IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS
BEFORE US Early Vancouver Independents Free Screening! CANADA ON SCREEN: FEATURE FILMS
The Bitter Ash is presented as part of Canada On Screen, a celebration of Canada’s 150 essential moving-image works. Canada On Screen is a year-long, nation-wide program honouring Canada’s 150th birthday and its rich cinematic heritage. Screenings are free of charge. For more information, see page 8–9.
The Bitter Ash Canada 1963. Dir: Larry Kent. 79 min. DCP
In 1963, a 26-year-old UBC student named Larry Kent wrote and directed the first modern and truly Canadian feature made in Vancouver. Produced for a mere $5,000, this stylish, scandalous drama set against the sexual revolution was also, arguably, the first modern Canadian feature, predating Donald Owen’s Nobody Waved Goodbye by a year. Kent’s brash film follows the sexual shenanigans of a young man torn between adult responsibility and the freedoms offered by the emerging counterculture. Set to a free jazz score and imbued with New Wave visual energy, The Bitter Ash announced itself as something new and vital in Canadian cinema. A notorious nude scene saw it banned in many locales, but also made it highly popular on Canadian campuses! “A big piece of Canadian and B.C. film history . . . The Bitter Ash is to Vancouver what La Dolce Vita is to Rome” (Brett Enemark).
The Supreme Kid Canada 1976. Dir: Peter Bryant. 90 min. DCP
Rare screening! Writer-director Peter Bryant’s amiable comedy was the first feature made by an alumnus of the SFU Film Workshop, an important incubator of 16mm filmmaking in the 1960s and 1970s. (“What the Workshop does,” Bryant said in a contemporary Cinema Canada article, “is get people involved who are really interested in making films. No courses, nothing. That’s all they want to do.”) His episodic road movie follows Ruben (Frank Moore) and Wes (Jim Henshaw), two hippyhobos who meet motley characters and have misadventures as they drift around B.C. Helen Shaver has one of her first big-screen roles, as does Terry David Mulligan. Praised for its easy-going attitude and feel for character and pacing, The Supreme Kid was one of the first B.C. indie features to screen at an international festival, appearing at Karlovy Vary (and Toronto). DCP courtesy of Library and Archives Canada. There will be a 15-minute intermission between The Bitter Ash and The Supreme Kid Free admission this evening for both films.
Introduced by Tom Scholte, award-winning Vancouver stage and screen actor and Professor, Acting and Directing, Department of Theatre and Film, UBC MONDAY, JANUARY 30 – 6:30 PM
Mount Pleasant Canada 2006. Dir: Ross Weber. 87 min. 35mm
The gentrification of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbour is the backdrop for writer-director Ross Weber’s thoughtful tale of three dysfunctional couples whose destinies intertwine after a six-year-old girl injures herself with an addict’s discarded needle she finds in her yard. Doug (Ben Ratner) and Sarah (Camille Sullivan), who have just moved into the ’hood, are the girl’s distraught parents; the experience sends Doug on an angry mission against the druggies, prostitutes, and johns frequenting the area. Nadia (Katie Boland) and boyfriend Nick (Tygh Runyan) are teenaged addicts; Nadia supports their habits by hooking. Stephen (Shawn Doyle), married to Anne (Kelly Rowan), is a well-
off west side businessman who cruises Mount Pleasant to buy sex. Weber won the Leo for Best Director. “Beautifully crafted . . . A strong cast offer powerful and confident performances in this engaging drama” (Vancouver I.F.F.). preceded by
Flowers. Canada 2015. Dir: Jessica Johnson. 8 min.
In Vancouver filmmaker Jessica Johnson’s short, made at SFU, a young woman tries to avoid an awkward confrontation. Introduced by Curtis Woloschuk (TBC), Canadian Shorts Programmer, VIFF MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6 – 7:00 PM
Focus on the Personal Film
Eve and the Fire Horse
Canada 2005. Dir: Julia Kwan. 92 min. 35mm
Canada 1993. Dir: Patricia Gruben. 72 min. DCP
Julia Kwan’s stylishly-shot charmer, a festival hit at home and abroad, is set in a loving re-created early-1970s Vancouver. Eve centres on precocious nine-year-old Eve (Phoebe Kut), ominously born in the Year of the Fire Horse – said to produce difficult children! She and older sister Karena (Hollie Lo) let their wild imaginations get the best of them – and get them into trouble – as they fervently embrace Catholicism, Buddhism, and superstition (and, sometimes, a mixture of all three) in order to cope with several crises in their immigrant Chinese family. The film’s multiple awards include six Leos, a Special Jury Prize at Sundance, Most Popular Canadian Film honours at VIFF, and the Canadian Screen Award for best first feature. “An exceptional feature debut . . . Both a finely wrought period piece and a slice of delicately captured childhood” (Ken Eisner, Variety).
Vancouver filmmaker Patricia Gruben’s highly original, highly personal film, a mind-expanding documentary essay in the Chris Marker/Sans Soleil mode, uses the mystical geographical concept of “ley lines” as a metaphoric means for excavating the history of her own family and exploring the process of uncovering one’s roots. Gruben’s experimental journey begins with an excerpt from The Incredible Shrinking Man, and then takes us from Texas to Germany to Tuktoyaktuk; much of it is structured around a conversation between the director and her imaginary child self. Neuron-firing musings abound: on the micro and the macro, time and space, dowsing, Hitler, a tycoon who bequeathed $2 million to a lump of dirt. “Ley Lines eschews conventional narrative storytelling in favour of associative and cumulative revelation . . . A carefully shaped and resonant work of great imaginative power” (David McIntosh, Toronto I.F.F.).
Guest in attendance: Julia Kwan Introduced by Shaun Inouye, Operations and Programming Associate, The Cinematheque MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 – 7:00 PM
Zmena - Medzi Dvoma Svetmi
(Change – Between Two Worlds) Canada 2016. Dir: Eva Pekarova. 3 min.
In Emily Carr University student Eva Pekarova’s meditative experimental short, images of an immigrant family living in B.C. are used to explore nature, tradition, and the displacement of peoples. Guest in attendance: Patricia Gruben MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27 – 7:00 PM