The Second Annual Tampa International Film Festival takes place from April 2 through April 10, and for lovers of world cinema it doesn't get any better than this.
There are local film festivals with better name recognition and groovier parties -- but in terms of sheer quality of the films being presented, nothing touches The Tampa International Film Festival. In a nutshell, TIFF is a class act, and by far the most significant film event ever seen around these parts.
Over the course of TIFF's nine days at Madstone Theaters, some 20 acclaimed films from around the world will be screened, all handpicked from major international film festivals. Most of these films will be making their Florida and even Southeast U.S. premieres, and several of the filmmakers are expected to be on hand. Let me stress that many of these films won't ever appear on video or DVD, so the TIFF screenings will probably be your one and only chance to see them. Once they're gone, they're gone.
The festival bills itself as "cinema for a new world," and this year's challenging lineup certainly lives up to that description. Things kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 2, with the Florida premiere of Luck, director Peter Wellington's amusingly eccentric account of obsessive love, set against the passions of the Canadian-Soviet hockey rivalry of the early '70s. Sarah Polley stars in this smartly written comedy, the '70s fashions are to die for, and a couple of former Smashing Pumpkins supplied the soundtrack. Various folks associated with the film are expected to appear at the opening night screening but were unconfirmed at press time.
Things really start getting interesting with the 9 p.m. screening of Iranian director Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold. Uncompromising, emotionally and artistically electrifying, and just the sort of film on which TIFF has built a reputation, Panahi's latest offering eschews the children's world of his previous White Balloon for the heartbreakingly adult tragedy of an ordinary man. The film takes a universal tale -- that of a lower-class man with no power and no prospects, caught in a relentless downward spiral -- and infuses it with a distinctly Iranian perspective. The result is a richly textured, artifice-free slice of life from a world most of us have never seen.
There's a nicely orchestrated triple bill of films slated for Saturday, April 3. First up, at 5 p.m., is The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (repeating April 8 at 9:15), Canadian director Anne Marie Fleming's wonderfully entertaining investigation into the life of her magician-acrobat great-grandfather. The film is also something of a crash course in the history of the early 20th century, with Fleming following her once-famous, now-forgotten ancestor as he globetrots from China to Europe to America. Long Tack Sam is filled with clever and imaginative touches, as well as stories-within-stories about a fascinating and ultimately unknowable man once revered by the likes of Orson Welles.
At 7 p.m. the festival changes gears with A La Petite Semaine, an engaging French crime movie that defies all expectations. Dynamic, handheld camerawork and a rigorous attention to the smallest details transform the film into less of a heist movie and more of a character study about aging ex-cons and petty criminals going nowhere fast. Director Sam Karmann will be on hand for the Florida premiere of his film.
Then, at 9:15, there's another one of those films you won't see anywhere else but at this festival. If you crossed Jim Jarmusch and Andrei Tarkovsky you might wind up with something a little like Distant ("Uzak"), but this Turkish film is ultimately its own creature, a one-of-a-kind experience. The winner of several awards at Cannes (including the coveted Grand Jury Prize), Distant fuses the fine line between comedy (albeit of the drollest sort) and pathos in its nearly wordless account of an Istanbul photographer being driven to distraction by his country bumpkin cousin. Director N.B. Ceylan uses gorgeously composed, mostly static images, long, leisurely takes and muted, sometimes awkward performances to create a cinematic poem.
The program on Sunday, April 4, is a bit more conventional. It begins at 4:30 with the Austrian production Donau, a beautifully produced but somewhat overarching allegory about a ship of fools making its final voyage down the Danube River. The boat travels from Vienna to the Black Sea, crossing borders and carrying with it an assortment of damaged souls looking to escape from all manner of personal problems. Births, deaths and weddings take place along the way, characters appear and vanish, and relationships flourish and wither, as the boat moves through a microcosm of modern Europe.
After seeing the "new Superman" I thought it was alright but, I kind of hoped…
Gerwig is so awesome all-around. Would love to give her hugs and be friends. :)
Check out the lead on the Drudge Report!
Cant wait to watch it!