WIFF’s Weekend Watch List — 12/10

NIGHT RAIDERS

(If you want a film that’s going to be around a while)

Vincent Georgie: Danis Goulet’s debut feature film is instantly a classic for the Canadian canon. Why, you ask? Because it’s the first major cinematic treatment that we have seen around the residential school system that is dramatized as an apocalyptic dramatic thriller. By playing with genre and metaphor, Goulet has expanded the dramatic storytelling of this tragedy. This is an incredible achievement, and one that is going to be engaging audiences around the world for years to come. A Canada – New Zealand co-production.

Synopsis: In a post-war future, a mother joins an underground band of vigilantes to try and rescue her daughter from a state-run institution.

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MOGUL MOWGLI

(If you loved sound of metal)

Vincent Georgie: Sharing the same lead actor (the tremendous Riz Ahmed) and a similar story of a musician battling an adverse life circumstance, both SOUND OF METAL and now MOGUL MOWGLI are powerful and resonant in the way they tell their stories. It bears repeating – Riz Ahmed is a tremendous talent and it’s great to see him in these hefty roles.

Synopsis: On the brink of his first international tour, Zed, a British Pakistani rapper, decides to fly home to the UK to visit the family he has not seen in two years. In the midst of trying to reconnect with his parents, he is suddenly struck down by an autoimmune disease. As his condition worsens and his big breakthrough moment is in danger of vanishing into thin air, Zed descends into a physical and emotional crisis, amplified by vivid hallucinations.

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CHINATOWN

(If you love a good suspense film)

Vincent Georgie: Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway in a classic film noir? It doesn’t get much better than this. Watch it again for the first time in years or, maybe, see it for the first time?

Synopsis: When Los Angeles private eye J.J. “Jake” Gittes is hired by Evelyn Mulwray to investigate her husband’s activities, he believes it’s a routine infidelity case. Jake’s investigation soon becomes anything but routine when he meets the real Mrs. Mulwray and realizes he was hired by an imposter. Mr. Mulwray’s sudden death sets Gittes on a tangled trail of corruption, deceit, and sinister family secrets as Evelyn’s father becomes a suspect in the case.

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DOUBLE FEATURE

MERCHANT IVORY PERIOD PIECES

In the mid-80s and early 90s, the team of producer Ismael Merchant, director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala were known as “Merchant Ivory”, a brand that became synonymous with high-quality literary adaptations with exceptional casts and gorgeous production values. These two films, I would argue, are their two very best. Both anchored by tremendous lead performances by Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins, these films represent the high-minded, impeccable, literate and, yes, entertaining dramas that they became known for.

HOWARDS END

Helen Schlegel falls for Paul Wilcox, but is rebuffed. Her sister Margaret becomes friends with his mother, who promises her the family house, Howards End. Unfortunately, after her death, the will disappears and it appears the inheritance will disappear. Until the widower, Henry Wilcox, becomes attracted to Margaret.

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THE REMAINS OF THE DAY

During the 1930s, James Stevens serves as a proper English butler to the doltish Lord Darlington. Stevens is so dedicated that he forgoes visiting his father on his deathbed in order to serve, and overlooks Darlington’s Nazi sympathies and growing anti-Semitism. Twenty years after his employer’s death, Stevens tries to reconnect with Miss Kenton, Darlington’s head housekeeper, and begins to regret his loyalty to his former master.

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