Sunday, August 20, 2006

Au revoir, Out On Screen!

I can't believe I'm leaving Vancouver, and Out On Screen is barely getting started! So many films, such puny willpower. I swear, my seat-sitting stamina just isn't what it used to be.

I took a little flak from other festival-goers for my take on the Opening Night Film, Yaji and Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims. I didn't mean to suggest that it was a major success. In fact, I know I said it wasn't going to be everybody's cuppa green tea. But my particular, some would say peculiar, fondness for samurai films and anime series made me predisposed to enjoy the Monty Python-esque antics of Yaji, Kita, et al. Had the movie been about 1/2 an hour shorter I might have avoided the hisses and groans when I expressed my delight with the film. So I can't recommend it to you (when it comes out on DVD) until I've met and/or psychoanalyzed your personal preferences. That'll be 5 cents, please.

I can recommend Summer Storm, which I reviewed in the March 31st edition of the SGN. It played at Out On Screen Saturday night and repeats Wednesday at the Tinseltown at 9:30 pm. One film I'm especially sorry to miss is the festival's "centrepiece," Gypo. I also missed it at this year's SIFF. If you're familiar with other Dogme films (Italian For Beginners, Open Hearts) then you know all the cinematography will be done using hand-held cameras and natural lighting, there won't be a scored soundtrack, and the acting will be heavily improvised. Like Kurosawa's Rashomon, Gypo tells three sides to a single story, bringing up questions of immigration and race in Great Britain. Gypo will be at the Tinseltown, 7:00 pm on Tuesday. It's followed by a showcase of local shorts, The Coast is Queer (9:30 pm).

I'm also sad to be missing out on Thursday's Cinecity Script Reading, Saturday's screening of My Brother Nikhil, and, of course, Sunday's Closing Gala and screening of 20 Centimetres. Check out the entire Out On Screen schedule at And even if the movie you want to see is sold out, don't lose hope -- get in the HOPE line! A lot of seats go unused by the pass holders, and those tickets are released for sale 15 minutes before the screening. Bring cash.

A little more about Bard On the Beach. If you go: All performances are general admission. When you come through the main entry, head for the tall tables with colorful notepads and crayons. No, this is not some art project... write your name on a piece of the paper, then head for the tent where your production will be showing. (Oh, did I forget to mention that BOtB is held in tents?) One of the nice ushers will help you find a spot; tape your nametag to your seat. Yes, the usher will give you tape. Then head back out for beverage service, or check out the souvenir tent for all chatchkas Shakespeare.

Did you know that the Sandman Suites (on Davie) has a spa? It's called phresh, and they have everything from massages and facials to teeth whitening and couples pedicures. I'll have to try some treatments -- on my next visit, no time today! That's the great thing about a town you like: leave a few things "undone" so you have an excuse to come back. If you're looking for even more things to do, including detailed info on Vancouver's club scene, the guys at can set you "straight." They publish the Gay Friendly Vancouver In Town Guide, and they have loads and loads of advice about the West End and hot spots all around the city.

That's it from Out On Screen and Vancouver! I'm off for some authentic dim sum, then I'll hit the road home. I can't believe I'm going to work tomorrow! Talk to you later.

Updated to add photos: Yaji & Kita and Gypo photos courtesy Out On Screen

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