CIFF brings global and local film together
Calgary welcomes the finest films from around the world
By Amber McLinden, Staff Writer
Calgary International Film Festival has brought some of the best global films to Calgary for this year’s festival. The World Film Series highlights include American Honey, Personal Shopper, and The Handmaiden, three films that promise to bring any movie fan into CIFF’s theatres. Yet you can’t have a Canadian film festival without bringing some of the best from the homeland, and CIFF has a lineup that includes Calgary and Alberta based pictures, including A Miracle on Christmas Lake, Ice Guardians and Chokeslam.
American Honey is a coming of age film with a twist. Shia Laboeuf makes an appearance as Jake, one of two teenagers who joins one of America’s notorious magazine crews, and chaos ensues. Featuring excessive partying, law breaking, and generally running away from responsibility, this is a film that promises to empathize with essentially any millennial who’s ever felt purposeless. Premiering at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, it won the Jury Prize, the third highest honor.
Personal Shopper is a French psychological thriller that stars Kristen Stewart. Dissatisfied with her work, she seeks adventure in the supernatural with the help of Swedish abstract expressionist, Hilma af Klint. The movie takes the ever-typical ghost movie and flips it on it’s head, offering a much more provoking look at death.
The Handmaiden is another psychological thriller in this year’s World Cinema series. This film is directed by Park Chan-wook, renowned for his film Oldboy. His latest work is based in 1930’s Korea. In it Sook-hee is hired as a handmaiden to Lady Hideko, who is unaware that Sook-hee is actually a pickpocket looking to steal her wealth. The plot turns when emotions unexpectedly arise between the two. The femme fatale trope is reworked and expanded into something completely unique in this Palme d’Or nominated film.
One of Canada’s defining features, hockey, is a recurring theme in more than one of the films in the Canadian Cinema Series at CIFF this year. A Miracle on Christmas Lake captures the magnificence of Canmore and Calgary while touching on topics like loss, family, and friendship. This movie includes a magical ice rink that only appears at night, and it really can’t get more Canadian than that.
Sticking with the theme of hockey, Ice Guardians is a documentary about the damaging and unique role of the enforcer in the professional sport. With familiar local names like former Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla and former Edmonton Oilers player Dave Semenko, this doc is sure to draw hockey and film fans alike.
A Canadian film is closing CIFF again this year. Chokeslam, a movie directed and co-written by Calgary filmmaker Robert Cuffley, tells a story of a world famous wrestler. Sheena, also known as “the Lindsay Lohan of the wrestling world” returns to her hometown and reconnects with Corey who’s been crushing on her since high school. This comedic tale brings something to the table for everyone and promises to be an excellent film to show at the Closing Gala this year.
Check out the rest of CIFF’s lineup at calgaryfilm.com.