VIFF announces 2023 lineup, including odes to Mr. Dressup, Priscilla Presley, and a truly misguided missionary

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      The Vancouver International Film Festival has rolled out its lineup for 2023, and while the opening and closing movies got spotlight coverage at a Wednesday morning press conference, let’s take a second to focus on some of the deeper cuts.

      Fascinating (not to mention idiotically misguided) only begins to describe The Mission, which tells the story of John Chau, who­—determined to bring the teachings of Jesus to an isolated Indigenous tribe off the coast of India—ended up dead for his troubles.

      Canadians of a certain vintage will already be lining up, bowties in place, for Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe, which celebrates the great children’s entertainer Ernie Coombs. And Priscilla, from the always-inventive Sofia Coppola, brings the story of Priscilla Presley’s Elvis and Me bio to the big screen, with Cailee Spaeny playing the former Mrs. Presley between the ages of 15 and 27.

      Those three highlight films are among the nearly 140 features and 100 shorts screening during the 42nd edition of VIFF, running from September 28 to October 8. In addition to 32 features and 50 shorts from Canada, films from 70 countries across the world will screen at the festival.

      It opens with Aki Kaurismäki’s grey skies romance Fallen Leaves, which took home the Jury Prize in Cannes. The Pot-au-Feu, director Tran Anh Hùng’s ode to the magic of cooking and food, closes this year’s fest. (For those keeping score, the movie netted Hùng a best director award at Cannes.)

      This year’s edition marks an official return to something resembling post-pandemic normalcy, with movies playing on 10 screens in seven venues across the city.

      Speaking at the VIFF Centre in Downtown Vancouver, fest executive director Kyle Fostner said, “The past few years were challenging, but we’re back, fully in-cinema, with 11 days of celebration overflowing with powerful films and inspiring live performances to help our community reconnect with what makes this place so special.”

      In addition to films, expect live talks with filmmakers, VIFF labs, and more.

      Tickets are already on sale for VIFF+ members, with the general public able to get in on the action tomorrow (September 7). And once you’ve picked up your tickets—available individually or in packs of six, 10, or 20—don’t forget there are worse places to keep them safe than your official Mr. Dressup Tickle Trunk.

      Vancouver International Film Festival

      When: September 28 to October 8

      Where: Various locations around Vancouver