VIFF: This week in closing…

Today marks the last day of the Vancouver International Film Festival with a short review on the last film I watched.

It’s also the day of the first vice-presidential debate of 2020 and the day I start baking again.

Right now I have a banana walnut loaf in the oven and I’ve finished baking the most delicious lavender pepper cheese scones.  I’ll share that recipe with you soon because I know you’ll love it, and when you find out how easy they are to make it’s sure to become a staple.  But right now…

From the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF): Contemporary World Cinema

Hammamet – Italian (French thrown in on occasion) with English subtitles.

The question is “what the hell was going on in Italy during a time many in government were perceived as being indistinguishable from the Mafia?” 

Italy revisited – last night I watched a movie about an Italian historical leader that I did not know anything about and at first was reluctant to watch.  Bettino Craxi was the leader of the Italian Socialist Party (1976-1993) and Prime Minister of Italy from 1983 till 1987.

I now understand why this semi-biographical drama was a box office hit at home in Italy. The drama directed by festival favourite Gianni Amelio’s (La Tenerezza, Open Doors, Stolen Children) traces Craxi’s final months with his family at his oasis villa in Hammamet, Tunisia, where he fled to avoid prison for crimes of bribery and corruption.

Hmmm….bribery and corruption.  While not as prominent a thing in Canadian, influence peddling via campaign contributions from corporate sources definitely remains a thing in US politics.

But let’s get back to the Mediterranean, shall we? The scenery is lovely as you can imagine (Tunisia, Italy), however, I give this one three *** out of five stars…if only because I unfortunately did not find it exciting or as interesting as I had hoped.  Others (especially those of Italian heritage) may appreciate it more. 

You still have a little more time to order tickets at:

On another note: I updated my “about” page after a few people pointed out that there was nothing about me on that page.  Now there is.

Film/Culture: Eye in the Sky – “the spys are among us”

IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A BUG, IT’S A PLANE,  it’s a drone…all super drones

palmspringsbanner all part of a new military spy thriller (and at times, a black comedy) called “Eye in the Sky” starring three of my favourites, Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman and  Aaron Paul (of breaking bad fame).  I decided that even if the movie wasn’t up to par I would still enjoy watching these superb actors in their respective roles.  But the movie was more than up to par – it was thought provoking and provocative. It is the ounce of truth.

This film, which was featured the other night as part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) brings to the forefront what is now part of and becoming more a part of our culture, good and bad. It’s a fictional movie based on fact.  In short it’s about a military officer (played by Mirren) in command of a drone operation to capture terrorists in Kenya.  The mission escalates from “capture” to “kill” but when a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone, the priority becomes clouded.

The movie is also a conversation starter.

Director Gavin Hood who was on hand for questions and answers at the end of the screening intended it to be that way.

It’s kind of complicated.  It really makes you think about the decisions that go into a “kill” operation on all levels.  It emphasizes the buck passing on who takes responsibility for the final decision and the consequences that arise out of that.   Frightening, sad, heroic and timely.

Google “the trolley experiment to go more in depth about this subject (which Hood spoke about) to find out about the ethical and philosophical values of “making a big decision”.  A “what would you do?” in that situation.  Interesting when the tables are turned….sometimes you just don’t know what you are capable of.  I find it fascinating and scary.

The drone part is something we’ll have to get used to.  You can now be the literal “fly on the wall.” It made me want a personal one of my own (to use only when necessary).  They’re sold online but the problem is the authenticity.  I would want one that resembles a real fly.  Just kidding (sort of).

The movie is due out in theatres in March.

WATCH the trailer: 

Hood co-wrote and directed a movie I loved and which has resonated with me since having seen it called “Tsotsie” – about a young small-time street thug from South Africa during the turbulent years before and after the fall of apartheid.  Things turn around when he steals a car and finds a baby in the back seat.  The film won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.  It was an outstanding film.  One I highly recommend watching.

Trailer for “Tsotsi”