Moving from one genre to another, The Great Buddha+ is a different spiritual product when compared to last week’s All You Can Eat movie. The Victoria Film Festival has unique picks every year. I wanted to challenge myself; this pairing is probably a result of Donovan Aikman, head programmer, than anyone else offering their two-cents worth when deciding in what to show. The only technical fault is whether the print allows tweaking how the subtitles look; white text with thin black outlines against a white image is hard to read unless you have eagle-eyes.
Otherwise, the film is a nicely done Hitchcock style who-will-do-it mystery. It’s presented in black and white for part of the film, and colour for the movie within the movie.
The 2018 Victoria Film Festival is in full swing and every year, there’s at least one foodie themed piece of cinema for me to look at. This year’s offering is a very curiously named, All You Can Eat, Buddha. Writer / Director Ian Lagarde makes his feature-length debut with this work. According to actor Silvio Arriola who plays Valentino, the manager of the Cuban resort El Palacio — this story was conceived when this filmmaker was vacationing in Mexico, observing life around the resort he was at and having a particular Vedic text on hand to read.
The significance of what food represents to Mike (played to great stoic effect by Ludovic Berthillot) is not what this film is about. This protagonist is often juxtaposed to the backdrop of the sea, giving him a godlike presence, and suggesting he is on a spiritual retreat. The few picturesque moments of exquisite buffets are used to a lesser effect. To understand what both mean requires a second and third helping — a viewing, that is.
Feast Food+Film is a three-day movie festival in Victoria, BC taking place in mid-June I generally do not miss. Some years are better than others in terms of how many movies I can see (tickets are $25 each). Sadly, James is losing interest in going to anything culinary and is very frugal these days. Also, at least for me, when a few of the movies / documentaries are quickly getting offered on VOD or Streaming services to view, my decision over what to see on a big screen is getting difficult. I want to save money too, but I’ll be missing getting to enjoy the tapa-sized tasters are offered at these events.
I did not have to view Cook Up the Storm, but a little voice in my head said go see it.
The organizers at the Victoria Film Festival never fail to tickle my taste-buds. I really enjoyed Bugs on the Menu from last year, and while nothing as exotic was offered this year, I had a well-made documentary in Commanding the Table to give me a quick history lesson on creole food. I love this style of cuisine and will go out of my way for it. To learn more about one of the early pioneers behind raising the bar on this style of cooking was engaging.
Plays Feb 10, 6:15pm
at Silvercity Tillicum
Feb 11, 6:30pm
at The Vic Theatre
Feeding the planet and the less fortunate anywhere is potentially difficult. To explore this situation is the documentary Theatre of Life, which is playing during this year’s Victoria Film Festival. This movie shows the task in a small-scale is doable, but it takes a concentrated effort to make it work and a continued commitment to make a difference. Chef Massimo Bottura deserves praise for taking the surplus and expired food meant for the 2015 Milan Expo’s many concession and diner operations and prepare simple original meals at the Refettorio Ambrosiano. This food kitchen still operates, and it does more than to feed the lower-class; it gives them a sense of community.
Updated: Mon 11:30pm, Feb 6
Virtual Reality is poised to become a viable medium to work in for many an artist (cinema or otherwise) and at the 2017 Victoria Film Festival, I spent a part of my weekend at Fort Tectoria playing these types of games and attending the last discussion of Springboard talking about it. This medium is a challenge to work in; Derek Jacoby, Maureen Bradley and Kate McCallum are people with a tremendous interest in this tech and they presented a fascinating look into how to work with and filming in virtual space is at now. The challenges to make it mainstream was also looked at.
Jacoby is aware of what other companies are doing. He’s the head of Victoria Makerspace, a collective tool workshop at the Vancouver Island Technology Park, where they get to play, if not create items, that will get used in the future. Whether that’s with video games (which they all agree is the driving force now) or in rehabilitation (where VR can make a huge difference to those with disabilities and can not get out in the world), as long as interest is high, then it will happen. Unlike 3DTV’s and how it fizzled, Jacoby also noted there’s the potential of mainstream not accepting it. Bradley focussed on the challenges of filming in this space and showed how video editing (where my interest is) is done. Software stitches the varying layers of 2D images onto a 3D like map, and rendering is not a perfect science. McCallum talked about the work she’s doing now and which types of businesses are taking interest in this new medium.
The 2017 Victoria Film Festival‘s Gala film certainly painted the night a pretty shade of pink with its opening film Window Horses to kick off the night. I thought the heroine Rosie Ming was wearing this event’s colours before putting on the black chādor, before arriving in Persia. Intentional or not, the first day was certainly fun, bright and cheerful. The morning and afternoon were wrought with continuous snowfall, and some of the organizers worried that it might cause problems since social media was on fire with reports of icy conditions and accidents already happening.
Thankfully, the troublesome weather faded away by evening so filmgoers can safely drive instead of slide to and fro from home. But for those who want an early start, Fort Tectoria is running virtual reality demos during this 10-day event to show off this technology as the coming thing. Eventually, some futurists predict it will integrate with cinema to create enhanced experiences. By the time I arrived downtown, I had a tough call to make: to go see Journey to the West 2: The Demons Strike Back at Cineplex Odeon or play video games. Very rarely, does a film festival offer this kind of opportunity for nerds like me!