Published Apr 08, 2016Next week, Calgary's Globe Cinema will once again play host to the Calgary Underground Film Festival. For their 13th edition, the festival's organizers have once again pieced together a forward-thinking batch of movies from all over the world.
It can be daunting to figure out what to see during CUFF's run (which takes place from April 11 to 17), but the reality is that the fest is so well-curated that you'll likely be happy even if you go into a movie blind. (And that's not to mention other treats like the Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat Cereal Cartoon Party or the fantastic shorts program.)
Regardless, we thought we'd do you a solid and make some recommendations for what to see at this year's CUFF.
Thanks to the mad genius of Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, Dogtooth), Greek cinema is all the rage these days. Lanthimos' contemporary (and occasional collaborator) Athina Rachel Tsangari previously played CUFF with her 2010 effort Attenberg, and after a brief foray into documentaries and television, Chevalier is her next narrative feature. The film sees six men antagonizing one another to further extremes while sailing on a yacht in the middle of nowhere. The film was co-written by The Lobster's Efthimis Filippou. (Screens on April 14 at 7:30 p.m.)
Cult hero Adam Rifkin directs illusionist Penn Jillette in the insane-sounding Director's Cut. Movies about movies are a common occurrence at independent film festivals, but this one takes the idea to the next level. Jillette stars as Herbert Blout, a film director who becomes obsessed with his lead actress Mabel (Missi Pyle). Pyle also plays herself, however, as Director's Cut devolves into a meta-narrative that incorporates deleted scenes and outtakes as part of the main attraction. No wonder this one was a hit at Slamdance. (Screens on April 14 at 7 p.m.)
Everybody Wants Some!!:
Directing a "spiritual sequel" that contains all the best themes of your first big hit has all the makings of a self-indulgent disaster, so we were a little worried that Richard Linklater had shat the bed with his latest flick Everybody Wants Some!! That said, since opening at SXSW this one's been scoring rave reviews. Our own write-up gave the movie a nine out of 10, saying that "Linklater vividly re-captures all of the youthful exuberance" of Dazed & Confused. (Screens on April 13 at 7 p.m.)
Few directors command you to watch their work based on their name alone, but most of you will know whether or not you want to see High-Rise based on the fact that it's a Ben Wheatley film. The long-gestating J.G. Ballard adaptation is a surreal, dystopian masterpiece that'll challenge and thrill audiences. Speaking about it at TIFF last year, he had some heady things to say about the end of the world. "The collapse of society isn't really about the collapse of society at all," he said. "It's about us and our deaths and the fear of that and the fear of loss of control. You're a unit in the whole big thing, and the whole big thing could collapse as well. It's a whole projection of that." (Screens on April 15 at 7 p.m.)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople:
Marvel apparently has a monopoly on solid comedic directors, because New Zealand's Taika Waititi is about to spend all of his time in the world of Thor: Ragnarok. Fortunately, he flexed his indie comedy muscles one last time, and the result is the seriously stunning Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Utilizing the same dry sense of humour as films like Eagle vs. Shark and What We Do in the Shadows, Waititi has seriously outdone himself with this endlessly charming and downright hilarious picture. (Screens on April 11 at 7 p.m.)
Start practising your pronunciation and spelling of Agnieszka Smoczynska, because this Polish director is getting a great deal of acclaim for her debut feature The Lure. The film left Sundance with a stunning amount of buzz surrounding it, and for good reason — it's a musical horror fantasy about two mermaids looking to party and get laid. (Screens on April 15 at 9:45 p.m.)
Wreck City: An Epilogue for 809:
Here's one for the hometowners. In 2013, thanks to Calgary's condo hungry Kensington neighbourhood, a row of nine houses were set for demolition. Rather than let it die out, a crew of 150 DIY artists transformed the homes into a stunning, interactive guerilla art project. Called "Wreck City," the collective has since transformed two other buildings into art projects. Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdi's Wreck City: An Epilogue for 809 documents the original project as it stood up to make something beautiful out of gentrification. (Screens on April 15 at 7:30 p.m.)