Cinema76 picks for the 2018 Philadelphia Film Festival
The 27th Philadelphia Film Festival is upon us! Certainly the highlight of the year for any Philadelphia cinephile, this year continues the festival's tradition of collecting the best titles from the Toronto, Telluride and Venice film festivals- saving you the plane fare and giving you an excellent preview of awards season. In addition to the popular titles, there are plenty of less well known films from all around the world, just waiting to be discovered. Part of the joy of the festival is knowing full well that something completely off your radar will surprise you and become one of your new favorite movies (Hello, Most Beautiful Island !).
This year is an amazing year for major titles- In addition to the Centerpiece titles like Widows, Boy Erased, Everybody Knows and If Beale Street Could Talk, there will also be chances to see new Netflix releases from Orson Welles (that's right) and Alfonso Cuaron on the big screen.
Knowing that the big titles will be easy to find, here are five lesser known titles that I am most anticipating.
Bodied (Dir. Joseph Kahn)
Billed as some kind of a cross between Full Metal Jacket and 8 Mile for the hyper-woke millennial generation, this film from acclaimed music video director Joseph Kahn seems fully ready to incinerate everything in its path. It follows a white graduate student (Calum Worthy of American Vandal) who gets sucked into an underground world of rap battles, where he finds himself not only an observer, but a participant. In this day and age, where who is making the art has become as important as the art itself, Bodied seems prepared to become a definitive generational statement.
Playing at Ritz East on Friday, October 19th @ 8:50 PM and Thursday, October 25th @ 10 PM. Special guests to attend this screening.
Donnybrook (Dir. Tim Sutton)
Set in the economically-anxiety ridden American rust belt, this latest film from Tim Sutton (Dark Night, Memphis) stars Jamie Bell as a down and out ex-Marine getting ready to compete in a bare knuckle boxing match for a large cash prize. Also starring Cinema76 favorite Frank Grillo, as well as new genre hero James Badge Dale, this is the first time that Sutton has worked with such a recognizable cast. With such a stark and violent premise to boot, I can't wait to see what Sutton, known for his minimalist, docu-realist approach, brings to the material.
Playing at Ritz East on Thursday, October 25th @ 9:40 PM and Sunday, October 28th @ 8 PM.
Knife + Heart (Dir. Yann Gonzalez)
A gay porn production crew is stalked by a masked killer in the Parisian summer of 1979, in this ode to classic Giallo films. Reading that brief plot description can't help but bring to mind cult classics like William Friedkin's Cruising, or the voyeuristic meta-cinema of Brian De Palma. Rarely am I instantly sold by a plot description alone, but here I am. One cool fact that seals the deal for me- director Yann Gonzalez is the brother of Anthony (M83 himself!), who also supplies the soundtrack.
Playing at Ritz East on Saturday, October 20th @ 9:30 PM and Sunday, October 21st @ 9:50 PM.
Non-Fiction (Dir. Olivier Assayas)
Even the mildest of cinephiles has probably heard of Oliver Assayas by now- the director of Clouds Of Sils Maria and Personal Shopper is perhaps the most acclaimed French director of his generation. Here he is following up a prolific few years with Non-Fiction, a film about a middle aged French couple (Juliette Binoche & Guillame Canet) struggling to adhere to the changing world of 21st Century technology. I cringed a little bit thinking about a film where aging Generation X-ers are complaining about Twitter or Facebook- but an Assayas film is always unmissable, so I will happily put my faith in his unique observations on the changing nature of our modern lives.
Playing at Ritz East on Monday, October 22nd @ 7:20 PM and Sunday, October 28th @ 5:00 PM.
Transit (Dir. Christian Petzold)
I have seen many examples of classic plays like Macbeth or The Scarlet Letter adapted for modern times- but never stopped to consider what a Nazi-invasion story would look like in modern dress. That seems to be exactly what Transit is. Director Christian Petzold follows up his tremendous Phoenix with this another story of the impact of fascism, a story of a pair of french citizens trying to escape Nazi occupied France. A quick watch of the trailer though, and you see there is something off- there are computers in the background, and the soldiers are carrying AR-15's. Anyone who has been tuned into world news in the last three years has imagined a scenario just like this one- it will be profoundly unsettling to see Petzold bring it to life. Which is why I can't miss it.
Playing at Ritz East on Friday, October 19th @ 12:15 PM and Monday, October 22nd @ 2:50 PM.