South Asian Films to Watch at VIFF 2016

From horror to romantic drama, the Vancouver International Film Festival has an interesting collection of South Asian films this year. VIFF 2016 Twilight over Burma

Every Fall, we eagerly await the release of the Vancouver International Film Festival’s list of South Asian movies. It’s usually the only time we can see interesting, edgy, independent (non-Bollywood) movies coming from the sub-continent.

For 2016, the films are few for lovers of South Asian cinema, but we’ve compiled a list to make your festival experience a little easier.

Twilight over Burma VIFF 2016

Twilight Over Burma is a romantic political drama centred on an Austrian girl named Inge who meets a Burmese boy, Sao Kya Seng. They fall in love, but it isn’t until their wedding that Inge finds out Sao is a prince. The foreign princess tries her best to help her Burmese subjects and her husband, who is imprisoned after a a coup. Despite the romantic themes of the film, it’s of note that Twilight Over Burma was pulled from a Burmese human rights film festival in the interest of national unity and stability. If the foreigner saves the day storyline didn’t catch your interest, the film festival controversy is enough of a reason to add this to your list. Plays September 30 and October 5. Tickets.

The RIver of Fables VIFF 2016

Inspired by Assam folklore, The River of Fables tells four eerie stories about motherhood, ranging from a girl’s arranged marriage to a python to a stepmother planning the murder of her husband’s daughter. In the spirit of Brothers Grimm tales, the parables take on supernatural themes, witchcraft, and evil, such as the story where the wife begs her husband not to bury their infant alive. Sounds like good prep for Halloween. Shows October 9 and 11. Tickets.

VIFF 2016 Pihu

Vinod Kapri’s film Pihu is a uniquely odd film, in that it has only one character – a little girl who finds herself alone in her family apartment. But the similarities to Macauley Caulkin’s Home Alone end there. The child awakes to find her mother asleep, and begins a little adventure around the apartment, seeking food, looking for objects, trying to locate different sounds, but her mother fails to wake up. Shows October 2. Tickets.

VIFF2016 River Blue documentary

RiverBlue takes us on an uncomfortable voyage across the world to witness the ecological footprint of blue jeans on rivers like the Ganges. The shocking damage caused by textile and tanning industries in places like India are hard to fathom across the globe, but this documentary is a wakeup call for all of us to rethink fast fashion. Narrated by Jason Priestley, we learn that much of the pollution comes from toxic chemical waste and the abominable amount of water used in clothing production for Gap, H&M and Nike, particularly in the making of blue jeans. And the film isn’t afraid to name names. Shows October 1 and 4. Tickets.

The Trap VIFF 2016Adapted from Chekhov story VankaThe Trap contrasts lives in poverty with strong humanity. Kuttappayi is orphaned after his parents commit suicide. He lives in rural poverty with his grandfather Valiyappachayi, but they’re happy together, until the grandfather becomes sick and sends his grandson to the city. The Malayam film is shot with beautiful cinematography, and director Jayaraj Rajasekharan Nair captures nature beautifully. The Trap Plays October 4. Tickets.
Vancouver International Film Festival runs until October 14, 2016 at various theatres across Vancouver.