First, I would like to be the first one to suggest that the Philadelphia Film Society needs to embrace new media. You all need to have a YouTube channel already that has the trailers for all of the films you will be showcasing, as well as director commentary videos and videos related to prior festival events. Its been 20 years, its time you look into it, if you need some help, give hugewindow a call we have helped many see the multi-media light.
Second, this may have happened for political reasons, but opening night should not start out with a juicy LDR love saga film like “Like Crazy” (although I am sure it is a great film and has a talented director). It should start out with film that is based, shot, or shares the urban values of Philadelphia. I have not seen it, but “Streets” or something similar may have been more appropriate and alluring to the locals, many of which support the film industry in many different ways.
So back to the matter at hand, my Philly Film Fest list for 2011… Chances are I cannot afford to see all of these, but you can bet your butts I will be seeing at least 4 of the films, shorts, or documentaries listed below. So without further or due, here are my picks (complete with links to associated trailers or content eh-hem)…
Friday, October 21st 2011
9:45 pm Ritz Five
Exploring the powerful and gritty themes of family, instinct and human nature, Daniel Mulloy’s short films (Sister, Dad, Antonio’s Breakfast, Son and Baby) are mini-masterpieces. Throughout the course of this retrospective, you will feel like you’ve experienced the emotional weight of five feature films.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
7:40 pm Ritz East B
Right at the cusp of hitting the most successful moment in both his marriage and his carrer, Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), a protégé of Sigmond Freud (Viggo Mortensen), begins sessions with Sabine Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a Russian Jewish aspiring doctor who is in need of treatment for her history of physical abuse. As the two begin to explore innovative ways to cure Sabine, an unexpected affair blossoms. Jung turns to Freud for guidance, only to add a third player to a torrid controversy that will span decades.
10:10 pm Ritz Five
Lucy (Emily Browning), a university student working numerous self-effacing jobs, spends her life detached and isolated from her housemates and fellow students and seeking out hookups in singles bars. In dire need of money after being kicked out of her apartment, Lucy accepts a secretive job run by the elegant and controlling Clara (Rachael Blake). Clara proposes to make Lucy a ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ sedating her through an herbal drink, and then delivered to rich clients who can do almost anything they wish with her.
6:30 pm Prince Music Theater
In this tense and captivating political thriller set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, blockbuster director Roland Emmerich examines the lives of the royals against the backdrop of the long-debated question of whether the accredited works of William Shakespeare were written by Shakespeare himself?
Sunday, October 23, 2011
7:05 pm Ritz East B
Justine (Kirsten Dunst) seemingly has it all—she’s an integral part of her high-end advertising company and, at the film’s opening, is a giddily good-humored bride on her way to marry the earnest and handsome Michael (Alexander Skarsgård)—but the world may be in danger of annihilation by collision with a new planet named Melancholia. Furthermore, it quickly becomes apparent that Justine suffers from a severe, debilitating depression that gradually makes her unable to fulfill her duties to her new husband, family and work. After a breakdown, she moves in with her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her husband John (Kiefer Sutherland), just as Melancholia draws ever closer to planet Earth.
10:00 pm Ritz East B
In the months following the end of the World War II, Leopold Kessler, an American of German descent, decides to return to his homeland in hopes of helping rebuild the lives of civilians in the war torn country. Once on the ground, he starts to uncover several espionage plots that place him as a pawn both for the Americans in search of hiding loyalists and for his influential, old world family. An unexpected romance will push Leopold out of neutrality and into some tough decisions. Utilizing a unique cinematographic technique that mixes both black-and-white and color, the look of Europa remains unparalleled to this day. It’s not difficult to imagine how a filmmaker with so much creativity has arrived at his 2011 opus, Melancholia.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
1:00 pm, 4:15 pm, and 7:10 pm respectively – the Rave University City (the old Bridge Theater)
In 1993, three teenagers were accused of killing three younger boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The teenagers, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., known collectively as the West Memphis 3, maintained their innocence, yet they were convicted and remain in prison, one of them on death row.
Paradise Lost began as an attempt to follow the arrests and subsequent murder convictions of three teenagers and to understand why they might commit such a horrendous crime. The film quickly transformed into something much more significant. Discovering the case was built on false evidence, coerced confessions, perjured testimony, police misconduct, and a judicial system that considers the teens guilty until they are proven innocent, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills instead became an exploration of unjust indictment as the accused teenagers, unfairly depicted in the media as satanic cult followers, were made into scapegoats by a community anxious to deliver a guilty verdict. In Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, Berlinger and Sinofsky continued their investigation as Damien Echols, who was sentenced to death by lethal injection, appeals his sentence. Finding new evidence which disputes Echols and his compatriots involvement in the crime, including bite marks on one of the victims which do not match, Berlinger and Sinofsky likewise begin accumulating evidence against an alternate suspect, Mark Byers, the stepfather of one of the murder victims. Despite a criminal record, a history of weapon use and a wife who died under suspicious circumstances, Byers was never prosecuted. In Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Berlinger and Sinofsky reveal new DNA evidence which points away from Byers to another, previously neglected suspect. More astoundingly, however, is that the film now culminates with the exoneration and release of the West Memphis 3 due to this new DNA evidence, validating the 18-year unyielding investigation by Berlinger and Sinofsky which directly resulted in the freeing three innocent young men.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
2:15 pm Prince Music Theater
Of all his various incarnations on screen, there are few roles that Kenneth Branagh was more born to play than that of Laurence Olivier in this adaptation of two separate memoirs by British TV writer Colin Clark. Anchoring the story, Clark himself is a character. Hired to work as an assistant on Olivier’s film, Clark acts an unassuming yet eager observer to the clashes between Olivier’s showy, classically trained direction and Monroe’s penchant for method acting. Making matters more complicated is Monroe’s ever present acting coach, Paula Strasberg, who acts as Marilyn’s voice and protection towards the increasingly impatient Olivier. As Clark sinks deeper into the world of Monroe, we are given the purest of insight into not only this snapshot of history, but also the intimate details of the charisma that made her a star.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
9:55 pm Ritz Five
When celebrated young playwright Barton Fink ships off to Los Angeles, leaving the “common man” behind in the hopes of earning quick cash as a screenwriter on a Wallace Beery wrestling picture, he gets more than he bargained for. Starving for company, Barton befriends Charlie, a joyful insurance salesman. Wide-eyed and self-righteous, he finds himself at a loss for words in the dingy corridors of his rundown hotel and as the pressure begins to set in, Barton”s life takes a dark turn that will force him to turn to Charlie for help. Winner of the Palme d”Or at the Cannes Film Festival in “91 (narrowly beating out Lars von Triers” Europa), Barton Fink still holds up as one of the Coens” most complex and original films. A hilarious dark comedy, featuring an eerie atmosphere and meditative score that will haunt you for days, this is one you won”t want to miss.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
5:05 pm Ritz East B
The Apollonide is a brothel that exudes glamour and is filled with young, vibrant women who cater to their elite clientele”s needs; men whose fantasies range from the harmless to the terrifying. Madeleine is disfigured by one of her patrons, leaving her with a permanent smile and the nickname “the girl who laughs”. While the house may be a gilded cage, as many work out of their financial obligation, there are girls who choose the profession because of the liberty they gain by making their own money. But at the turn of the 20th century, the brothel is becoming something of an artifact. The sex trade is leaving the brothels for the streets, and the girls who inhabit these houses must face the realities of disease and abuse. With a blaring “60s rock and soul soundtrack, this is not your typical period drama and the women working in the Apollonide have no romantic delusions about what they are doing there.
There are alternate times for some of the films listed above, make your own lineup here.
Enjoy – Yours truly,