Kamui: I'm not a ninja/samurai/martial arts expert movie fan, although I've seen all of Bruce Lee's movies and I own Kill Bill vols. 1 and 2, and I've been disappointed by the Japanese movies I've ventured to in the past, whatever genre, because they slowed down and nearly died somewhere in the middle, but perhaps the VIFF catalogue's declaration that Kamui may be "the greatest ninja movie ever made" was too festive for me to resist. Well, I have no frame of reference for 'greatest ninja movie ever', but Kamui is just short of 'awesome'. The movie does slow down in the middle--we don't need to see Kamui, a fugitive ninja, skulk around a remote island's fishing village for 45 minutes, not when we're waiting, waiting, for another fight scene and the final showdown with Big Boss--but the exuberance of the ninja sequences--special secret moves, chopped limbs, aerial gymnastics--is infectious and completely fantastic.
Showing again on Thursday, Oct 8th at 10:45am and Saturday, Oct 10th at 2:30pm, both screenings at Granville 7.
HomeGrown illustrates how the Dervaes family, Jules Dervaes and his three, now grown, children, Anaïs, Justin and Jordanne, have evolved their urban bungalow, on 1/5 of an acre, 130 feet from a freeway in Pasadena, California, into an organic farm that produces 6, 000 pounds of produce a year. Fifty-two minutes just wasn't long enough to cover the range of this fascinating family's committment to sustainable living--they've added solar panels to the roof, Justin makes biodiesel for their vehicle ("It's safe if you're not stupid"), all the kitchen gadgets are solar- or hand-powered ("We found an Amish catalogue," says Jules, his eyes lit like Christmas lights)--and the challenges of doing so, evident in the number of questions audience members had ready for director Robert McFalls afterwards.
Two more screenings: Wednesday, Oct 7th 3:40pm at Granville 7, and Thursday, Oct 8th 10:45am at Pacific Cinémathèque. Each screening will be followed by a panel discussion on urban gardening.