It’s that time of year again, friends! The Calgary International Film Festival, the biggest event of its kind in Alberta, is right around the corner and they have finally released the 2021 lineup. From drama to horror, comedy, and romance, the upcoming event will feature over 170 movies from 40 different countries, each of which will showcase some incredible talent from set and costume design to acting and cinematography.
Sadly, for those who were hoping to catch a flick on the couch again, only 60 of these films will be available online this time around – however, they can be streamed in Alberta (of course) Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Others will have to take a seat at one of their participating theatres (seen below) – but it’s not all that inconvenient. Theatre-style popcorn is where it’s at anyway, so why not grab a bag come September 23rd and catch one of the following?
Here are the biggest films that will be shown during this year’s CIFF and a synopsis of each one as given to us by the organization.
Directed by Stephen Campanelli (Canada)
Drinkwater is a quirky homage to 80’s teen coming-of-age films about friendship, parental mishaps, and trying your best to survive high school. Although the film is set in 2020, it harks back to simpler times and captures the nostalgia of 80’s small-town Canada.
THE POWER OF THE DOG
Directed by Jane Campion (Australia/New Zealand)
Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons headline Jane Campion’s latest – a western based on the novel by Thomas Savage.
DRIVE MY CAR
Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Japan)
An ageing widowed actor seeks a chauffeur. The actor turns to his go-to mechanic who ends up recommending him to a 20-year-old girl. Despite their initial misgivings, a very special relationship develops between the two.
Directed by Danis Goulet (Canada/New Zealand)
The year is 2043. A military occupation controls disenfranchised cities in post-war North America. Children are property of the State. A desperate Cree woman, Niska, (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN, BLOOD QUANTUM) joins an underground band of vigilantes to infiltrate a State children’s academy and get her daughter, Waseese (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart), back.
Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen (Denmark/France/Sweden/Norway)
Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, FLEE is the story of an Afghan refugee who agrees to tell his tale of persecution and escape on the condition that his identity not be revealed. In order to fulfill this wish, filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen utilizes striking animation to not only protect the man’s identity but also to enhance the story.
THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN
Directed by Will Sharpe (United Kingdom)
The extraordinary true story of eccentric British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose playful, sometimes even psychedelic pictures helped to transform the public’s perception of cats forever.
Directed by Julie Cohen & Betsy West (United States)
Following their Oscar-nominated portrait of RBG, co-directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen turn their sights on another legendary woman in JULIA, the cookbook author and television superstar who changed the way Americans think about food, television, and even about women.
Directed by Mariano Cohn & Gastón Duprat (Spain/Argentina)
Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, and Oscar Martínez lead the way in this stone-cold satire about the movie-making process.
Directed by Ofer Freiman (Israel/Brazil)
Cleo dreamed of his family living together in a communal setting, but when they discover a surprising heritage, his dream is imperilled.
Directed by Fran Kranz (United States)
Taking place almost entirely in one room, MASS sees 4 characters – connected through an act of inexplicable violence – brought together to talk.
Directed by Jenna Cato Bass (South Africa)
Equal parts psychological thriller and social commentary, director Jenna Cato Bass MLUNGU WAM confronts the legacies of apartheid and domestic servitude.
Directed by Jimmy Chin & Chai Vasarhelyi (United States/United Kingdom)
Oscar-winning directors E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (FREE SOLO, MERU) capture the headline-making rescue of a Thai soccer team trapped in a cave for 16 days.
When: Thursday, September 23rd – October 3rd
Where: Online here or Eau Claire – 200 Barclay Parade SW #200 | Globe Cinema – 617 8 Ave SW, Calgary | Contemporary Calgary – 701 11 St SW, Calgary