Founded in 1982, The Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society is a not-for-profit cultural organization that operates the internationally acclaimed Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), the annual VIFF Industry Conference and the year-round programming of the Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre.
2017 LGBT films...
2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten
Smart, funny and very moving, Petersen Vargas’ queer coming-of-age drama ranks with the best of its kind. Teenaged closet case Felix (Khalil Ramos) is resigned to going it alone in life, but then happens upon Magnus (Ethan Salvador), a wispy dreamboat with feline features and a devil-may-care expression. Felix thanks his lucky stars when Magnus and his brother Maxim (Jameson Blake) bring him into their lives. There’s a dark side to these brothers though, and turmoil, tears and violence are soon to come...
A gay man tries to understand and comfort his partner, who suffers from long-term depression, and help him find the joy of living again.
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
A crowd favourite at Cannes this year, Robin Campillo’s fast-paced drama positively vibrates with energy, commitment and joie de vivre. As the AIDS crisis claims more and more lives in early 1990s Paris, the AIDS activist group ACT-UP begins a heated campaign to raise awareness and disrupt the blasé middle class. ""Five stars! Compellingly combines elegy, tragedy, urgency and a defiant euphoria… This film has what its title implies: a heartbeat. It is full of cinematic life.--Guardian
Call Me by Your Name
Set in the sun-drenched countryside of Italy’s Lombardy region, Luca Guadagnino’s visually ravishing tale of first love is a flawlessly acted wonder. Ensconced in his family’s villa for the summer, 17-year-old Elio (Homeland’s Timothée Chalamet, superb) finds himself drawn to his professor-father’s (Michael Stuhlbarg) research assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer). What follows is guaranteed to stir your soul. "Masterful… reminiscent of the best of Eric Rohmer, Bernardo Bertolucci and André Téchiné."--Guardian
A towering figure in Mexican pop and favourite of Almodóvar, Chavela Vargas was both a myth and a cypher. A singer who turned Rancheras into dark journeys of the soul, Vargas endured a hard life but each trial (including her late-in-life coming out) made her deep, coarse voice richer. Directors Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi use the devastatingly beautiful lyrics of Chavela’s songs to illustrate the stages of a career punctuated by heartbreak. It’s a fascinating story with a killer soundtrack to boot.
Two drag queens move through the city on a night of debauchery, insights and revenge.
Abandoned by her mom, tween Tomo (Rinka Kakihara) needs a new place to live. Uncle Makio (Kenta Kiritani) is glad to take her in, but offers a gentle warning: his live-in partner is a bit "unusual." She’s played by Ikuta Toma, one of Japan’s hottest young stars, and he steals the show with his note-perfect turn. That’s right: girlfriend Rinko is a trans woman--a surprise to Tomo and the source of her awakening in Naoko Ogigami’s drama. "Gentle, sweet-souled… a nuanced, softly lit family portrait."--Variety
David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts
VIFF favourite Phil Grabsky (The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan, VIFF 04; In Search of Beethoven, VIFF 09; In Search of Chopin, VIFF 14) returns with this probing and celebratory documentary on the work of Britain’s greatest living artist, David Hockney. Focusing on two exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, in 2012 and 2016, the film features extensive, in-depth interviews with Hockney himself. And, with Grabsky at the helm, you know the images will be both beautiful and revealing.
A Fantastic Woman
When her older lover Orlando (Francisco Reyes) dies suddenly, transgendered Marina (a stunning Daniela Vega) faces horrible prejudice from officials investigating his death--and worse from the man's family. Director Sebastián Lelio (VIFF 13 standout Gloria) has fashioned a radiant tribute to one woman’s strength. "Five Stars! [This] trans tale stands alongside Almodóvar… It may be a timely film, but it is its timelessness, as well as its depths of compassion, that qualify it as a great one."--Guardian
God's Own Country
Announcing himself as a major talent with this remarkable, decorated debut, Francis Lee has crafted a sharply observed, richly textured and thrillingly sensual story about the redemptive powers of love and self-acceptance. Josh O’Connor is outstanding as mistrustful Johnny, who slowly opens up to the possibility of happiness with the help of gentle Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu), a ruggedly handsome Romanian farmhand whose soulful appreciation for rural life provides the catalyst for transformative change.
Clara, a lonely, lower-class black nurse from the outskirts of São Paulo, is hired by the mysterious, wealthy and white Ana to be the nanny of her unborn child. The two women develop an unlikely bond, which, under the full moon, eventually becomes sexual. But all is not well with Ana, and a fateful night changes their plans and alters the film itself. Creating a dreamy, stylized São Paulo, Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra tell their story as a political fairy tale, creating a warped Walt Disney film.
Last Days in Havana
Fernando Pérez’s tragicomic tale expertly captures Havana’s faded glory while detailing the lives of those caught up in uncertain times. Exuberant Diego (Jorge Martinez) has AIDS and is confined to his bed; lifelong friend Miguel (Patricio Wood) is a dishwasher who takes care of his every need. When Diego’s spunky (and pregnant) 15-year-old niece Yusi (Gabriela Ramos) arrives on the scene, his days liven up considerably… "A touching celebration of love, devotion and stoical endurance."—Screen
On Putin's Blacklist
An engaging and timely tour d'horizon of Mother Russia and her place in today's world. We witness the wounded pride of Russians as the Soviet Empire crumbles and the jingoistic xenophobia born out of an increased reliance on foreign investment grows. Propaganda and demonization of the "other" result in institutionalized racism and a culture of disdain. Boris Ivanov brings us up to speed on the shameful adoption crisis, state-sanctioned Internet hacking and the heartless treatment of LGBTQ citizens.
Rebels on Pointe
For over 40 years, the all-male drag troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo has been delighting audiences around the world. In size 11 toe shoes, the Trocs send up the high art and formality of classical ballet. Director Bobbi Jo Hart shares the rich archival history of this New York collective, born in the wake of the Stonewall Riots, and their progress from preposterous to phenomenal. Best of all, we get to know the international ballerinos while enjoying their satiric wit and outré virtuosity.
In the chaos of 1969's Stonewall riots, a cop and a drag queen share a dark past.
This Nordic thriller features Eili Harboe in a star-making role. Playing the titular character, she gives a beguiling performance, expressing angst and repression yet still giving off a powerful erotic charge. A small-town girl gone to study in Oslo, Thelma meets her first love--and starts to experience seizures. Things get even more drastic from there, as director Joachim Trier (Louder Than Bombs) combines the religious, the sexual and the supernatural to mesmerizing effect.
Tom of Finland
LGBTQ icon Tom of Finland--the artist who saw his "pornographic" drawings of well-endowed hunks go from criminal to celebrated--is the fascinating focus of director Dome Karukoski’s biopic, starring an excellent Pekka Strang. Moving from WWII through to Tom’s halcyon days and nights in the California of the 1970s and 80s, the drama "is most effective at showcasing the bountiful beauty of [Tom’s] fleshy, filthy sketches, as well as the empowered pursuit of pleasure for which they continue to stand."--Variety
Ritual circumcision of South African Xhosa boys as a passage into manhood is only one form of wound on display in John Trengove’s sensitive debut. Centred around the closeted Xolani (well-known gay singer Nakhane Touré), a caregiver to the newly circumcised boy-men; his (married) lover, Vija (Bongile Mantsai); and Xolani’s latest charge, the rebellious teen Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini), this powerful drama is "[a] hard-edged but beautifully wrought study of clashing Xhosa models of masculinity."--Variety