The Vintner’s Luck

The nineteenth century has barely dawned in France when we meet Sobran Jodeau (Jérémie Renier, best known for his work with Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne). Sobran is a young peasant who hungers for two things in life: to win the hand of the beautiful Celeste (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and to create wine in his own vineyard. While marriage to the fiery Celeste soon follows, his wine-making ambition is considered above his station, and the patron he serves fails to put his innate skills to use. One night, however, he encounters the angel Xas (Gaspard Ulliel), who sees Sobran’s passions as evidence of his profound humanity. Xas proposes that Sobran plant some vines the angel carries, and further, that they meet each year at the same time and place.

Unsettled and yet self-interested, Sobran agrees without being able to answer his own questions about who or what Xas actually is. The vines, however, are very real, and they grow and thrive. Soon Sobran encounters the next influence in his life, the proud, educated and vulnerable Baroness Aurora de Valday (Vera Farmiga). Before long, he is as deeply entangled in Aurora’s emotional complexities as he is in her vineyard, leading to both spiritual and corporeal crises for everyone. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]


Not all of those amongst us who crave blood are vampires, and not all vampires crave blood. For those of you expecting anything remotely resembling Twilight, Nosferatu, or Bela Lugosi, Vampire may not be your cup of the red elixir of life. . . . Simply put, Vampire gives new meaning to the word “vampire.”

Simon seems like a fairly normal, average young man who’s devoted to his teaching job and ailing mother. Underneath the surface, however, things are not what they seem. Simon hunts through online chat rooms and message boards, searching for the perfect girl: beautiful, shy, and suicidal. Simon has a particular condition: he is compelled to drink blood.

Acclaimed Japanese director Iwai Shunji demonstrates that he is a master of cinematic storytelling in any language. Breathtaking, lyrical camera movement and unconventional framing capture beautifully macabre images while the evocative music and sound design complete the sensory tour de force. The terrific ensemble cast stretches out of its comfort zone and syncs up perfectly with Iwai’s dark vision, which explores the essence of existence and what drives some to end it. [Synopsis courtesy of the Sundance Institute]

The Nativity Story

Mary and Joseph make the hard journey to Bethlehem for a blessed event in this retelling of the Nativity story. This meticulously researched and visually lush adaptation of the biblical tale follows the pair on their arduous path to their arrival in a small village, where they find shelter in a quiet manger and Jesus is born.