The Vancouver International Film Festival has presented a lot of world premieres over its 37 years, and 2018 is no different. Be among the first—in the entire world!—to catch these titles when VIFF gets underway, starting September 27:
Lost City of the Monkey God (USA) Probably the best Indiana Jones movie never made, Bill Benenson’s doc follows a team of archeologists into the Honduran jungle in pursuit of a fabled Mayan city. Not a spoiler: they found it.
The Whistleblower of My Lai (USA) In 1968, 504 innocent people were slaughtered by American troops at My Lai. Connie Fields’s heady doc pays a return visit to helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson, the man who lifted the lid on one of the worst crimes perpetrated against the Vietnamese by US invaders, contrasting his thoughts with the creation of a new opera (titled My Lai) from composer Jonathan Berger and the Kronos Quartet.
Iyengar: The Man, Yoga, and the Student’s Journey (USA) The subject of Jake Clennell’s doc, spiritual guru B.K.S. Iyengar was among those most responsible for popularizing yoga around the world. To that extent he was also responsible for Chip Wilson, but that’s balance for you.
It’s Boring Here, Pick Me Up (Japan) Expect a good time from Vibrator director Hiroki Ryuichi, here delving into a sort-of triangle involving two old high school acquaintances and the cool kid they both lusted after.
Wine Calling (France) Let’s be frank: climate change and the incipient collapse of global capitalism could really fuck with your wine cellar. In Bruno Sauvard’s doc, we meet a small band of French winemakers trying to circumvent the inevitable by adapting an ancient practice to sustainable technology. Possibly the most important film at VIFF this year.
Baikonur, Earth (Italy) For those who prefer their Ballardian imaginal realms real, filmmaker Andrea Sorini takes us to the Kyzylorda Region of Kazakhstan, home of the Soviet Space Program’s Cosmodrome, now the last, lonely jumping point for anyone visiting the International Space Station—but also, reportedly, a landscape of surpassing strangeness and bleak beauty.
Lush Reeds (China) Huang Lee plays a reporter courting big-time trouble when she starts to investigate a case of industrial poisoning. If that sounds like a Yangtze River riff on Silkwood or Erin Brockovich, VIFF programmer Shelly Kraicer writes: “[Director] Yang [Yishu’s] low-key, reflective approach unfolds dreamlike mysteries with a gentle beauty.”
Last Summer (UK) Four Welsh youths face violent death and, worse, social services, in this tough, '70s-era coming-of-age drama from UK filmmaker Jon Jones.