The Philadelphia Film Festival officially kicked off yesterday, but for me it begins tonight. As with the Fringe Festival, normal life is on hold for the duration. Ten movies in ten days:
- April 8th: Somersault (Australia): Young Heidi’s emerging sexuality leads to bad decisions and rash behavior in this brutally frank and visually arresting Australian coming-of-age tale.
- April 8th: Land of Plenty (US): Studies the scars of 9/11 on the American psyche, following an idealistic young woman and her disillusioned uncle on a journey of revelation.
- April 9th: Rittenhouse Square (US): An impressionistic, music-filled documentary about â€œthe spotâ€ where people go to meet friends, find romance, muse about life and enjoy the beauty of nature and the opposite sex.
- April 9th: 5 x 2: Five Times Two (France): French director Francois Ozon gives us his own version of Scenes from a Marriage, packing rage into the early sequences, but then becoming gentler as his sophisticated film journeys back in time.
- April 10th: Death of a Dynasty (US): In the spirit of This Is Spinal Tap, this music industry satire offers a witty look behind the closed doors of Damon Dash’s and Jay-Z’s hip-hop empire.
- April 10th: Frozen (Great Britain): This haunting British film lets the viewer decide whether the tale is really a psychological thriller, a murder mystery, or a ghost story.
- April 12th: 48 Hour Film Project (US): Thirty teams were given four random components: a character, a prop, a line of dialogue, and a genre (including horror, musical and a superhero film). They must finish the piece (under seven minutes in length) in 48 hours.
- April 14th: Not Your Saturday Morning Cartoon: This fine group of adult titles from the most confrontational, lowbrow cartoon artists working today is guaranteed to get a rise from festival attendees.
- April 17th: King of the Corner (US): Peter Riegert’s directorial debut, an observant, vignette-driven comedy-drama that charts the spiritual breakdown of one Leo Spivak,
- April 17th: White Men Can’t Rap (US): Good, old-fashioned tongue-in-cheek comedy. Philly private dick KO gets his share of action, punches and sight gags galore, as he desperately searches for a missing musician from the North Philly hip-hop band Cocoa Bean Mogul.
Unfortunately, the program guide descriptions make every movie sound fabulous, and I have horrible instincts for picking out the winners. However, half the fun of the festival is not knowing what you’ll get when you walk into the theatre.