m. Granville 1

****

Griot: Stunning documentary shows how, in Senegal, music's central role in the culture is recorded and defended by the griot

At VIFF: Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m. Granville 2; Sept. 30, 1:30 p.m. Vancity

****

The Invisible War: Casting light on a military shame: sexual assault in the forces

At VIFF: Sept. 28, 9:15 p.m. Granville 1; Sept. 29, 11:45 a.m. Granville 1

****

The Last Friday: Dark comedy follows Amman taxi driver's issues with money and mobility

At VIFF: Sept. 28, 8:45 p.m. Pacific Cinematheque; Oct. 1, 12:40 p.m. Granville 5

****

Laurence Anyways: Young director Xavier Dolan tackles the subject of gender identity in this well-acted love story, but the film's indulgent visual style holds it back

At VIFF: Oct. 5, 9:30 p.m., Granville 7; Oct. 7, 1:30 p.m., Granville 7

****

Leviathan: Tens of thousands of fish and related sea creatures were killed during the making of this film, an astonishing, often overwhelming documentary about the commercial fishery off the Massachusetts coast.

At VIFF: Oct. 9, 4:15 p.m. Granville 2

****

Like Someone in Love: Little is as it seems in this film that puts a Tokyo student and an elderly professor in unlikely roles in a span of 24 hours

At VIFF: Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m., Vogue; Oct. 10, 3:30 p.m., Vogue; Oct. 12, 11 a.m., Vancity

****

Lore: Booker-nominated coming-of-age novel adapted into exquisitely painful film tracking five siblings across Germany to face their future in 1945

At VIFF: Oct. 1, 4 p.m. Granville 7; Oct. 3, 9:30 p.m. Granville 7

****

Midnight's Children: Salman Rushdie and Deepa Mehta team up to put Rushdie's lauded novel on screen in a sweeping review of India's history

At VIFF: Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m. Vogue; Sept. 28, 2 p.m. Vogue; Oct. 3, 9 p.m. Vogue

****

The Minister: Thrilling drama takes profile of power-hungry politician to new heights

At VIFF: Sept. 28, 9 p.m. Granville 3; Sept. 30, 11:40 a.m. Granville 3; Oct. 4, 11:40 a.m. Granville 3

****

Moksha: The World Or I, How Does That Work?: No one can quite figure out why a distraught man is chained to a city park pathway, or even who he is, in this existential drama

At VIFF: Oct. 3, 6:45 pm Pacific Cinémathèque; Oct. 4, 1:30 pm Pacific Cinémathèque

****

Museum Hours: The lives of a Montreal woman and an Austrian museum guard cross in a drama as much about broken conversation as hushed silences

At VIFF: Oct. 11, 12 p.m. Granville 1

****

My Father and the Man in Black: A look at the life of the man behind Johnny Cash.

At VIFF:Oct. 2, 10:45 am Pacific Cinémathèque; Oct. 9, 6:30 pm Granville 7; Oct. 11, 2:50 pm Granville 1

****

Mystery: This film about a love triangle and a murder case is lacking in storytelling, but it provides a dark view of contemporary China in every way

At VIFF: Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m., Granville 7; Oct. 5, 10:30 a.m., Granville 7

****

No: This high-tension political thriller on ad men going head-to-head during Chile's 1988 referendum on the Pinochet regime was a hit at Cannes

At VIFF: Oct. 1, 1 p.m., Granville 7; Oct. 4, 10:30 a.m., Granville 7

****

No Job for a Woman: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII

At VIFF: Oct. 8, 6 p.m. Granville 5; Oct. 10, 2:30 p.m. Granville 5

****

Nuala: A powerful 2008 interview with celebrated Irish author Nuala O’Faolain, following her terminal diagnosis, forms the basis of this doc

At VIFF: Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m. Granville 5; Sept. 29 12:40 p.m. Granville 5; Oct. 3, 11 a.m. Vancity

****

Paradise: Love: Stylish imagery in this sex-tourism drama, but the story numbs with its grotesque, racially charged theme

At VIFF: Oct. 4, 1:15 p.m., Granville 7

****

Portrait of Wally: A movie about much more than stolen art

At VIFF: Oct. 2, 3:15 pm Granville 4; Oct. 10, 10:45 am, Pacific Cinémathèque

****

Reality: Fish vendor Luciano can't wait for his chance to appear on the Italian version of Big Brother, and his wait quickly feeds an unhealthy delusion

At VIFF: Oct. 5, 1 p.m., Granville 7; Oct. 8, 6:45 p.m., Granville 7; Oct. 10, 10:30 a.m., Granville 7

****

Rebelle (War Witch): There's more to life for abducted African girl Komona than fighting as a child soldier, but the journey is never easy

At VIFF: Sept. 30, 6:30 pm Granville 7; Oct. 7, 1:30 pm Vancity

****

Room 237: What's behind the door of Stanley Kubrick's Room 237? Here, documentary director Rodney Ascher aims to find out, and gives equal weight to several speculative theories

At VIFF: Oct. 7, 9:45 p.m., Granville 2; Oct. 11, 4 p.m., Granville 2

****

Rust and Bone: No idle film, this fast-moving melodrama is characterized by its raw performances and emotionally twisting plot

At VIFF: Sept. 29, 6:30 pm Granville 7; Oct. 6, 3:15 pm Granville 7

****

Seeking Asian Female:

At VIFF: Oct. 8, 6:15 p.m., Granville 4

****

The Sessions:

At VIFF: Oct. 8, 11:40 a.m. Granville 3

****

Stories We Tell: Life gives way to art in this personal quest film by Canadian Sarah Polley, who seeks insight on her late mother

At VIFF: Oct. 10, 8:45 p.m. Vogue; Oct. 12, 2:30 p.m. Granville 3

****

Tabu: Fall in love with this story of a dangerous love affair in Africa at the end of Portuguese colonialism

At VIFF: Oct. 2, 1:15 pm Granville 7; Oct. 4, 6:15 pm Vancity

****

Teddy Bear: How does an awkward, aging bodybuilder fall in love while living with Mom? Not easily

At VIFF: Sept. 28, 6 p.m., Granville 3; Oct. 2, 11:40 a.m. Granville 3

****

This Ain't California: See skateboarding like never before in this documentary about skaters in 1980s East Germany

At VIFF: Oct. 2, 6:45 pm, Pacific Cinematheque; Oct. 3, 1:30 pm Pacific Cinémathèque

****

The Unlikely Girl: A seemingly routine French student exchange turns disturbing in this drama sadly suffering from heavy-handedness and clichés

At VIFF: Oct. 6, 5 p.m., Granville 1; Oct. 7, 12 p.m., Granville 1; Oct. 11, 2 p.m., Granville 6

****

Wagner's Dream: Take a behind-the-scenes look at Quebec director Robert Lepage's painstaking and harrowing effort to bring Wagner's Ring Cycle to the New York opera stage

At VIFF: Sept. 27, 6 p.m. Granville 1; Oct. 2, 10:30 a.m. Granville 7; Oct. 8, 10:45 a.m. Vancity

****

When Night Falls: The true story of a young Chinese man who is ultimately executed in a gruesome killing is dramatized through the eyes of his mother

At VIFF: Oct. 1, 1:15 p.m., Granville 6

****

White Night: From director LeeSong Hee-il, a one-night layover in Seoul becomes a protracted journey of self-discovery for a moody gay flight attendant

At VIFF: Sept. 27, 9:15 p.m. Pacific Cinematheque; Oct. 3, 12 p.m. Granville 5

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