a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

A Short List of Drool-Worthy Pics in the Upcoming Philadelphia Film Festival

A financially strapped cinegeek who rarely travels but reads far too much about people's visits to Cannes, Toronto, Rotterdam, et al., the local fest is all I have. As such, I cling to it delusionally -- as I run each year from theater to theater, taking in whatever I can, I like to think I'm briefly traversing a foreign city, gobbling up little else but hot dogs along the way and seeing things sometimes primarily due to scheduling reasons. In reality, my apartment's within walking/SEPTA distance, the pics are hardly as mighty as they are elsewhere, and, yo, are the pre-film fest advertisements as crap here as they are everywhere else? (Still shuddering after all these years at the one with the just-birthed baby screaming "Cut! Cut!" in a grown man's voice.)

So what is up with this in my opinion. Along with the usual seemingly random fare that might turn out well, this year's fest sports the latest Maddin, Greenaway, McElwee, Breillat, Berlinger & Sinofsky, the Von Trier that's not Dogville (which critics-screens in a week and a half), the Demme that's not The Manchurian Candidate 2.0, even a Herzog I didn't know existed. Are we finally moving past our rabid civic pride hang-up? Sorta -- the fest still opens with Shade, a Stallone poker-playing movie (hints of Over the Top maybe?), which boasts a couple miniscule Philly connections. Will that at least best last year's opener, Confidence? Seems like it'd have to.

Here, then, is my list of hopeful screenings, pending scheduling and unforseen obstructions (note: sometimes the director will be represented by a slew of "?"s; the official manual is not yet out and I'll fill in the names later pending a trip to the IMDb):

Titles I'm Mouth-Foamingly Ecstatic About, If For Various Reasons:
The Argonomist (Jonathan Demme)
Bright Leeves (Ross McElwee)
The Five Obstructions (Lars Von Trier & Jorgen Leth)
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (Bruce Sinofsky & Joe Berlinger)
The Saddest Music in the World (Guy Maddin)
Super Size Me (Morgan Spurlock)
A Talking Picture (Manoel de Oliverira)
The Tulse Luper Suitcases: The Moab Story (Peter Greenaway)
Wheel of Time (Werner Herzog)

Second Tier, Meaning I'm Just Pretty Darned Interested:
Anatomy of Hell (Catherine Breillat)
Azumi (Ryuhei Kitamura)
Baadasssss! (Mario Van Peebles)
Breakfast With Hunter (Wayne Ewing)
Bright Young Things (???)
Cold Light (???)
The Corporation (Mark Achbar & Jennifer Abbott)
Distant (???)
Everyday People (Jim McKay)
Film as Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 (???)
The First Letter (???)
Grimm (???)
King of the Ants (Stuart Gordon)
The Kite (???)
Last Life in the Universe (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang)
Laws of Attraction (???)
The Mayor of Sunset Strip (George Hickenlooper)
Nine Souls (???)
Proteus (???)
S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (???)
Saved! (Brian Dannelly)
Slasher (John Landis)
The Story of the Weeping Camel (???)
Who Killed Bambi? (???)
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (Lone Scherfig)
Young Adam (???)

Reissues of Movies I've Already Seen:
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970, Russ Meyer)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974, Tobe Hooper)

Just FYI, natch.


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