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Financial scandal and competitive puppeteers screen at VIFF

Mockumentary pulls strings

The Vancouver International Film Festival runs until Oct. 14. For show times and more information, go to viff.org.

The Jewel

Oct. 3 at Empire Granville, Oct. 4 at the Vogue

Considering the economic crisis in Europe and the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York this past week, Andrea Molaiolis second feature film, The Jewel, is a timely one.

In a similar vein as Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Inside Job, The Jewel carefully dissects the anatomy of a corporate collapse, namely the 2003 downfall of multi-billion-dollar food conglomerate Parmalat, considered the Italian Enron, and Europes largest bankruptcy to date. The fictionalized account is a slow burner, with Gommorahs Toni Servillo at the centre of the tense drama as the companys joyless, by-the-books chief financial officer who gradually gets sucked into his companys elaborate shell game. The film would be considered a cautionary tale if the subject werent so commonplace.

MK

Sunflower Hour

Oct. 13 and 14 at Empire Granville

Aaron Houstons locally shot Sunflower Hour manages to squeeze a little more life out of the oversaturated mockumentary format. Resembling a hybrid of Best in Show and The Office, Sunflower Hour is inhabited by an array of goofy characters who operate with zero self-awareness and IQs well below its audience, which is probably a good thing when youre an aspiring puppeteer competing in a trumped-up reality show where the prize is a coveted spot on a popular childrens program. Who will win? The rebellious goth girl named Satans Spawn? The schizophrenic Irishman with an unhealthy attachment to his leprechaun? The homophobic Christian with daddy issues? Or the truly talented puppet nerd trying to escape his abusive family? To the credit of the film and its performers, there are enough laughs, raunchy twists and bizarre turns that youll want to stick around to find out.

MK

The Color Wheel

Oct. 11 at Vancity Theatre

Alex Perry Ross directs, co-writes and co-stars in this low-budget, indie comedy about a misanthropic brother and sister who embark on a road trip to Boston to pick up the sisters stuff from her ex-boyfriend/professors apartment. Co-writer Carlen Altman plays Rosss equally dysfunctional sister, an aspiring weather girl with a crush on Moses from the Bible. Along the way, they bicker, attend a party hosted by former childhood friends and insult nearly everyone they encounterwith a dose of creepy sexual tension thrown in for good measure. The performances vary, and some of the scenes veer towards slapstick, but The Color Wheel can also be funny, particularly Rosss caustic character whose unrelenting diatribes fuel much of the proceedings.

MK