The Vancouver International Film Festival runs until Oct. 11. For more information, go to viff.org.
Oct. 6, 4:15 p.m. at the Rio Theatre
Much like its British counterpart 24-Hour Party People, Good Vibrations is a mostly true, mostly funny story about an enthusiastic impresario with absolutely no business sense who championed a local music scene and brought it to a wider audience with next to no monetary compensation. In this case it’s Belfast in the late 1970s, and the man at ground zero is Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer), who opens his Good Vibrations record shop in a particularly nasty part of town and sees the light, literally, while attending a sweaty punk rock show. After his moment of enlightenment, he takes it upon himself to release records by such bands as Rudi, Outcasts and the Undertones, whose song “Teenage Kicks” becomes a bona fide hit and lands the band a major label record deal, with Hooley steadfastly refusing to take a cut. Considering the violence and divisiveness of the time, it’s interesting how innocent and peppy-sounding many of the bands coming out of the region were, which also confounded clueless record executives from London who wanted to capture and package the sound of “the Troubles” into a marketable, angst-ridden punk-rock product. A crowd-pleaser through and through, Good Vibrations is a fittingly upbeat and joyful tribute to an often-overlooked era of Ireland’s underground music scene.
Apocalypse: Bill Callahan Film Tour
No more screenings
Fans and bystanders won’t gain any deeper understanding of the enigmatic, often tight-lipped singer-songwriter Bill Callahan who began his music career under the moniker Smog. But Hanly Banks’ artfully shot “tour film” does a fine job conveying the hypnotic pull of Callahan’s music, which mixes folk and Americana with an undercurrent of dissonance. Consisting of live performances of his 2011 album of the same name, hazy snapshots of the American landscape and Callahan’s haiku-like explanations of his music and process (“I write about transport, because transport is about movement, and movement is life”), Apocalypse is beautifully rendered, raw, poetic, deceptively heartfelt and, like the man himself, strangely inscrutable.
Other music-related films at VIFF: The Great War: Director’s Cut (Oct. 5), Flashback Memories 3D (Oct. 5), 9 Muses of Star Empire (Oct. 9), Oil Sands Karaoke (Oct. 4, 6, 11), The Broken Circle Breakdown (Oct. 6, 9), Felix (Oct. 5, 8), Vojta Lavicka: Ups and Downs (Oct. 5, 8), Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (Oct. 10), The Italian Character: The Story of a Great Italian Orchestra (Oct. 4, 6) and Rap is War (Oct. 10).
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