04 Feb ANTI-VALENTINE’S DAY
Broken relationships, a volcanic explosion, and lots of drinking; this is a collection of the least romantic films streaming at VFF.
Watch them if you’re feeling less than festive.
Fanny Lye Deliver’d
Set on an isolated farm in Shropshire in 1657. The story of Fanny Lye, a woman who learns to transcend her oppressive marriage and discover a new world of possibility – albeit at great personal cost. Living a life of Puritan stricture with husband John and young son Arthur, Fanny Lye’s world is shaken to its core by the unexpected arrival of two strangers in need, a young couple closely pursued by a ruthless sheriff and his deputy.
Games People Play
Director Jenni Toivoniemi makes her feature film debut with a bittersweet comedy about a group of thirty-something friends regressing to their teenage selves during a reunion weekend.
An old group of friends gathers at an idyllic seaside villa to celebrate a surprise birthday party for Mitzi – just like they used to do as teenagers. The weekend starts ominously when Mitzi, who is the dramatic focal point of the group, does not respond well to the surprise. Old rituals and new revelations rise to the surface making the group of friends reassess their past, their present and drink more Kossu (Finnish liquor).
Games People Play, featuring a brilliant cast ensemble including Laura Birn (also in this year’s Helen, Netflix’s The Innocents) and Christian Hillborg (Fleabag), is a delicious mix of delight and darkness resulting in a perfect heartwarming satire. If you are into strong characters and full-of-heart raw humour, you will love this film. Kippis!
Are robots going to take over the world and replace humans? Will your microwave be your best friend in the future? Or your worst enemy?
Have you ever asked yourself these questions? If so, keep reading. If not, keep reading.
iHuman, is a documentary thriller that explores the most powerful and far-reaching technology of our time – Artificial Intelligence. With a unique access to pioneers at the frontline of the AI revolution, it explores opportunities and challenges that it can bring and its impact on the global community. How is AI changing our lives? What role will play in the future?
iHuman will give you real chills and perhaps encourage taking that technology-free weekend to the cabin you have always dreamt of.
It’s a gripping ride on a slow simmer in Urszula Antoniak’s at times vertigo-inducing film. Lex and Hannah have broken up – her idea. After much persuasion, Hannah agrees to go on one last mountain climb with Lex. They will climb to the peak and then be picked up by helicopter, where Lex claims that he will finally be able to let go of her.
They meet up with their very handsome and compelling guide, Voytek, who adds his own level of mysterious tension. Voytek feels that something is amiss with Lex, and he tries to support Hannah, but he is only engaged to go so far.
It’s a gorgeous film, to be sure, and the actors must be applauded for doing their own climbs. Director Antoniak’s decision to forgo CGI adds a realism that the acting matches. Magic Mountains is suspenseful and, as the altitude rises, so does the tension.
My Wonderful Wanda
In a gripping comedy of errors, the award-winning Swiss director Bettina Oberli cleverly tackles issues of privilege, family dynamics and desires.
Wanda, a Polish single mother of two boys, becomes entangled with a wealthy Swiss family when she is employed to care for its recovering-from-a-stroke patriarch, Josef. Being utterly pragmatic, and trying to earn extra money for her family in Poland, the young woman expands her caregiving services by also satisfying Josef’s sexual needs. Things get complicated when Wanda unexpectedly becomes pregnant with his child.
Beautifully directed, My Wonderful Wanda is intelligent, funny and cleverly structured, to cite a few of its merits. It proves, in a cliché-free way, that money doesn’t buy happiness and dealing with family is never simple.
If you think that family life is easy, try raising three teenage boys.
All Veronika and Michael Kamber-Gruber, a middle-aged couple from Zurich, want is for their late-pubescent twin sons to move out. The couple believes they did everything right as parents, but their mischievous sons Romeo and Anton do everything they can to shatter that belief. They can barely get out of bed, let alone reliably get to school. When their grandfather entices them to further autonomy with a large advance on their inheritance, the situation gets even worse. The distressed parents flee the apartment with their third, youngest son and move into their new refuge – a tiny studio apartment.
Parents, an auto-fictional grotesque comedy, was written by the couple Eric Bergkraut and Ruth Schweikert based on their own experiences and filmed with their own sons in their own apartment. The result is an honest and shamelessly realistic portrait of what it means to be a family – for better or for worse.
If 2020 were a movie it would be Skyfire.
From the director of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Con Air, we bring you Skyfire – a Chinese disaster action mega-production.
Tianhuo Island, located in the world-famous Pacific Rim volcanic belt, is as beautiful as a paradise.
The idyllic location almost makes people forget that it’s in the area also infamously called the “Ring of Fire.” When the volcano erupts, the fate of the people on the island is in the hands of a geologist and her father.
The film has Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter series, Peter Pan, The Death of Stalin), Chinese superstars and is filled with action shots. So, get yourself some popcorn, maybe a good drink or two and enjoy some giant explosions. Because what else is there to do in life?
The Amber Light
A perfect winter film, The Amber Light leads us deep into the mysterious world of Scotland’s national drink. In this journey through the lesser-known parts of Scottish whisky culture, we follow writer Dave Broom on his quest to gain a deeper understanding of this world-famous drink.
A genuine whisky connoisseur, Dave, a Glaswegian, traces the history of whisky production in Scotland, meeting many fascinating characters and experts along the way. The deeper Dave journeys, the clearer it becomes that whisky is an integral part of Scottish culture and identity. What we witness on screen is a distilling process, with Dave as our guide, gently revealing a creative dedication to a Scottish cultural icon with beautiful clarity and warmth.
So pour yourself a dram, snuggle up and bask for an hour or so in the warm amber glow of liquid gold.
Miriam’s summer visit to her younger sister and brother-in-law’s remote cabin in the woods is a predictable set-up for a slasher flick, but this is anything but a generic genre film. The seemingly bucolic vacation home becomes subsumed by the forest’s shadows and overcast skies, as an act of sexual violence leads to the breakdown of already strained relationships. Madeleine Sims-Fewer’s credits as producer, writer and co-director give her creative control over the film’s every meticulous detail, culminating with her captivating performance as a woman driven to protect her sibling and gain control of her life at any cost. Andrea Boccadoro’s brooding score and Adam Crosby’s calculated cinematography, consisting of macrophotography contrasted with unsettling landscapes, make it impossible to look away, no matter how graphic and horrifying things become. Her collaborators rise to Sim-Fewer’s level of commitment, making for a riveting examination of personal boundaries and our capacity for retribution.