Women in films this week: spying, hosting, feeling guilty, living transgender and filling an entire festival

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NEVER STEADY, NEVER STILL: This B.C. film has been winning awards and is up for more. It has eight nominations at the Canadian Screen Awards being held next weekend (March 11). They include best motion picture, best actress and best original screenplay. All valid for this highly emotional film about a mother living with Parkinson’s Disease and the guilt that causes her to feel. She can’t be as good a mother as she wants to be while her son struggles with the demands of growing up strong. Those two threads play out in parallel almost like two stories for most of the film and finally merge. They’re hard to watch at times but are deeply affecting on the way. The film comes across as authentic and honest. Kathleen Hepburn, who wrote and directed, drew on her own mother’s experience with Parkinson’s.


Shirley Henderson plays a mother in a small community by a lake in Northern BC. She’s shaky and reedy-voiced and her portrayal of the affliction is a marvel. Nicholas Campbell plays her husband. He dies not far into the movie but first prods their son (Théodore Pellerin) to make something of his life and get a job in the oil patch. Both his efforts there, which include bullying by a nasty foreman (Jared Abrahamson) and her difficulties at home just trying to have a normal life are heartrending. He’s too inept and unmotivated to really root for. But they’re both part of the real story Hepburn is telling: how the entire family suffers with a disease that never ends. The film isn’t grim; it offers humanity and compassion and though it’s a bit slow at times and there’s a little too much hand-held camera work, the story and the emotions  come through vitally. (International Village) 3 ½ out of 5

WOMEN IN FILM: The annual festival returns to the VanCity Theatre onTuesday and runs through to Sunday the 11th. While several of this week's regular films are also made by or feature stories about women, you would do well to check out what the festival has to offer. This site,, will tell you what you need to know.

The films there all have work by women in at least three major categories: director, writer, producer, composer, editor, cinematographer or performer. The line up includes films from across the world, including Dark Blue Girl from Germany, Anissa 2002  from France and Convictions from Russia.

Canadian films include River of Silence a local feature about missing and murdered indigeous women and Porcupine Lake, the latest by Ingrid Veninger that got very good notices at the Whistler Film Festival.

You also have a chance to see Deepha Mehta’s new one Anatomy of Violence which explores the psyche of rapists after a notorious incident on a bus in India. You can see it for free, but must register at the website.

There are other free events, talks, seminars and even a pitch session as well as many short films, many by BC film makers.

THE PARTY: Another film that’s been slow to come back. This was my favorite of the ones I saw at VIFF.  It’s British, extremely funny, performed by a great cast and full of acidic wit written by Sally Potter. She first made her mark some 25 years ago with Orlando.


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