Kamloops Film Festival: The Rundown

I went, I saw, I was moved.

Along with my movie-watching partner-in-crime Kelli, I attended 6 of the 14 films featured at this year’s Kamloops Film Festival. I must commend the Kamloops Film Society for compiling such a unique, thought-provoking collection of films; I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as an attendee. Furthermore, my popcorn addition was satisfied in full, so much so that I can go the next couple of weeks without it. Bravo.

Without further adieu, here are the films I attended:

Monsieur Lazhar:

This film moved me to tears on several occasions for its raw and beautiful look at the relationships formed between a teacher and his students. Aptly nominated as Canada's entry in best foreign-language film category at this year's Oscars, the film was also accepting 6 Genie awards the night we watched the film. So very cool. I recommend this film to anyone who respects the work of teachers and to anyone who needs to be reminded of the work of teachers.

The Whale:

This film shook me to my core. I barely have the words to describe how much this film touched me and I'm getting choked up just thinking about it. It is truly something you have to see to believe. My favourite of the series, bar none. I recommend this film to anyone. period.


The film's namesake Pina Bausch said it best: "dance, dance otherwise we are lost." The extent to which she touched the lives of her students is so apparent that to watch the company's touching performances of her choreography is to understand the twisted creative genius that was Pina Bausch. A stunning dedication. I recommend this film to anyone who appreciates the arts in all ways, shapes, and forms.


When we walked out of this film I turned to Kelli and asked "wtf?" To substantiate this reaction, take the film's pitch: "a beautiful movie about the end of the world" and understand it delivers on both accounts. This is why my initial reaction was so difficult to describe. Film viewers who enjoy symbolism would eat this film up as it requires the viewer to leave logic at the at the door and be transported by the story. Kirsten Dunst was fantastic; I haven't enjoyed watching her act this much since The Virgin Suicides. I recommend this film to anyone who appreciates masterful cinematography and eerie yet beautiful stories.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

This film was haunting, it made me angry at parts, and I loved it. The title character is developed through glimpses from the past weaved in with the life she attempts to reclaim in the present. All the while the story demands the viewer's attention. I can't say enough about Elizabeth Olsen who has proven herself as a talented actress. I recommend this film to anyone who loves indie films and cult classics.

A Separation

I understand how this film won Best Foreign Language Film honours at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. The performances of the father Nader and his daughter Termeh are raw and moving. Symbolism runs deeply through this story as it explores family, sacrifice, integrity, and honour. It is truly a beautiful film. I recommend this film to anyone who appreciates the layers that make up a family.

There you have it. I hope you have a chance to check out some of these films. What is the best movie you've seen as of late?

(Images courtesy of Kamloops Film Festival, Monsieur Lazhar, The Whale, Pina, Melancholia, Martha Marcy May Marlene , A Separation).

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