VIFF Film Reviews: Nameless Gangster; Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance.


The Vancouver International Film Festival finished its first full week on Wednesday October 3, but I was not there to celebrate. Exhaustion had set in as I staggered home the previous night, having seen a total of films including the two reviewed below. This was not as much an accomplishment as it seems. That collection of movies includes about 20 I had taken in at the pre-festival media screenings in September. An update of the best and the worst appears below.

Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time. (Crime drama, 133 minutes, South Korea, director Yoon Jong-bin) A corrupt customs official uses his family ties to join — and run — the local mob. This lighthearted premise turns sour as he becomes involved in gang warfare. It is difficult to find empathy with any of the characters in this violent film.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance. (Documentary,  82 minutes, USA, director Bob Hercules). Curiously, VIFF has scheduled only one screening of this history of Robert Joffrey’s iconic dance company. Perhaps they will manage to arrange a second screening later in the festival, and if they do it is certainly worth the effort to see it. It’s a standard doc, starting with the origins of the company in the 1950s and tracing its artistic and economic development through the last half of the Twentieth Century, but the archival footage of its original performances will delight lovers of dance.

The best and the worst so far

Updated: 2 October 2012

Films seen so far: 34 films in 33 screenings. Two films, Hebreo and Karajan – The Second Life,  were shown as one screening. One screening (Little Trips 2) was a set of short films, that I did not review. An asterisk indicates a film that I did not review.

The Best. Hunter’s Bride (Opera); Becoming Redwood (Drama); Hebreo: The Search for Salomone Rossi (Documentary); The Hunt (Drama); The Key of Life (Comedy-Thriller); Lore (Drama).

Most Quirky. Mountain Runners (Documentary).

The Worst. Breakfast with Curtis (Supposedly a comedy); Design of Death;

The Rest. The Flat; The Great Northwest; My Father and the Man in Black; Camel Caravan; Revision; Love in the Medina; No Job for a Woman; Blood Relative; Day of All Saints; The Sound of the Bandoneon; Little Trips 2*; Persistence of Vision*;Side by Side; Karajan — The Second Life; Wagner’s Dream; Helpless; Twilight Portrait;  Werewolf Boy; Rust and Bone; Berberian Sound Stage; Oros; The Last White Knight; As Luck Would Have It; Nameless Gangster; Joffrey:Mavericks of American Dance.

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About aharmlessdrudge

Way back during the late Bronze age -- actually it was the 1950s -- all of us in high school had to take a vocational test to determine our interests and, supposedly, our future careers. I cannot remember the outcome, but I do recall one question that gave me pause. "If you were to win a Nobel prize, would it be in literature or in physics?" I hesitated over the question: although I enjoyed mathematics and science more than English class, I did have a couple of unfinished (and very bad) novels hidden away at home. I cannot remember what I chose back then, but the dilemma followed me to university, where I switched from mathematics to English and -- after a five-year stint in journalism -- back to mathematics. I recently retired as a professor of statistics. Retirement. What a good chance to revive my literary ambitions. I have finished a novel -- more about that in good time -- and a rubble of drafts of articles about mathematics and statistics is taking up space on my hard disk.
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