Once upon a time… At 83 years young, former monk-turned-master-filmmaker Godfrey Reggio (Koyaanisqatsi) teams up with composer and longtime collaborator Philip Glass and editor Jon Kane for this unique and unclassifiable film, a fragmented fairy tale that takes the feverish pulse of the modern world (symptoms include viral addiction to technology and apocalyptic despair) and diagnoses spiritual transformation, regeneration, in a word: hope.
In cinematic terms, this is may be an experimental movie. But in the image-scape of TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, it fits right in; it’s a spectacular retina-burning box of tricks, a 50 minute music video, and it’s a whimsical comic fable for and about the kids of today (who figure as a kind of silent chorus and on-screen audience).
“What age is this? Is it the sunset, or the dawn?” the film asks. It’s a question many of us have been asking ourselves — and while it doesn’t come to a firm conclusion, Reggio’s ebullient creative response suggests that art’s blinding light may yet show us the way.
Film: Once Within a Time
Time: 7pm, Dec 20
Location: Vancity Theatre, VIFF Centre, 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver.
This screening is pay what you can — with all proceeds donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
“Outrageously funny. Mesmerizing and provocative to behold while transcending beyond words.” Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru
“Set to a clamorous Glass score, “Once” unleashes a whirling torrent of images, churned into a daguerreotype steampunk fever dream: merry-go-rounds, mushroom clouds, screaming chimpanzees in VR headsets. Mike Tyson appears as a benevolent wizard, and the climate activist Greta Thunberg as a stern bobblehead.” Leah Greenblat, New York Times
“Once Within a Time runs 52 minutes, and it’s so lovely, funny, and charming that it feels like 15. But when it’s over, you feel like you’ve seen the world.” Bilge Eberi, Vulture

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