VIFF 2011 Gala films Take This Waltz and The Kid With a Bike stir up excitement

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Although the opening and anniversary gala screenings were to be confirmed as of press time, Vancouver International Film Festival director Alan Franey was pleased to talk to the Straight about Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz. The highly anticipated film—already creating an almighty buzz before its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival—plays at the Canadian Images gala on September 30.

“Sarah Polley’s film exemplifies Canadian cinema now,” Franey said of the movie, which, not so coincidentally, shares its title with a Leonard Cohen song and stars Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Sarah Silverman. “It’s a work that you can see that is intended to go places. It’s got a fabulous cast; a lot of care has been taken with it; and it really reads Canada.”

This year, Canadian Images screens more than 80 homegrown titles, including 29 features and 24 productions from B.C.—one of which is the concluding film in Carl Bessai’s family trilogy, Sisters & Brothers.

The gala closing film, meanwhile, will stir up no less excitement. The Kid With a Bike, by Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, shared the Grand Prix at Cannes this year. A drama about an 11-year-old boy abandoned by his father, Franey called The Kid With a Bike “a different kind of cinema”.

“The Dardennes continue to be so impressive with these fairly intimate stories that are really moral tales but told in a way that is truly gripping,” Franey said. “I just love this film. There’s something wonderfully classical about it, and yet they’re such great innovators.”

Besides those films still to be announced, Mitsuko Delivers, by Japan’s Ishii Yuya, closes out the Dragons & Tigers Awards Gala, on October 6.

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