Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ready-set-go! MSPIFF begins!

The thrill of 200 plus international films over the span of a couple weeks right in my backyard will never dull. Despite its humble mid-western stature, the Minneapolis/St Paul International Film Festival, year after year, never ceases to amazing one of the toughest cinephilic customers in town: moi. This year's huge selection is no different. I've seen approximately 20 of the films going into the fest, but there are also plenty I am looking forward to seeing theatrically in the bustling atmosphere of this once a year event. How to navigate? Head first! Here are my recommendations and anticipations. (Follow linky-dinkies on dates and times to MSPIFF schedule, and on titles for my mini Strib reviews when available.)

Highly Recommended

Kill List (Ben Wheatley) UK  
Sa Apr 21 10:00pm, Tu Apr 24 9:45pm
Enter at your own risk! This divisive horror film has teeth and brains. Fascinating an infuriating stuff.

Attenberg (Athina Rachel Tsangari) Greece 
Sa Apr 14 9:30pm, Su Apr 15 6:30pm
Forget Dogtooth and forget ALPS - Attenberg is the Greek hero in this group. 

Bestiaire (Denis Côté) Canada
M Apr 30 5:00pm, Tu May 1 9:30pm
Bestiaire is not for everyone. Some will try and make it into an animal rights doc, but Côté's concerns are for more formal, both on an aesthetic level and a philosophical level.

The Day He Arrives (Hong Sang-soo) South Korea
M Apr 16 9:45pm, W Apr 18 9:10pm 
Hong Sang-soo is one of the most under-appreciated directors in the world, and The Day He Arrives is a perfect example of his satirical humor and somber drama. 

Elena (Andrei Zvyagintsev) Russia
Su Apr15 8:45pm, Th Apr19 7:15pm 
Third feature is certainly a charm for this Russian director. Brilliantly paced and beautifully shot. (Read my review of Elena on Twitch.) 

Grey Matter (Kivu Ruhorahoza) Rwanda
W Apr 18 9:00pm, Su Apr 22 6:00pm
A recent viewing that knocked my socks off. Some of the most inovative filmmaking come from the most unassuming places. 

Headshot (Pen-Ek Ratanaruan) Thailand
M Apr 30 9:45pm, W May 2 9:45pm
A genre film with more subtlety and more darkness - literally. Plot points of A, B and C are nothing new in this Thai crime drama, but the devil's in the details what's in between makes it unique. (Read my review of Headshot on Twitch.)
Effective drama that makes better use of the space of a car than Kiarostami. 

The Prize (Paula Markovitch) Argentina
Child actors reign supreme in this somewhat minor film. Sumptuous use of cloudy coast atmosphere and a sparse and interesting soundtrack.
Plays on expectation and assumptions and temps cliche and irony. I'm hoping to check this film out again. This film is dangling out there without US distribution, so see it while you can!

A Simple Life (Ann Hui) Hong Kong
F Apr 27 7:20pm, Th May 3 2:30pm
Ann Hui does what she does best (makes beautiful and heartfelt films) with the aid of superstar Andy Lau. (Hui's 2008 The Way We Are is one of the best films in the past 20 years.)

Worth a Look 

Las Acacias (Pablo Giorgelli) Argentina/Spain

Dreileben x3 (Christoph Hochhäusler, Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf) Germany

Alps (Giorgios Lanthimos) Greece

The Salt of Life (Gianni Di Gregorio) Italy

Michael (Markus Schleinzer) Austria
Highly Anticipated (I don't care what people say...)

 Faust (Alexander Sokurov) Russia
Su Apr 15 3:30pm, Tu Apr 17 7:00pm Both at the Heights! DCP! 

Whores' Glory (Michael Glowagger) Germany/Austria/Thailand
W Apr 18 4:45pm, Su Apr 29 6:30pm 

Keyhole (Guy Maddin) Canada
W Apr 18 7:30pm, M Apr 30 9:00pm 

Compliance (Craig Zobel) USA

Together (Zhao Liang) China

Target (Alexander Zeldovich) Russia

Arirang (Kim Ki-duk) South Korea

Smuggler (Katsuhito Ishii) Japan

The First Man (Gianni Amelio) France/Algeria/Italy

The Woman in the Fifth (Pawel Pawlikowski) France/Poland/UK

Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold) UK
Sa Apr 28 7:10pm

Turn Me On, Dammit! (Jannicke Systad) Norway

Oslo August 31st (Joachim Trier) Norway

Play (Ruben Östlund) Sweden
Have fun! See you at the Fest!

1 comment:

Sandy Nawrot said...

Apparently we have a fest down here too but I've never been able to partake and probably won't until kiddos are not needing me. For all the bibliophiles, please report back on Wuthering Heights. It won't be true to the book unless you hate them all by the end.