VIFF 2016's queer cinema includes Bruce McDonald, André Téchiné, Park Chan-wook, and more

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      While the Vancouver Queer Film Festival may have wrapped up, Vancouver queer cinema fans can always look forward to the generous number of LGBT selections available at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

      This year includes some renowned French auteurs, such as André Téchiné (Wild Reeds) and Alain Guiraudie (Stranger by the Lake).

      Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald, of Hard Core Logo fame, takes on queer cinema with Weirdos, a 1970s road trip with, of course, a rockin' Canadian soundtrack.  

      Like Chloé Robichaud's 2013 feature Sarah Prefers to Run, Yan England's 1:54 follows a gay protagonist who copes with sexual identity confusion by pursuing competitive running.

      Among LGBT–interest titles, Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) offers The Handmaiden, the sensual tale of a Korean female thief who attempts to defraud a Japanese heiress of her inheritance. 

      For screening information, including dates, times, and venues, please visit the VIFF website

      Yan England (Canada)

      At sixteen, Tim (Mommy's Antoine Olivier Pilon) is a bright student and gifted athlete. He is, however, somewhat timid, and with good reason. Navigating the nebulous world of teenage sexual identity has left the young man isolated and afraid. He copes with his anxiety by throwing himself back into competitive running, a sport he'd abandoned. In Yan England's dramatic thriller, bullying and peer pressure are the catalysts for a dramatic change in attitude and a redefinition of what makes Tim, Tim.


      Being 17

      BEING 17
      André Téchiné (France)

      Set in the French Pyrenees, André Téchiné's (Wild Reeds) latest charts the coming of age and sexual awakening of two lads, one the son of farmers, the other a brainy kid from town. Initially enemies, Tom (Corentin Fila) and Damien (Kacey Mottet Klein) grow to share a profound connection that is both moving and unsentimental. "This quiet stunner represents a return to peak form for Téchiné... It's an intimate epic that builds in wholly unexpected ways to a final act of searing poignancy." – Hollywood Reporter


      Eric Juhola (USA)

      In small-town Colorado, an elementary school bathroom is the flashpoint for a heated legal battle. After their transgender daughter is banned from using the bathroom that matches her gender, her parents take their case to the court of public opinion only to incur a fierce backlash and be branded child abusers. Eric Juhola's inspiring documentary profiles this undaunted family as they campaign tirelessly for their child's rights. "Its emotional heft makes it more than an advocacy film..." – Guardian


      Barry Jenkins (USA)

      Barry Jenkins' Florida-set coming-of-age tale eschews tired tropes in favour of an urgent, deeply felt take on what it means to be a black man in America today. Using an impressionistic style, Jenkins masterfully traces the life of Chiron (played as an adult by Trevante Rhodes) from his boyhood days in the midst of a 1980s Miami crack epidemic to adulthood, shattering stereotypes along the way. "[The] best film I've seen in a long time and the best take on black masculinity... ever." – Ta-Nehisi Coates


      João Pedro Rodrigues (Portugal)

      João Pedro Rodrigues returns with a beautiful, provocative and highly personal modern reading of the life of St. Anthony of Padua. When we first see Fernando (Paul Hamy), he is idyllically pursuing his love of birdwatching. Soon, however, a canoeing mishap and a decidedly strange encounter with two (female) Chinese pilgrims mark the turn into queered up allegorical territory. Prepare to be dazzled and intrigued. "Puts the ‘vision' in visionary... Remarkable [and] gorgeously realized..." – Hollywood Reporter


      Our Love Story

      OUR LOVE STORY (Yeon-ae-dam)
      Lee Hyun-ju (South Korea)

      A healthy corrective to other Korean films about lesbianism, Lee Hyunju's debut is fresh, keenly observed and emotionally truthful. Art student Yoonju, who has never liked boys, finds herself attracted to the self-confident Jisoo and the two start dating. But both young women are under pressure to find husbands, and their relationship begins to suffer. True love hurts, indeed.


      Alain Guiraudie (France)

      Alain Guiraudie (Stranger by the Lake) again rejects a heteronormative worldview in this provocative and offbeat almost-fairy tale about a sexually fluid would-be screenwriter, Léo (Damien Bonnard), who, after fathering a child with a shepherdess, finds himself raising the baby alone in a region of the French countryside populated by foul-mouthed farmers and dangerous wolves... "Effective and thought-provoking. Adventurous viewers will... be charmed by this delightfully queer oddity." – Hollywood Reporter



      Bruce McDonald (Canada)

      Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo) has a knack for presenting the Canadian experience in a way that brings out universal truths. With a gently humorous script from playwright Daniel MacIvor, McDonald takes us back to the freewheeling '70s in a road flick featuring the music of Patsy Gallant, Gordon Lightfoot, and Murray McLauchlan. The setting is Cape Breton and the cast includes veteran Molly Parker, as well as promising newcomers Dylan Authors and Julia Sarah Stone as the central pair of teenage runaways.



      Jenny Gage (USA,79 min)

      All This Panic is a feature length documentary that takes an intimate look into the interior lives of seven teenage girls as they come of age in NYC. A potent mix of high art portraiture and cinéma vérité, we follow them as they navigate the ephemeral and fleeting transition between child and adult. Shot over a three-year period in a lush and cinematic style, All This Panic is a meditation on the mysterious, sometimes painful, and ultimately exhilarating time of life. In a world where “they want to see us, but they don’t want to hear us…”, this is a project comprised of young women speaking to their own experiences.


      François Ozon (France/Germany)

      Hot young star Pierre Niney, known to North American audiences for his lead role in Yves Saint-Laurent, teams up with writer-director François Ozon (Young & Beautiful, Under the Sand) for this gorgeous post-World War I period piece. Niney plays Adrien, a mysterious Frenchman whose visit to the graveside of his friend Frantz, a German soldier killed in the war, causes passions to run high in the small German town where Frantz is buried. Among those most affected is Frantz's fiancée, Anna (Paula Beer)...


      The Handmaiden

      Park Chan-wook (South Korea)

      With this sexy, dangerous bodice-ripper, Park Chanwook (Oldboy) has fashioned a cinema of striptease; as the film slowly unspools, we marvel at its sensual flair. After a Korean pickpocket is hired by a con-man to masquerade as a Japanese heiress's maid and help pilfer her fortune, The Handmaiden's plot twists as fast as its characters shift sexual allegiances. "Park brings the full arsenal of cinematic expression... [He] can make a mere door opening an act of emotional transcendence." – Village Voice


      Living With Giants

      LIVING WITH GIANTS (Chez les géants)
      Sebastian Rist, Aude Leroux-Lévesque (Canada)

      This nuanced documentary by directors Sebastien Rist and Aude Leroux-Lévesque is infused with deep-rooted traditions and the harsh realities of a changing Arctic. Paulusie is an optimistic, imaginative and sensitive Inuk teen who loves the solitude of hunting. But when alcohol is smuggled into his dry community for a graduation party, his life is turned upside down. Kudos to the directors for avoiding facile political statements and revealing something deeper about Native youth in the North.