On today’s Vancouver International Film Festival schedule a double feature; Liv & Ingmar noon at The Cinematheque and Camille Claudel 1915 6:45 pm at International Village.


Liv & Ingmar

Ingmar Bergman is one of my all-time favourite directors so naturally I am also a big Liv Ullmann fan, The choice of the documentary Liv & Ingmar was a given.

VIFF Online Description:

One of world cinema’s greatest creative and romantic pairings—that of director Ingmar Bergman and actor-turned-director Liv Ullmann—comes vividly to life in Dheeraj Akolkar’s vibrant documentary, aided immeasurably by the radiant Ullmann’s on-screen narration.

Bearing the subtitle “Painfully Connected,” Akolkar’s examination of the 42-year-long relationship is told from Ullmann’s point of view and captures the many highs and lows of their tumultuous time together. Through a collage of sound and image from the timeless Bergman-Ullmann films—they made 12 together, including such towering classics as Persona and Scenes from a Marriage—as well as behind-the-scenes footage, still photographs, passages from Ullmann’s book Changing and excerpts from Bergman’’s love letters to his lead actress, a candid and humane picture emerges of what can truly be called a love story.

“This beautifully shot documentary offers an intimate look at the famous director/star romance… Late in the film, Ullmann admits to occasionally resenting the fact that, after all these years, people still can’t talk to her without asking what it was like to work with Ingmar Bergman. The director once consolingly insisted that such questions tacitly acknowledged her own gifts as well: ’You are my Stradivarius,’ he told her. Liv & Ingmar is only concerned with the art the two left behind in this sense, as an outgrowth of their intense offscreen relationship…”—John DeFlore, Hollywood Reporter


camille claudel

Bruno Dumont’s 1999 film Humanité is brilliant so adding his Camille Claudel 1915 to my VIFF choices was an easy decision.

VIFF Online Description:

In one of her most committed and profound performances, the great French actress Juliette Binoche plays Camille Claudel some years after the famous sculptress was committed to a benevolent asylum by her family. Pinning her hopes on a longed-for visit from her brother, Camille keeps herself apart from the other inmates and for the most part enjoys a degree of trust and respect from the nuns, but her composure is fragile and she remains bitter and paranoid when the subject of her old lover Auguste Rodin comes up. Most tragically of all, she refuses to return to her work.

A radically different take from the tempestuous biopic that earned Isabelle Adjani an Oscar nomination in 1990, Bruno Dumont’s film is restrained, sometimes harrowing, but singularly authentic and deeply felt—an experience you will not soon forget. As in Dumont’s previous work (it includes L’humanité, Flanders, and Outside Satan), nonprofessional actors figure prominently—Camille’s fellow inmates are largely played by the mentally ill—but this uncompromising realism is put in the service of searching philosophical questions about God, grace, transcendence and the absence of these things.

“I wait for each new film by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Abbas Kiarostami, Claire Denis and Bruno Dumont. I enjoy all sorts of films, but… I feel closest, in my work, to Dumont. Dumont’s films are basically existential works, philosophical films, not political ones. I think of my own films that way.” —Michael Haneke

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