Virtual Vacation International

Sometimes it’s best not to get involved

VIRTUAL REPERTORY SERIES

Friday, April 10 – Thursday, April 16, 2020

This program of films takes us on a virtual journey around the world to cities we can, unfortunately, only dream of visiting right now. Just like the USA edition of this program from last week, in each of these films, cities themselves are co-stars with the human protagonists. Sometimes, as in MY WINNIPEG, they are the point of the exercise but usually, they prefer to act as background – an often uncredited supporting player in the action.


Friday, April 10 • Double Feature

CHUNGKING EXPRESS

Streaming on Criterion only

1994 • dir Wong Kar-Wai w/Brigitte Lin, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Faye Wong • 102 min

CHUNGKING EXPRESS takes us on a thrillingly romantic tour of low-rent Hong Kong with two intertwining stories of heartbreak and renewal that center around a snackbar. This film, one of the definitive art films of the 1990s and the international break-out from renowned filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai, is as fresh and exciting today as it was 25 years ago. – NH

Brattle ‘sneak preview’ premiere, February 1996

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REBELS OF THE NEON GOD

Streaming on Kanopy; for rent elsewhere

1993 • dir Tsai Ming-liang w/Chao-jung Chen, Chang-Bin Jen, Kang-sheng Lee • 106 min

The first real feature from Taiwainese filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang follows the lives of four aimless youths living on the cheap in Taipei. Two motorbike-riding petty thieves and a pretty roller rink attendant cross paths with the son of a taxi driver (Tsai’s frequent collaborator, the hangdog-faced Kang-sheng Lee). Not as romantic as CHUNGKING EXPRESS but equally cool, REBELS evokes the desperate and ironic loneliness that comes from living in one of the world’s mega-cities. – NH

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Saturday, April 11 • Triple Feature

MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA

Streaming on Kanopy; free w/ads on Vudu; for rent elsewhere

1929 • dir Dziga Vertov • 68 min

Delve into a groundbreaking filmic exploration through the Soviet cities of Kiev, Kharkov, Moscow and Odessa with Dziga Vertov’s 1929 experimental silent documentary MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA. This groundbreaking and freewheeling Russian film, which is part documentary and part cinematic art, upends reality in ways that are dizzying and thrilling. With a variety of complex and inventive camera shots, the film depicts scenes of Russian ordinary daily life in which Vertov celebrates the modernity of the cities, with their vast buildings, dense populations and bustling industries. – KB

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LONDON: THE MODERN BABYLON

Streaming for free on Tubi and free w/ads on Vudu; for rent elsewhere

2012 • die Julien Temple w/Michael Gambon, Steve Jones • 129 min

Filmmaker Julien Temple (Absolute Beginners, The Filth & the Fury) takes us on a kinetic, kaleidoscopic journey through 100 years of the history of London. Delving deep into the archives of the BFI and BBC, Temple interweaves an epic amount of vintage clips – both documentary and fiction – with new interviews and narration to build a warts-and-all, collage portrait of one of the most influential cities in the world. – NH

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MY WINNIPEG

Streaming on Criterion; for rent elsewhere

2007 • dir Guy Maddin w/Darcy Fehr, Ann Savage, Louis Negin • 80 min

Director Guy Maddin decides to return to “snowy, sleep-walking” Winnipeg, Canada in hopes to release himself from his past. The viewer will explore the city by watching excerpts from the favorite local soap opera “Ledge Man”, taking part in the annual scavenger hunt, and mourning over the racetrack horses forever frozen in the river. Combining archived footage and surrealist imagery, as well fact and fiction, Maddin creates a hilariously touching and often traumatic version of childhood in his beloved hometown. – RL

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Sunday, April 12 • Double Feature

WINGS OF DESIRE

Streaming on Criterion and Kanopy; for rent elsewhere

1987 • dir Win Wenders w/Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Peter Falk • 130 min

One of the definitive city-as-character films, Wim Wenders’ WINGS OF DESIRE paints a gorgeous and poetic picture of Berlin as a divided city – a city where invisible angels listen empathically to the prayers and hopes of the residents. When one of these angels (Ganz) falls in love with a beautiful woman (Dommartin), he elects to become mortal and join the human race. – NH

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ROMAN HOLIDAY

Streaming on AmazonPrime; free on Sony Crackle; for rent elsewhere

1953 • dir William Wyler w/Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Eddie Albert • 119 min

Spend one glorious day in Rome with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck as they embark on a fun and romantic adventure through the beautiful streets of the Eternal City. While on a state visit to Rome, Princess Ann (Hepburn) escapes the confines of her rarefied royal existence and meets a journalist (Peck) who, at first, thinks he’s chasing a story. It doesn’t take long for his scoop to turn into a romance, however. Shooting entirely on location, director William Wyler shows us Rome in all its magnificent splendour. The perfect backdrop for the perfect fairy tale that is ROMAN HOLIDAY. – KB

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Monday, April 13

STRAY DOG

Streaming on Criterion and Kanopy; for rent elsewhere

1949 • dir Akira Kurosawa w/Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Awaji • 122 min

When a rookie cop’s pistol is stolen by a pickpocket on a crowded streetcar, a sweltering hot Tokyo becomes the backdrop for a desperate race against time as the gun is used in more and more crimes. This early starring role for the great Toshiro Mifune (celebrating his 100th birthday this month!) highlights his incredible physicality and charisma in a tight and exciting noir from one of Japan’s greatest directors. – NH

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Virtual Late Show

GÜEROS

Streaming on Kanopy; for rent elsewhere

2015 • dir Alonso Ruizpalacios w/Tenoch Huerta, Sebastián Aguirre, Ilse Salas • 106 min

Set against the backdrop of the 1999 student protests in Mexico City, GÜEROS follows troublemaking teen Tomas as he is sent to live with his older brother, Sombra. Sombra and his roommate Santos are bored stiff by the lack of action brought on by the strike so they reluctantly agree to join Tomas on a quest to track down a semi-forgotten folk-rock hero. A beautifully shot slacker odyssey that evokes the French New Wave and the Downtown New York cool of Jim Jarmusch. – NH

“The story pops and swerves; the images are by turns comical, banal and ravishing; and the result is a briskly shaken cocktail made of equal parts provocation and comfort. You come away with a buzz that is invigorating and pleasantly familiar.”
– A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Brattle premiere, Sept 2015

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Tuesday, April 14 • Double Feature

RAFIKI

Streaming on Kanopy; for rent elsewhere

2018 • dir Wanuri Kahiu w/Samantha Mugatsia, Neville Misati, Nice Githinji • 83 min

RAFIKI tells the story of two Kenyan girls falling in love in a country where homosexuality is illegal. Director Wanuri Kahiu, co-founder of the AfroBubbleGum collective supporting “fun, frivolous, fierce” African art, captures Nairobi in vivid detail. The city’s varied landscapes, vibrant youth culture, and active nightlife all shine here. – AD

Brattle premiere, May 2019

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FAAT KINÉ

Streaming on Kanopy only; (unofficial youtube)

2001 • dir Ousmane Sembene w/Venus Seye, Mame Ndoumbé, Ndiagne Dia • 120 min

A Senegalese woman named Faat Kiné (Seye), reminisces about her life and how she got to be where she is. Disowned by her family, mother of two wonderful children, homeowner, and fiercely independent, Faat Kiné has become a successful gas station owner without the help of any man. At the climax of the film, she reestablishes her independence from the fathers of her children and, perhaps, finds a new outlook on love. Set against the bustling backdrop of the city of Dakar, FAAT KINÉ is a joyful, feminist classic from the great Ousmane Sembene, one of Africa’s most revered directors. – NH

Brattle premiere, July 2001


Wednesday, April 15 • Double Feature

CLÉO FROM 5 TO 7

Streaming on Criterion and Kanopy only

1962 • dir Agnès Varda w/Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray • 90 min

Agnes Varda’s breakout second feature chronicles the early evening hours of Cléo, a young singer wandering the streets of Paris as she waits for the results of a medical test. Varda described the film as “the portrait of a woman painted onto a documentary about Paris.” CLEO FROM 5 TO 7 blends comedy and melodrama, with the music of Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) and appearances by Jean-Luc Godard, Anna Karina, and Eddie Constantine. – AD

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TASTE OF CHERRY

Streaming on Criterion only

1997 • dir Abbas Kiarostami w/Homayoun Ershadi, Abdolrahman Bagheri, Afshin Khorshid Bakhtiari • 99 min

More poignant than CLEO but no less beautiful, the legendary Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami brings us the elegiac journey of one man trying to find someone to do a very specific and personal task for him. Mr. Badii (Ershadi) is planning to commit suicide but he must find someone to cover him up afterward, so he drives around Tehran asking anyone that seems likely to help. – NH

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Thursday, April 16 • Double Feature

SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD

Streaming on Netflix; for rent elsewhere

2010 • dir Edgar Wright w/Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin • 112 min

Scott Pilgrim (Cera), a slacker musician, must defeat the seven evil exes of his dreamy new girlfriend, Ramona (Winstead), in order to secure her heart. Using notable features of Toronto as its backdrop (shout out to Lee’s Palace), director Edgar Wright creates a genre-bending love letter to geek culture in this stylistic cult comedy based on the alt-lit comics by Brian Lee O’Malley. – RL

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STARSTRUCK

Streaming on Kanopy and AmazonPrime; free on Tubi; for rent elsewhere

1982 • dir Gillian Armstrong w/Joey Kennedy, Ross O’Donovan, Margo Lee • 105 min

The rarely screened follow up to Gillian Armstrong’s award-winning My Brilliant Career, STARSTRUCK is a new wave musical with a fantastic energy. Jackie Mullins (Kennedy) is a young woman who yearns to become a pop star and, with the help of her determined teenage manager/cousin Angus (O’Donovan), she just might make it. This exuberant film is bolstered by goofball musical numbers set to songs by Crowded House’s Tim Finn and Split Enz’ Phil Judd and prominently features a modern, urban Sydney rarely seen in Australian film. – NH

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Writing Credits:

NH – Ned Hinkle
AD – Alissa Darsa
KB – Kim Baillargeon
RL – Rachel Lanza