The 37th Annual Portland International Film Festival: Line-Up And Highlights

PIFF Header Framed

This Thursday, February 6th, the Northwest Film Center will kick off their 37th Annual Portland International Film Festival (PIFF). Over the past few years we’ve helped promote this event, and I’m so excited about this year’s line-up. The festival is consistently one of the best festivals for fans of the Criterion Collection, this year featuring new films from Godfrey Reggio (The Qatsi Trilogy) and Claude Lanzmann (Shoah).

Last year at PIFF I had the chance to see Pablo Berger’s Blancanieves during the opening night festivities, and it remained one of my favorite films of the year. The new English-language version of Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises will open the festival this year, alongside Amma Asante’s Belle.

The festival is over three weeks long, and will feature 128 films altogether (104 features and 24 shorts). With my current work and family schedule, it’s hard to plan to go everyday, but here are the ten films that I’m most excited to see during the festival:

  1. Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises
  2. Miyazaki, co-founder of the legendary Studio Ghibli, brings to life the story of Jiro Horikoshi, visionary designer of one of history’s most beautiful airplanes—the prototype for the Zero WWII fighter.

  3. Godfrey Reggio’s Visitors
  4. “If the Qatsi trilogy reflected on ideas of balance, transformation, and war, Visitors asks a very different question: who and what is a visitor when we look around ourselves on this planet?”

  5. Ernest And Celestine
  6. “Tucked away in networks of winding subterranean tunnels lives a civilization of hard-working mice, terrified of the bears that live aboveground. Unlike her fellow mice, Celestine is an artist and a dreamer, and when she nearly ends up as breakfast for burly troubadour Ernest, the pair forms an unlikely bond.”

  7. Claude Lanzmann’s The Last Of The Unjust
  8. “In 1975, while making his landmark Holocaust documentary Shoah, Lanzmann interviewed Benjamin Murmelstein. Age 70 and living in exile in Rome, Murmelstein was the only surviving “Jewish Elder” appointed by the Nazis to run the “model ghetto” camp at Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia. Murmelstein’s interview wasn’t included in the film, but it’s the focus of this compelling postscript.”

  9. Bill Plympton’s Cheatin’
  10. “An adult tale of love, jealousy, revenge, and murder—infused with Plympton’s surreal sense of humor—Cheatin’ takes its inspiration from the work of such James M. Cain noir classics as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice.”

  11. Ari Folman’s The Congress
  12. “Folman’s follow-up to his strikingly rotoscoped Waltz with Bashir is a bold, metaphysical sci-fi satire: a live-action set-up that goes down the rabbit hole of loony animation partway through.”

  13. Chuck Workman’s What Is Cinema?
  14. “Chuck Workman shares his understanding and love of avant-garde cinematic language by creating a visual essay out of clips from films that have pushed the boundaries of the art form.”

  15. Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain
  16. “Still banned from making films for 20 years, celebrated Iranian director Jafar Panahi defied Islamic authorities to make this daring and angry protest against repression and devastating portrait of melancholia and paranoia.”

  17. Mark Levinson’s Particle Fever
  18. “Physicist-turned-filmmaker Mark Levinson was there with his cameras when the Large Hadron Collider went online, and he found a way of approaching the experiment as an epic adventure story, involving multiple setbacks, mysteries, and—according to hysterical press accounts—the possible end of the world as we know it.”

  19. Arnaud des Pallières’s Age Of Uprising: The Legend Of Michael Kohlhaas
  20. “Arnaud de Pallières’s adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist’s 1808 novella, a classic of German Romanticism, explores a fault line between declining feudalism and modernity.”

Over the next few weeks we’ll run several reviews from our team for the various films screening at the festival.

Below you’ll find links to the various pages on the festival’s site, along with a complete list of the films that will screen.



Barmak Akram

It’s snowing in Kabul, and gregarious waiter Mustafa charms a bright, pretty student named Wajma. The pair begins a clandestine relationship—they’re playful and passionate but ever mindful of the societal rules they are breaking. When Wajma discovers she is pregnant, her certainty that Mustafa will marry her falters, and as word of their forbidden dalliance gets out, her father must decide between his culturally-held right to uphold family honor and his devotion to his daughter. Wajma (An Afghan Love Story), its title deliberately sardonic, takes an unblinking and unapologetic look at the modern reality of women caught in situations from which there is no escape. “Akram plays out this contemporary morality tale in a lean, efficient style…. A minor revelation.”—The Hollywood Reporter. This year’s Afghan submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (85 mins.)

Filmography: Kabuli Kid (08).
2/7 8:30pm Fox Tower
2/16 3:00pm Cinemagic


Lucía Puenzo

Set in 1960, The German Doctor imagines an Argentine family unknowingly befriending Josef Mengele, the Nazi war criminal notorious for his horrific medical experiments, during his period in hiding in Patagonia. Less a conspiracy thriller than a subtle meditation on complicity, willful ignorance, and the allure of perfection—even at the risk of self-destruction—the film thought-provokingly ponders whether, if you met the “angel of death” on the road, would you recognize him? Or might you be charmed by the friendly doctor and his seductive promises to cure your diminutive daughter, fund your creative work, and care for your unborn twins? This year’s Argentinean submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (93 mins.) In Spanish and German with English subtitles.

Filmography: XXY (07), The Fish Child (09).
2/7 8:30pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/12 8:30pm OMSI
Sponsored by King Estate Winery.


Kim Mordaunt

Winner of the Best Narrative Feature Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Rocket is a heartwarming coming-of-age tale set in Laos. Ahlo is the surviving twin of a difficult birth and is believed by some to be a source of bad luck. When he and his family are displaced by the construction of a dam, further tragedy strikes as they relocate to a new village. Ahlo befriends Kia and her eccentric uncle Purple but is still ostracized by the superstitious community. Hope for redemption comes with the Rocket Festival: a riotous, and dangerous, annual competition where huge bamboo rockets are set off to provoke the rain gods. Despite being too young to enter the competition, he’s determined to succeed. This year’s Australian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (96 mins.)

Filmography: Survival (97), Bomb Harvest (07).
2/8 6:00pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
Sponsored by Anvil Media.


Mostofa Sarwar Farooki

Tradition and technology clash in this satire set in rural Bangladesh. On religious grounds, a local community leader, Chairman Amin, bans every kind of image in his little village, including televisions and mobile phones. He even declares that imagination is sinful as it leads one into prohibited territory. His order is met with revolt, even within his own family, and the once peaceful village is riven by the decision. As he enters into a bitter dispute with his beloved son and the repercussions of his decision become more and more serious, the chairman himself needs a reinvigoration of his faith. Using humor, romance, visual panache, and a genuine affection for its characters, Television tells a compelling and important story from an unexpected place. This year’s Bangladeshi submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (106 mins.)

Filmography: Bachelor (03), Third Person Singular Number (09).
2/15 9:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/17 5:00pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by the Portland State University English Department.


Rithy Panh

As the only family survivor of Pol Pot’s reign of terror (1975-1979), Cambodian-French director Rithy Panh has been searching for images all his life. While already a chronicler of Cambodia’s genocide, he shifts to his own childhood recollections with The Missing Picture. Unable to locate photos from the time, Panh uses hundreds of clay figures and dioramas to convey the action—the rice fields, the camps, the summary executions. Hand-carved and hand-painted, these figures stand in for Panh’s parents and family, along with key perpetrators. Scratchy, monochromatic stills from archival propaganda footage are eerily juxtaposed with these colorful, miniature people, all cleverly combining to fashion a moving autobiography. Winner of the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, The Missing Picture artfully explores Panh’s preoccupation with how to represent and remember all that’s been lost. (92 mins.)

Filmography: S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (03), Paper Cannot Wrap Ember (07), Duch, Master of the Forges of Hell (11).
2/7 6:00pm World Trade Center Theater
2/15 6:00pm World Trade Center Theater


Louise Archambault

Gabrielle is a 22-year-old woman with Williams syndrome, a genetic disorder that often slows cognitive skills while increasing outgoingness and musical talent. She sings in a Montreal choir for other disabled adults, where she’s met and fallen in love with the dashingly handsome Martin. The bliss of first love is interrupted, however, by Martin’s interfering mother, who worries that special needs individuals aren’t sufficiently fit for romantic relationships, and by Gabrielle’s beloved sister, who is planning a move abroad to live with her fiancé. What emerges in Archambault’s warm film is a portrait of a young woman fighting for acceptance, freedom, and her right to experience life’s highs and lows as anyone else would—with joy, pain, confusion, and eventual understanding. This year’s Canadian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (104 mins.)

Filmography: Familia (05).
2/8 1:00pm Cinemagic
2/15 6:15pm OMSI
Sponsored by the Quebec Government Office, Los Angeles, and TV5Monde.

Denis Côté

Deep in the snow-covered backwoods of Quebec, 61-year-old Vic is trying to escape her criminal past. Fresh out of prison and searching for solitude, her refuge is shattered when fellow ex-con and younger lover Flo comes to stay—bringing with her chaos, violence, and a madcap reckoning with the life they left behind. Part lesbian love story, part revenge thriller, and part oddball comedy, Vic + Flo Saw a Bear is an unclassifiable film by one of Canada’s equally unclassifiable auteurs. “A rich, humane, surprising film [that] manages to mix the drollery of Wes Anderson, the genre swagger of Tarantino, and the opaque narrative of Bruno Dumont in one intriguing package.”—Screen Daily. Winner of the Alfred Bauer Prize, given to a film that “opens new perspectives on cinematic art,” at the Berlin International Film Festival. (95 mins.)

Filmography: Drifting States (05), All That She Wants (08), Curling (10).
2/8 8:30pm Cinemagic
2/12 8:30pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Quebec Government Office, Los Angeles, and TV5Monde.


BACK TO 1942
Xiaogang Feng

In 1942, Henan province was devastated by the most tragic famine in modern Chinese history, resulting in the deaths of at least three million people. Although the primary cause was a severe drought, the situation was exacerbated by locusts, windstorms, earthquakes, epidemic disease, Kuomintang government corruption, and the chaos of the Sino-Japanese War. Like his epic Aftershock (PIFF 35), Xiaogang Feng’s sweeping saga is a gut-wrenching account told through the eyes of wealthy landlord Master Fan, forced to flee both famine and advancing troops, and a Time magazine journalist (Adrien Brody) investigating the misery. “Feng Xiaogang has been called China’s Spielberg. Back to 1942 shows his mastery of chaotic spectacle, massed human motion, and elegant camera movements.”—Washington Post. This year’s Chinese submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (145 mins.)

Filmography: Dream Factory (97), Assembly (07), Aftershock (10).
2/16 6:30pm OMSI
2/18 8:30pm Cinemagic

Vivian Qu

“A poignant and engaging mystery, Vivian Qu’s feature debut plunges us into the fascinating world of state surveillance in China as it follows a digital mapping surveyor’s investigation of an ‘off-the-grid’ hidden alley. Li Qiuming works at a digital mapping company, photographing the streets that comprise the maze of China’s ever-changing cities. One day while out surveying, he sees through his viewfinder an attractive woman disappearing into a secluded alley. Unable to forget the mysterious lady who has triggered his romantic imagination, Qiuming returns to where he saw her first, only to discover that the data he collected there was never registered. Even though he stands right there in front of the street sign, Forest Lane has fallen off the map of the city, as if it never existed.”—Toronto International Film Festival. (93 mins.)

First feature. Producer filmography: Night Train (07), Knitting (08), Longing for the Rain (13).
2/8 3:30pm Cinemagic
2/10 6:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by Delivered Dish.


Vinko Brean

A young Catholic priest takes subversive action to enforce the Church’s position on birth control among his flock and soon has a baby boom on his hands in Vinko Brešan’s acerbic satire, adapted from the scandalously popular stage play. New priest Father Fabijan takes charge of the parish on the bucolic Adriatic island of Dnevnik, a location that has seen its population steadily dwindle. After hearing confession from a devout kiosk vendor racked with guilt over selling condoms, Father Fabijan hits upon a solution to both their problems: pierce the prophylactics. Once they enlist a kooky nationalistic pharmacist in their efforts, who fills the local women’s prescriptions for birth control pills with placebos, pregnancies skyrocket, and the island gains a reputation as a fertility spa. But all this playing God brings unintended consequences. (93 mins.)

Filmography: How the War Started on My Island (96), Marsal (99), Witnesses (03), Will Not End Here (08).
2/14 8:30pm OMSI
2/17 5:00pm Cinemagic


Jirí Menzel

A lovingly observed valentine for opera fans, Czech New Wave master Jirí Menzel’s sex farce gently lampoons the opera world’s eccentricities, egomania, abiding passions, and workaday realities. We watch a small town opera company’s efforts to mount a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The eccentric director Vitek has unusual views on opera—he confides to the audience that he’s a great lover of sopranos, opera not so much—and uses the production as an excuse to seduce every woman he meets. Passions flare onstage and behind the scenes as the company prepares for a wholly unique adaptation of the Mozart classic. This year’s Czech submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (102 mins.)

Filmography: Closely Watched Trains (66), My Sweet Little Village (85), Larks on a String (90), I Served the King of England (06).
2/19 6:00pm Fox Tower
2/20 8:30pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by Nel Centro.


Ask Hasselbalch

A delightful adventure spoof based on the popular Danish children’s books by Kenneth Bøgh Andersen, Antboy has enough action, comedy, and charm to entertain superhero fans of all ages. Pelle, a shy 12-year-old, develops unimaginable superpowers after being bitten by a genetically modified ant. With help from his friend, comic book nerd Wilhelm, Pelle creates a secret superhero identity as Antboy and becomes a local crime fighter. When a supervillain named The Flea enters the scene with a plan to kidnap his schoolmate crush Amanda, Antboy must step up to the challenge. “An exciting, fun twist on a popular genre with plenty of heart that explores the notion that the power of friends is stronger than any super power.”—London Film Festival. (77 mins.) Recommended for ages 8+.

First feature.
2/13 8:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/15 1:00pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by the ScanDesign Foundation and
the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation.


Sherief Elkatsha

Cairo, Egypt. 20 million people. 23,600 miles of road. Two million cars. Taxis, buses, donkey carts, and swarms of people, all jockeying to move through the obstacle course that is their daily lives. Here, traffic is a chaotic experience where rules are constantly challenged: an elaborate dance of leading and following, flow and resistance, and impeccable, almost miraculous timing. Shot in 2009-2012 (before and during the Egyptian revolution and ending with the most recent presidential elections), the film explores the country’s collective identity, inherent struggles, and the sentiments that led to the historic changes taking place in Egypt today. Here, the times may have changed, but the traffic has not. “An enthralling, insightful, and often rather funny look at a vibrant, complex, and dramatic city as seen through its teeming roads and people who drive them.”—Screen. (77 mins.)

First feature.
2/9 1:00pm World Trade Center Theater
2/15 9:00pm World Trade Center Theater


Ulrika Bengts

Finland, summer 1939: 13-year-old Karl is an eager-to-please orphan sent by the state to work at an isolated Baltic island lighthouse. But the lighthouse master Hasselbond already has his son Gustaf groomed for the job and refuses his help. Hoping to avoid returning to the orphanage, Karl works like a demon to prove his worth. Karl and Gustaf become friends, but their friendship changes to rivalry and hate when Hasselbond begins to favor Karl over his own son. There are issues in the Hasselbond family that Karl is only beginning to understand. Bengts’s beautifully shot, detail-rich period piece delves into the frightening aspects of family psychology, showing that the “good old days” were often anything but. This year’s Finnish submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (93 mins.)

Filmography: Iris (11).
2/10 8:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/16 5:30pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by the Finlandia Foundation and the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation.


Sébastien Betbeder

This whimsical tale of ennui and the transformative power of calamity stylishly employs New Wave-inspired visuals, animation, reality-style confessionals, and a raft of pop cultural references, in-jokes, and appropriations to create a 21st-century portrait of young Parisians in love. Arman, a 33-year-old hipster vaguely longs for change. Maybe he’ll eat healthier? Half-gallantly, half-accidentally, he saves the beautiful Amélie from a pair of muggers. And their meet-cute (and dangerous) allows love to bloom. Meanwhile, Arman’s best friend from art school, Benjamin, is destined for sudden change too. Over the course of two autumns and three winters, the lives of the three intermingle with meetings, accidents, love stories, and memories. “A quintessential example of mélancomédie…. As for soon-to-break-out talents, I’m betting on Betbeder.”–Gavin Smith, Film Comment. (91 mins.)

Filmography: Nuage (07), La vie lointaine (09).
2/18 6:00pm OMSI
2/22 7:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by the Consulate General of France and French American Cultural Society, San Francisco, and TV5Monde.

Arnaud des Pallières

Arnaud de Pallières’s adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist’s 1808 novella, a classic of German Romanticism, explores a fault line between declining feudalism and modernity. In 16th-century France, enterprising horse farmer Michael Kohlhaas (Mads Mikkelsen) runs afoul of a venal baron, who attempts to shake down the farmer as he crosses the nobleman’s woods on the way to market. After events escalate, causing great harm to Kohlhaas’s horses, farmhands, and family, he raises an army and wages war against the baron, who soon sues for peace. But with the clergy and courts adjudicating, will Kohlhaas win the war and lose the peace? The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas was previously adapted for film in 1969 by Volker Schlöndorff and served as the inspiration for E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime. (122 mins.)

Filmography: Adieu (03), Parc (08).
2/8 3:30pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/10 8:30pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by TV5Monde.

Clément Oubrerie, Marguerite Abouet

Based on the series of young adult graphic novels, this vibrant animated tale unfolds in a colorful, working-class neighborhood in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Life is good in Yop City: its sun-soaked markets, open air bars, and quirky cafés are the perfect backdrop for 19-year-old Aya and her two best friends, Adjoua and Bintou. While the bookish Aya hopes to get a degree in medicine, the ambitions of Adjoua and Bintou lean more toward the degree to which they can attract young men. In this upbeat, gentle weave of modern urban Africa, the three girls navigate nosy neighbors, meddling relatives, young romance, and old traditions, all complicated by the unexpected pregnancy of Adjoua. Aya of Yop City presents us with a picture of African life too seldom seen in the West—lighthearted, warm, and universal. (84 mins.) Recommended for ages 15+.

First feature.
2/15 3:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/17 12:15pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill and TV5Monde.

Philippe Le Guay

Popular television celebrity Gauthier Valence (Lambert Wilson) embarks on a train journey to Brittany’s Île de Ré with a clear mission in mind: convince his old friend Serge Tanneur (Fabrice Luchini) to return to the stage in the lead of Molière’s The Misanthrope. The task is not that simple, as Tanneur, a once-renowned comedian, went into exile three years prior, living in a dilapidated house bequeathed to him by his uncle. He is sick of his vocation, burning every script that he receives. For good and bad, a five-day struggle ensues to bring the great man out of the shadows. “Le Guay brings us another delicious, smart, and cruel comedy about the pleasures of playing with words. Ego, pride, and vanity guide this tender face-to-face, with the Brittany setting and its appealing inhabitants adding to the universality.”—Time Out. (104 mins.)

Filmography: L’année Juliette (95), Trois huit (01), The Cost of Living (03), Du jour au lendemain (06), The Women on the 6th Floor (10).
2/7 6:00pm Cinemagic
2/13 8:30pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Alliance Française de Portland and TV5Monde.

Jean-Christophe Dessaint

Filled with charming, gorgeous animation, The Day of the Crows is a delightful family film. A father raises his son Courge in the wild and warns him never to venture beyond the forest. One day the boy’s father is injured, and the son must leave the woods in search of help. Entering a neighboring village, he befriends a young girl and experiences the wonders civilization offers—and the truth about his family’s past. Exploring the blurred lines between animal and human, nature and civilization, and the realms of the living and of spirits, underneath is a simple story of a father’s lost love and a boy’s brave struggle to recapture it. (95 mins.) Recommended for ages 7+.

First feature.
2/19 6:00pm Cinemagic
2/22 12:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by LAIKA, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and TV5Monde.

Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner

Ernest and Celestine is the winner of France’s Cesar Award for Best Animated Feature and numerous other festival prizes. Tucked away in networks of winding subterranean tunnels lives a civilization of hard-working mice, terrified of the bears that live aboveground. Unlike her fellow mice, Celestine is an artist and a dreamer, and when she nearly ends up as breakfast for burly troubadour Ernest, the pair forms an unlikely bond. But it isn’t long before their friendship is put on trial by their respective bear-fearing and mice-eating communities. Like a gorgeous watercolor painting brought to life, influences as varied as Buster Keaton, Bugs Bunny, and the outlaw romanticism of Bonnie and Clyde create “a delightful melding of visual style and narrative pirouettes, a just-about-perfect hand-drawn animated feature.”—Screen Daily. (80 mins.) Recommended for ages 7+.

Filmography: Aubier and Patar: A Town Called Panic (09); Renner: First feature.
2/7 6:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/11 6:00pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the French American International School and TV5Monde.

Jérôme Bonnell

In the short break between performances of an Ibsen play in Calais, stage actress Alix (Emmanuelle Devos) makes a quick day-trip to Paris for an audition. On the train, she meets a mysterious, stoic English professor (Gabriel Byrne) and, enamored, decides to try and track him down after they have seemingly parted forever. Shifting in tone from drama to comedy, over the course of a day, Just a Sigh beautifully chronicles the blossoming of an all-too-brief love affair between the two, a romance in Paris that brings hope and passion into Alix’s harried life and comfort to her chance lover. “From Brief Encounter to Before Sunrise, the premise is familiar…. Credit Bonnell for a compelling romance about chance, fate, the different parts we all play, and the journeys we are taking.”—RTÉ, Dublin. (104 mins.)

Filmography: Le chignon d’Olga (02), Waiting for Someone (07), The Queen of Clubs (09).
2/13 8:30pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/15 6:00pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by TV5Monde.

Claude Lanzmann

In 1975, while making his landmark Holocaust documentary Shoah, Lanzmann interviewed Benjamin Murmelstein. Age 70 and living in exile in Rome, Murmelstein was the only surviving “Jewish Elder” appointed by the Nazis to run the “model ghetto” camp at Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia. Murmelstein’s interview wasn’t included in the film, but it’s the focus of this compelling postscript. Condemned after the war as a collaborator, he explains the terrible accommodation he had to strike with a murderous regime. Lanzmann returns to sites that marked Murmelstein’s wartime experiences and uncovers their savage history, but it’s the intelligent, witty, courageous Murmelstein who provides the film’s most compelling testimony. Comparing himself to Scheherazade from The Arabian Nights, Murmelstein survived, he tells Lanzmann, because he “had a story to tell.” (220 mins.)

Filmography: Shoah (85), A Visitor from the Living (99), Sobibor, Oct. 14, 1943, 4 p.m. (01), The Karski Report (10).
2/9 5:30pm World Trade Center Theater
2/16 1:00pm World Trade Center Theater
Sponsored by the French American International School and TV5Monde.

Marc Boréal, Thibaut Chatel

Based on the award-winning book of the same name, this winner of the Special Jury Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival is a beautifully moving tale full of moments of sheer, simple, childish joy. Six-year-old Jean is starting first grade. He looks forward to learning to read and write so he won’t need Michelle, the girl next door, to read the postcards he gets from his mysteriously absent mother, who writes from around the world about her wild adventures. Even though they seem far-fetched at times, with his father so busy, the postcards bring comfort. A bittersweet, joyous, and thought-provoking tale about childhood loss and the need even for adults to hide from the truth at times. (75 mins.) Recommended for animation lovers ages 8+.

First feature.
2/9 1:00pm Cinemagic
2/16 1:00pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by LAIKA and TV5Monde.

Alain Guiraudie

Franck is a regular at a secluded lakeside beach, a popular hotspot for gay men to sunbathe in the nude and sneak off for casual sex in the nearby woods. On the first day of the season, he spots the rugged, mustachioed Michel and is infatuated. Even after Franck witnesses Michel commit a sudden and shocking crime, it only serves to deepen Franck’s carnal attraction to the stranger, and the two men descend into a truly dizzying bout of amour fou. Filmmaker Alain Guiraudie’s tense, erotic, and lurid thriller won the top directing prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. “A bold and painterly meditation on longing, lust, intimacy, and fear, Stranger by the Lake exhibits a confident stylistic fortitude that lingers long after its secrets are laid bare.”—AFI Film Festival. (97 mins.) Recommended for adult audiences only.

Filmography: No Rest for the Brave (03), The King of Escape (09).
2/14 6:00pm Cinemagic
2/22 9:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by the Consulate General of France and French American Cultural Society, San Francisco, and TV5Monde.

François Ozon

Ozon again delves into the mysterious world of the female soul in this story of 17-year-old Isabelle, who has her first sexual encounter at a resort in southern France—an episode that is just the beginning for this sexually inquisitive girl in search of rebellion. After returning to Paris, she begins to earn money through encounters with various older men. Her mother and stepfather give Isabelle absolute freedom and have no idea of her secret activities. Yet everything changes when a routine call ends in disaster, and the police and a psychologist become involved…. Over the course of four seasons and with four songs, Ozon creates a mysterious teenage version of Buñuel’s Belle de jour—“A fascinating contemplation of adolescent sexuality that will be a star-making platform for its young lead, Marine Vacth.”—The Hollywood Reporter. (95 mins.)

Filmography: Under the Sand (00), 8 Women (02), Swimming Pool (03), Potiche (10), In the House (12).
2/8 8:30pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/10 8:30pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Consulate General of France and French American Cultural Society, San Francisco, and TV5Monde.


Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross

It’s 1992 in Tbilisi, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but 14-year-old best friends Eka and Natia are unfazed by the fear and insecurity lurking around them. As civil war rages in the rest of the country, the girls are preoccupied with school gossip, learning how to smoke cigarettes, and flirting with the neighborhood boys. Their lives change when Natia receives a pistol as an unexpected love gesture, and suddenly the girls must face circumstances beyond their control. Loosely based on Ekvtimishvili’s experiences, In Bloom portrays distinctively fierce female characters who struggle to escape their turbulent families and male-dominated traditions. This year’s Georgian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar “is an intimate, deeply engaging story of friendship between women destined for different fates in a world of male-driven violence.”—Screen. (102 mins.)

Filmography: Ekvtimishvili: First feature; Gross: Fata Morgana (07).
2/15 6:00pm Cinemagic
2/17 5:00pm Fox Tower


Jan Ole Gerster

Gerster’s wry, breezy first feature (a.k.a. Oh Boy) swept all of the major German Film Awards this year with its sly subversion of Generation Y clichés, assured direction, and timeless black-and-white cinematography. Berlin slacker Niko is drifting through his twenties content to let life and responsibilities slide by and oblivious to his growing estrangement. But over the course of a single day, the cosmic balance shifts, imperceptibly at first, and a series of unfortunate and surprising encounters snowball into what could only be described as an existential crisis. His girlfriend turns on him, and when his disappointed father asks him—after discovering that he has long ago dropped out of university—what he has been doing for the last two years, he can only muster, “I’ve been thinking.” If only he could grab a cup of coffee. (88 mins.)

First feature.
2/14 6:00pm OMSI
2/17 2:30pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by Zeitgeist Northwest and the Oregon State University Language Department.

Katrin Gebbe

Young Tore belongs to the fervent Jesus Freaks, a fundamentalist Christian punk movement rebelling against established religion whilst at the same time following Jesus’s precepts of love. One day, in what appears to be a miracle, Tore manages to repair a car that has broken down and gets to know the driver, Benno. Before long, Tore moves into a tent in Benno’s garden and gradually becomes part of his family. But Benno can’t resist playing a cruel game, designed to test Tore’s faith. As the violence become more and more extreme, Tore’s capacity for love is pushed to its limits. “Intense and gripping…a robust and compelling first feature…deserving of a special Palme d’Horreur.”—Variety. (110 mins.)

First feature.
2/15 12:00am Cinema 21 (large theater)

Ramon Zürcher

This droll, comic day-in-the-life chronicles a multigenerational family preparing a dinner in their Berlin apartment. Compared with siblings Karin and Simon, their parents, and their little sister Clara, the cat is ironically the paragon of normalcy. Clara displays her penchant for screaming, Mom flirts with the neighbor fixing the washing machine, doors open and close as in a bedroom farce, and family members scramble hither and thither. Putting the absurdities of daily life on display, seemingly unspectacular details are assembled into a surreal choreography of the quotidian that will leave audiences grinning at the film’s audacity and perfect execution. “Zürcher appears to be channeling the comic maestros of French cinema, from Tati to Gondry, with just a twist of Ozon to keep the sweetness in check…. A sunny delight from end to end.”—The Hollywood Reporter. (72 mins.)

First feature.
2/7 6:00pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/10 6:00pm Fox Tower

George Maas, Judith Kaufmann

1990. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, a flood of information from East Germany makes its way through Europe. Like most Norwegian children fathered by the German occupying troops during WWII, Katrine (Juliane Köhler) was sent to Germany as a child, only able to return to her Norwegian mother, Ase (Liv Ullmann), long after the war’s end. Not all the war children were as lucky—most were never reunited with their parents—and now a German-Norwegian lawyer is building a case against the Norwegian government for its exclusionary policy. Although a victim herself, Katrine fears exposing the darkest secrets of her past. This year’s German submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (97 mins.) In English, German, Norwegian, Russian, and Danish with English subtitles.

Filmography: Maas: Pfadfinder (99), New Found Land (03); Kaufmann: First feature.
2/7 8:30pm Cinemagic
2/9 5:30pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by Zeitgeist Northwest and the Oregon State University Language Department.


Declan Lowney

“Those who have hungered for the big-screen debut of Steve Coogan’s singular comic creation need wait no longer: Alpha Papa has landed, and it is uproariously funny. Since 1994, various BBC series have chronicled the hilarious downward trajectory of the vain and obliviously tactless Alan Partridge, from failed television talk-show host to obnoxious regional radio broadcaster, mercilessly skewering English mediocrity and media ineptitude along the way. When the staff of Radio Norwich is seized at gunpoint by downsized DJ Pat, a siege scenario is set in motion, and Alan is obliged to risk his life by serving as the intermediary. As events escalate, our self-aggrandizing hero is not entirely unhappy to find himself at the center of a media circus: can he save the day and, more importantly, resuscitate his career?”—Film Society of Lincoln Center. (90 mins.)

Filmography: Wild About Harry (00), Cruise of the Gods (02), Celtic Women: A New Journey (06), Glastonbury 2011 U2 (11).
2/10 8:45pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/14 8:30pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by Delta Airlines.

Amma Asante

Often missing from the gorgeous settings, romances, and sophisticated language of English period dramas is the institution at the foundation of that refined life: slavery. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) lineage—the illegitimate, biracial daughter of a Royal Navy admiral in 18th-century Britain—affords her wealth and certain privileges, but the color of her skin keeps her on the outside looking in. Left to wonder if she will ever find love or acceptance, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England—and end her question, “How may I be too high in rank to dine with the servants but too low to dine with my family?” (105 mins.)

Filmography: A Way of Life (04).
2/6 7:00pm Whitsell Auditorium

Ben Lewis

Lewis’s engaging documentary uses science fiction writer H.G. Wells’s prophetic declarations of a “complete planetary memory for all mankind,” or a “World Brain,” as his springboard. Talking with librarians, Google engineers, and futurists worldwide, his film offers a big-picture examination of the ambitious Google Book Scanning Project, which in its first decade has now captured over 30 million texts. Lewis travels the globe, from the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, to the 11th-century monastery of Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain, to capture the vast undertaking and to contemplate the future of libraries, technology, money, and intellectual property. More than just algorithms and tech, Google and the World Brain is about the dream of building “a library to last forever” and the true cost of attaining that dream. (90 mins.)

Filmography: Blowing Up Paradise (05), Hammer and Tickle (06), The Great Contemporary Art Bubble (09), Poor Us: An Animated History of Poverty (12).
2/12 6:00pm OMSI
2/15 1:00pm World Trade Center Theater
Sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Roger Michell

In this witty and wise romantic drama, Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan shine as a long-married academic couple who attempt to reinvigorate their relationship by visiting Paris for the first time since their honeymoon. While there, they run into an old friend (Jeff Goldblum), a dismayingly successful writer, who acts as a catalyst for them to recapture their lost spirits. Written by Hanif Kureishi, a lifetime of regret and joy is unpacked as they see the sights, revisit the past, wrangle with mishaps and misunderstandings, and ponder their future. Personal, warm, melancholy, and funny, “the Brits’ love-hate relationship with Paris (love the city, hate the French) generates plenty of laughs—but it’s the couple’s own ambivalence—about each other, their accomplishments, their marriage, and what’s left for them—that makes Le Week-End a keeper.”—The Guardian. (93 mins.)

Filmography: Notting Hill (99), Enduring Love (04), Venus (06), Hyde Park on Hudson (12).
2/7 8:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/9 5:30pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
Sponsored by Pacific University MFA in Writing.

Sean Ellis

“Seeking a brighter future in Manila, Oscar and his family flee their impoverished life in the rice fields of the northern Philippines. But the sweltering capital’s bustling intensity quickly overwhelms them, and they fall prey to the rampant manipulations of its hardened locals. Oscar catches a lucky break when he’s offered steady work for an armored truck company and gregarious senior officer Ong takes him under his wing. Soon, though, the reality of his work’s mortality rate and the murky motives of his new partner force Oscar to confront the perils in his new life. Ellis vividly captures the desperation of life amongst the squalid Manila slums, then ratchets up the tension, creating an intense thriller with a poignant humanity and palpable dramatic stakes.”
—Sundance Film Festival. This year’s British submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (115 mins.)

Filmography: Cashback (06), The Broken (08).
2/13 8:30pm OMSI
2/15 12:30pm Fox Tower

Sarah Gavron, David Katznelson

This rich, real-life human drama, full of humor and hope, is set against the backdrop of steadily melting ice that portends larger ecological changes for the whole planet. The Inuit village of Niaqornat in spectacular northern Greenland grapples with many of the same challenges as other small communities around the world: a dwindling population, a lack of industry and jobs, the traditional giving way to modernity. It also happens to be one of the most remote human habitations on Earth. The film focuses on four townsfolk—Lars, the only teenager, who dreams of another life; Karl, the huntsman who has never really acknowledged that Lars is his son; Ilanngauq, the outsider who moved to Niaqornat after meeting his wife online; and Annie, the elder who remembers the ways of the shamans and a time when the lights were fueled by seal blubber. (82 mins.)

Filmography: Gavron: Brick Lane (07); Katznelson: First feature.
2/19 8:30pm Cinemagic
2/20 6:00pm OMSI
Sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill.


Ektoras Lygizos

Based on Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun’s 1890 novel Hunger, Lygizos fashions a confronting, visceral take on contemporary Greece’s stultifying economic and spiritual condition. Yorgos is an educated loner, estranged from his family and friends, keeping counsel only with his pet canary. Unemployed and destitute after being evicted from his decrepit apartment, he seeks to placate his hunger rummaging through dumpsters for scraps. But this is only the beginning of his descent into morally bankrupt and flagrantly indecent levels of desperation. “[So] intensely corporeal that it can be almost painful to watch. An unforgettable experience, Lygizos’s debut feature marks him as one of the most impressive new talents to emerge since the international breakthrough of the Greek New Wave.”—Toronto International Film Festival. This year’s Greek submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (80 mins.) Recommended for adult audiences only.

First feature.
2/18 8:30pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
2/20 8:30pm Fox Tower


Peter Ho-Sun Chan

In 1985, in the midst of China’s economic reform period, three college students in Beijing—an overzealous country boy who refuses to accept his destiny of being a farmer, a cynical intellectual with a superiority complex, and a romantic idealist who wants to be a movie star—bond through a shared fascination with Western literature, music, and movies and an ambition to live the American dream. This sets the three on a roundabout course toward the foundation of a wildly successful English-language tutorial institute—but fame, enormous fortune, and lawsuits test the bonds of ambition. Shot by superstar cinematographer Christopher Doyle and dubbed “the Chinese Social Network,” this seductive, epic tale of business bravado reveals both the spirit and the detail of China’s dramatic economic coming-of-age. (112 mins.)

Filmography: Comrades: Almost a Love Story (96), Who’s the Man, Who’s the Woman (97), The Warlords (07).
2/14 5:45pm Fox Tower
2/20 5:45pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco.

Flora Lau

Bends straddles the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border and tells the emotionally touching story of Anna, an affluent housewife, and Fai, her chauffeur, and their unexpected friendship as they each negotiate the social contradictions and pressures of Hong Kong life and the city’s increasingly complex relationship to mainland China. Fai is struggling to find a way to bring his pregnant (in violation of the one-child policy) wife Tai over the Hong Kong border from Shenzhen to give birth to their second child, even though he crosses the border easily every day working as Anna’s chauffeur. Anna, in contrast, is struggling to keep up the facade of the ostentatious lifestyle into which she has married, after the sudden disappearance of her husband amid financial turmoil. Their parallel lives collide in a common space, the car. (96 mins.)

First feature.
2/9 5:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/13 6:00pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco.

Adam Wong

A surprise hit in Hong Kong, the low-budget The Way We Dance, like most dance movies, is a celebration of vibrant youth, as well as hopes and dreams fulfilled. Leaving her parents’ tofu restaurant behind, aspiring dancer Fleur enters university and joins the hip-hop dance club. Her idiosyncratic moves are too advanced for the other dancers, but she finds approval from the chairman of the tai chi club, who encourages her to connect with her inner martial artist. With an appropriately minimalist (romantic drama) plot, Wong inventively mashes contemporary street and traditional Chinese moves with Kung-fu spirit to capture “the passion and romance of these dancers, whom I found representative of the Hong Kong people who are used to growing up in adversity…the devotion, focus, and persistence in the pursuit of their art.” (110 mins.)

Filmography: When Beckham Met Owen (04), Magic Boy (07).
2/17 7:30pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
2/21 7:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco.


Krisztina Deák

In the hope of a better life, a Hungarian-Romanian family of circus artists escapes from the Ceausescu dictatorship in Romania to the West in the early 1980s. There they realize that to stay in the ring they will need to devise an exotic and different performance. The mother devises a special act in which she hangs by her hair in the circus dome. However, her daughter Aglaja is constantly worried that her mother will fall to her death, and this fear becomes an everyday burden for her to bear. Yet one day—following the family tradition—she herself will become “the Woman with Hair of Steel.” A moving story about a refugee family and the joys and curses of enforced interdependence—all seen from the viewpoint of a young woman who must find her way in life’s instabilities. (116 mins.)

Filmography: Jadviga’s Pillow (00), Who the Hell’s Bonnie and Clyde? (04).
2/11 5:45pm Cinemagic
2/17 12:00pm Fox Tower


Benedikt Erlingsson

This dry, very Icelandic comedy is a country romance about the human streak in the horse and the horse in the human. Love and death become interlaced with immense consequences through several interlinked short episodes that follow the inhabitants of an isolated hamlet. “This is not a straightforward story. I hope that the title gives the right point of view. And of course it must be said that here in the north, women are also men. It is important to state that no horses were hurt in the making of this film. The entire cast and crew are horse owners and horse lovers…. I must admit, however, that there were some human actors who were traumatized, but I happen to know that they were still alive when this was written.”—Benedikt Erlingsson. Winner of the Best Director Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival, Of Horses and Men is this year’s Icelandic submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (81 mins.)

First feature.
2/8 3:30pm Fox Tower
2/12 8:30pm Cinemagic


Gyan Correa

Several groups of people are making their way along a desolate stretch of highway in India’s dangerous Kutch region. Seven-year-old Adiyta, from Mumbai, has become separated from his parents and is befriended by a truck driver on a perilous smuggling mission. Poonya, an 11-year-old girl who has run away from the city to find her grandmother, finds herself in danger of becoming a victim of human trafficking. Over the course of 24 hours, the lives of these protagonists and others are dramatically intertwined as The Good Road explores the intersection of modern, urban India with its unseen, underdeveloped rural counterpart. This starkly beautiful metaphysical road movie, shot in one of India’s most isolated locations, won the Best Gujarati Feature Prize at India’s National Film Awards and is this year’s Indian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (92 mins.)

First feature.
2/7 6:00pm OMSI
2/8 6:00pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by SP Newsprint.

Ritesh Batra

Ila (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a lonely Mumbai housewife who yearns to spark the affections of her inattentive husband. She patiently prepares a special lunch for him to enjoy at work, but through a mix-up with the delivery service, the meal ends up at the desk of Saajan (Irrfan Khan), an isolated accountant on the verge of retiring. Thrilled by the great surprise but compelled to acknowledge the mistake, Saajan starts an ongoing exchange of warm letters between the lonely pair, through which they reveal their innermost secrets. On his retirement, Sajaan goes in search of the cook of his dreams. Batra’s oftentimes comedic debut feature is an intimate, heartfelt exploration of the fragility of human connection in which every gesture has meaning and every wonderfully observed image has compassion. (104 mins.)

First feature.
2/11 6:00pm OMSI
2/14 8:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by Southpark Seafood Grill.


Jafar Panahi, Kambuzia Partovi

Still banned from making films for 20 years, celebrated Iranian director Jafar Panahi defied Islamic authorities to make this daring and angry protest against repression and devastating portrait of melancholia and paranoia. In a house by the sea, a man hides with his illegal (considered “unclean”) dog, working on a screenplay. A mysterious young woman arrives, clearly hiding from something herself, and refuses to leave. Then Panahi himself arrives, and the curtain on what has come before is at least partly lifted. Of his enigmatic meditation on the blurry line between fiction and real life, Panahi says: “Closed Curtain uses shifting genres and stories within stories to highlight why filmmaking is a necessity in a filmmaker’s life: it is the imperative need to show the reality of the world we live in.” (106 mins.)

Filmography: Panahi: The White Balloon (95), The Circle (00), Offside (06), This Is Not a Film (11); Partovi: Border Café (05).
2/8 8:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/12 6:00pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by the Portland State University English Department.

Ali Mosaffa
Inspired by James Joyce’s “The Dead,” this engrossing tale of grief, guilt, and lost love is narrated from beyond the grave by architect Khosro (Mosaffa), who has died in a mysterious fall but lingers around his beautiful film star wife, Leila (Leila Hatami), reviewing their complicated but loving marriage. Hanging around the set where she is trying to finish shooting the film begun before his death, previously unexplained truths dawn on him, but Leila, who manages to insert her perspective into the story, still has some secrets. This complex, ironic, and delicate psychological thriller is lead actor Mosaffa’s sophomore directing effort. “Blending elements of whodunit mystery, love triangle, and poetic meditation on mortality…yet another reminder that Iran is awash with world-class filmmakers.”—The Hollywood Reporter. (88 mins.)
Filmography: Portrait of a Lady Far Away (05).
2/17 12:15pm Cinemagic
2/18 6:00pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)

Peyman Moaadi
Roya (Mahnaz Afshar), a piano teacher about to turn 40, realizes that her marriage to her older husband Ali is in crisis when
a phone call reveals that there is much she does not know. Lost in fear and doubt, she tries to pull herself together and find her way out of the crisis, but an encounter with a charming neighbor changes her world in yet another unforeseen way and forces a painful choice. This directorial debut from writer and actor Peyman Moaadi (A Separation), evocatively filmed in black and white, scored a Best Actress Award for Afshar and Best Film and Best Script Awards for Moaadi at the Iranian Film Critics Guild Awards. Winner of the Best First Feature Prize at the Fajar Film Festival. (92 mins.)
First feature.
2/16 3:00pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
2/20 6:00pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by KBOO.


Ari Folman
“Folman’s follow-up to his strikingly rotoscoped Waltz with Bashir is a bold, metaphysical sci-fi satire: a live-action set-up that goes down the rabbit hole of loony animation partway through. Based on a novel by Solaris author Stanislaw Lem, The Congress sees Robin Wright playing Robin Wright, an actress with diminishing options in a savage and surreal movie business. When her agent (Harvey Keitel) delivers an ultimatum, Wright’s only choice is to sell her very identity. Plunged into a lurid Orwellian future, she must rediscover herself with the help of her personal animator (Jon Hamm) and human doctor (Paul Giamatti).”—London Film Festival. “[A] visionary work…it’s lyrical and mysterious, contemplating age-old sci-fi questions (of artificial intelligence, of perception versus reality) while grafting them onto a commentary about the changing nature of movies.”— (120 mins.)
Filmography: Waltz with Bashir (08).
2/14 12:00am Cinema 21 (large theater)
Sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest, San Francisco.


Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza
A hit man for the Sicilian mafia, Salvo is solitary, cold, and ruthless. When he sneaks into a house on an assignment, he discovers Rita, an innocent young blind girl who must stand by powerlessly while her brother is assassinated. What follows is an intense exchange, fueled by adrenaline and fear, between the killer and his witness, one that changes their two lives in an instant. The darkness is lifted from Rita’s eyes just as Salvo decides, against his murderous instincts, to spare her life. Haunted by their encounter, both of these damaged souls will attempt to navigate their dangerous next steps side by side. “Salvo embraces crime genre tropes and then stretches them into a new shape, reminding that the confinement of genre can have unexpectedly fresh results.”—Film Comment. Winner of the Critics’ Week Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. (104 mins.)
First feature.
2/9 2:45pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/14 8:30pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute, San Francisco, and Italian Film Commission, Los Angeles.

Daniele Luchetti
Rome in the 1970s. Young Dario, 8mm movie camera in hand, captures the events that will forever change his family’s destiny. Guido (Kim Rossi Stuart), a narcissistic artist who dreams of being a famous artist, is too self-centered to see that his wife (Micaela Ramazzotti) is upset about all the time he spends with beautiful women in his studio. So it’s a rude awakening when she starts to entertain ideas of her own independent life and leaves for a “feminist retreat”—right after his big Milan gallery show disastrously implodes in disaster. Loosely based on his parents’ life, this wryly amusing drama of a couple’s emotional rollercoaster ride, played out before their bemused and occasionally horrified children, tells a universally recognizable tale of family stress while paying loving homage to the power of home movies shot on celluloid. (106 mins.)
Filmography: Ginger and Cinnamon (03), My Brother is an Only Child (07), Another Life (10).
2/7 8:30pm OMSI
2/8 6:00pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute, San Francisco, and Italian Film Commission, Los Angeles.


Yûya Ishii
Mitsuya, a shy young bookworm, is the weakest salesman in his division at the Genbu Publishing Company. When transferred to the dictionary department to work on “The Great Passage,” a 240,000-entry, state-of-the-language dictionary, his passion for language blossoms. But he’s left speechless when he meets Kaguya, his landlady’s granddaughter, who moves into his building and beguiles him with her obsession with cooking knives and fine cuisine. Mitsuya soon finds that the words he has studied his whole life are inadequate to express his true feelings for Kaguya. Meanwhile, complications begin piling up as the dictionary department descends into chaos. Yûya Ishii’s tender and quirky romance is a charming ode to the Japanese lexicon. This year’s Japanese submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (134 mins.)
Filmography: Rebel, Juro’s Love (06), Sawako Decides (10), Mitsuko Delivers (11).
2/16 7:45pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/19 8:30pm OMSI
Sponsored by the Consular Office of Japan in Portland.

Hayao Miyazaki
Miyazaki, co-founder of the legendary Studio Ghibli, eschewing his typically fictional characters ensconced in a fantasy world, instead brings to life the story of Jiro Horikoshi, visionary designer of one of history’s most beautiful airplanes—the prototype for the Zero WWII fighter. Adapted from Miyazaki’s own serialized manga, which was itself inspired by Tatsuo Hori’s 1937 story of the same name, this epic tale of love, invention, and hope spans decades, sweeping through great historical moments of 20th-century Japan. In what he has said is his last film, the winner of dozens of international awards, Miyazaki dazzles with his usual beautifully rendered flourishes, but this time exploring a grounded, evolved, and sophisticated nostalgia that is a fitting final celebration of art, science, and the impulse to create. (126 mins.)
Filmography: Castle in the Sky (86), Princess Mononoke (97), Spirited Away (01), Howl’s Moving Castle (04), Ponyo (08).
2/6 6:30pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/6 6:45pm OMSI
Sponsored by the Consular Office of Japan in Portland.


Mahdi Fleifel
Drawing on a family history of videomaking, Fleifel offers an intimate glimpse into the crumbling Ain el-Helweh (“Sweet Spring”) refugee camp in Lebanon—a settlement of less than a square mile that has, for more than 60 years, been home to more than 70,000 people. Fleifel spent his formative years there in the 1980s, before his family settled in Denmark. For years he’s been returning and keeping a video diary, and in A World Not Ours, he provides a frank, funny, and nostalgic insider portrait of the community. The conversations with residents, friends, and family provide an unfiltered take on Palestinian grievances with Israel, Lebanon, and their own political leaders and how ideas of home, community, victory, and hope sustain in a challenging situation. Engaging and accessible, with a quirky, upbeat soundtrack, Fleifel’s personal journey offers a fresh and inviting point of entry to thorny political history and determined resistance. (93 mins.)
First feature.
2/14 6:00pm World Trade Center Theater
2/16 5:30pm World Trade Center Theater


Diego Quemada-Díez
Quemada-Díez brings a gritty realism and social conscience to a story about the excitement and horror young Central American migrants regularly face in trying to make it to the United States. Sara, a Guatemalan teenager, chops her hair off and disguises herself as a boy. She’s joined by her friends Juan and Samuel on a thrilling and brutal journey north, hopping freight trains heading for Los Angeles. As the group faces life-and-death challenges from bandits and corrupt law enforcement, they learn crucial life lessons about friendship and loyalty. This poetic thriller was inspired by the true stories unfolding daily along unnamed railroad tracks, and the remarkable cast of untrained actors won a special prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival. “A very substantial movie, with great compassion and urgency.”—The Guardian, London. (102 mins.)
First feature.
2/17 2:30pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
2/22 5:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Amat Escalante
Heli works at a car factory and tries hard to provide for his young wife, son, and sister Estela. Twelve-year-old Estela has fallen in love with a young police cadet with whom she wants to run away and marry. As she pursues her dream, one deadly mistake leads to another, and she unwittingly drags her family into the horror of devastating drug violence. Once events are set in motion, there is no escaping the destruction that results from a society ruled by men with guns. A portrayal of the most violent contemporary landscape imaginable, Escalante’s film confirms that it is the poor and innocent who always pay the highest price. Winner of the Best Director Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and this year’s Mexican submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (105 mins.)
Filmography: Sangre (05), Los Bastardos (08).
2/9 8:00pm Cinemagic
2/14 8:30pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Consulate of Mexico in Portland.

Francisco Franco Alba
From The Producers to Bullets Over Broadway, the challenges of putting on a stage show have proved a rich source of inspiration for comedy films. In this comedic ensemble piece, a Mexican theater company is in rehearsals for a production of Caligula by Albert Camus. Things aren’t going well: the lead actress is furious with the neurotic and depressed director, the lead actor is having panic attacks, and an older actor can’t memorize his lines. The assistant director—a failed actress—turns out to have a drug problem. Then the tech crew gets attacked by a group of “emo” teenagers. It’s going to take a miracle for this play to open…. This delightful backstage comedy won the Audience Award, Critics’ Award, and Best Actress Award at the Guadalajara Film Festival. (92 mins.)
Filmography: Burn the Bridges (07).
2/15 9:00pm OMSI
2/18 6:00pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by the Consulate of Mexico in Portland.

Raya Martin, Mark Peranson
“Film and digital, documentary and fiction all do battle as an egomaniacal director journeys to the Yucatán to prepare for his (the?) last movie to be shot on celluloid, just as the Mayan apocalypse threatens to bring forth the end of the world—and cinema. Schizophrenic in the best ways possible, this madcap-experimental-comedy-fever-dream is alternately hilarious, poetic, and beautiful. Inspired by Dennis Hopper’s infamous The Last Movie (1971), as well as the documentary shot during its editing on Hopper’s ranch, The American Dreamer, the film is a loving tribute to a great American artist—and to that sacred material known as celluloid—and yet it bravely looks ahead to new possibilities in the ever-changing landscape of the seventh art. This may be the last movie, but it’s the first of its kind.”—Vancouver International Film Festival. (88 mins.)
Filmography: Martin: Autohystoria (07), Independencia (09); Peranson: Waiting for Sancho (08).
2/15 9:00pm Cinemagic
2/16 7:45pm Fox Tower


Nabil Ayouch
Two young soccer-loving friends, Yachine and Nabil, grow up under the fierce protection of Yachine’s older brother, Hamid. But in the sprawling slums of Sidi Moumen, not even Hamid can defend them against the harshness and injustice of the life that surrounds them. Fed up with that life, Hamid throws a rock at a police car and earns himself two years in prison. When he returns, an eerie calm masks his newfound zealotry, and his fundamentalist friends seem to exercise a powerful influence. Inspired by the real-life 2003 terrorist attacks in Casablanca, Ayouch’s film is a thoughtful and affecting inquiry into how ordinary people come to do desperate, unfathomable things. Winner of the Best Director Award at the Seattle International Film Festival. (115 mins.)
Filmography: Mektoub (97), Ali Zoua: A Prince of the Streets (00), Whatever Lola Wants (07), My Land (11).
2/15 9:00pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
2/22 2:15pm Whitsell Auditorium


Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez
“Spray and Velez’s (literally) transporting film—shot inside a cable car that carries pilgrims and tourists to and from a mountaintop temple in Nepal—is radically simple in conception. Each of its 11 shots lasts as long as a one-way ride, which corresponds to the duration of a roll of 16mm film. This newest work from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab—which previously produced Sweetgrass (PIFF 32) and Leviathan (PIFF 36)—is thrillingly mysterious in its effects: a staged documentary, a cross between science fiction and ethnography, an airborne version of an Andy Warhol screen test. As with the richest structural films, Manakamana is a kind of head movie that viewers are invited to complete as they watch. An endlessly suggestive film that both describes and transcends the bounds of time and space.”—New York Film Festival. (118 mins.)
First feature.
2/8 8:30pm World Trade Center Theater
2/15 3:15pm World Trade Center Theater
Sponsored by Ninkasi Brewing Company.


Alex van Warmerdam
A dark, mischievous, and unsettling fable about a strange vagabond, Borgman takes the concept of home invasion to captivating new levels. Driven by the authorities from his underground hideout, the enigmatic Camiel Borgman is on the run. Covered in dirt, he arrives at Marina and Richard’s large suburban home asking to use their shower, thus beginning a game of sly calculation as he insinuates himself into their lives. He soon starts to manipulate the family with almost preternatural charisma as his more sinister plans make themselves known in chilling fashion. Filled with nasty humor and demonic imagination, van Warmerdam’s film shows that “evil comes in everyday form, embodied within ordinary, normal, polite men and women…enacted not just on cold winter nights but in the optimistic summer, beneath a warm and comforting sun.”—Alex van Warmerdam. (113 mins.)
Filmography: The Northerners (92), The Dress (96), Little Tony (98), Grimm (03), Waiter (06), The Last Days of Emma Blank (09).
2/7 12:00am Cinema 21 (large theater)
Sponsored by Yelp!

Nanouk Leopold
Leopold takes a precise look at solitude and sexuality in this sensitive and delicate film, based on a novel by Gerbrand Bakker. Helmer is a single farmer in his 50s who lives with his aged, bedridden father in the Dutch countryside. Each day he is visited by Johan, a milk truck driver of his own age, who is clearly attracted to Helmer but is rebuffed. The relationship with his father is a difficult one, and Helmer lives in a state of solitude and frustration. The arrival of an attractive farmhand triggers complex feelings of desire and hesitation in Helmer and creates a new momentum in his life. Beautifully capturing the pace of rural life, Leopold’s quiet, visually vivid drama rewards with its rare and sensitive depiction of the intense longings of ordinary people. (93 mins.)
Filmography: Guernsey (05), Wolfsbergen (07), Brownian Movement (10).
2/16 7:45pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
2/19 8:30pm Fox Tower

Jillian Schlesinger
“At just 14 years old, Laura Dekker sets out on a two-year voyage ‘to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.’ While the Dutch teen’s announcement spurs a highly publicized custody battle with the Child Welfare Office, Schlesinger focuses on the real heart of the story, a fiercely independent girl and her audacious dream. Schlesinger films Laura at her many exotic ports of call, but it’s the young captain herself who shoots all the footage at sea in journal-like conversations with the camera. Far from scrutiny and land, she’s visibly free and speaks so confidently and honestly about her desires, fears, and vulnerability, you forget you’re watching a teenager. It’s clear this old soul is captaining not only her beloved boat Guppy, but also her future, of which she’s already in full command.”—Hot Docs. (82 mins.) Recommended for ages 12+.
First feature.
2/8 6:15pm OMSI
2/18 8:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill and the World Affairs Council of Oregon.

Oeke Hoogendijk
“The renovation of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum went on for 10 long, expensive years, so it is fitting that a documentary on this torturous (and often inadvertently hilarious) process should turn into not one but two feature-length movies. Spanish architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz have designed an ingenious new entryway, but the Dutch Cyclists Union won’t tolerate reduced access for the 13,000 bicyclists who ride through the passageway daily. The museum’s magisterial director, Ronald de Leeuw, and his successor, the younger, scrappier Wim Pijbes, battle with curators, politicians, designers, city bureaucrats, and the public as the price of construction soars to $500 million. It’s a messy, complicated story, but fortunately, one with a glorious ending.”—Film Forum. “The New Rijksmuseum proves that films can describe nuances of character and situation as finely as the finest novel or creative nonfiction.”— (240 mins.)
Filmography: The Saved (98).
2/16 2:45pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/19 6:00pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by Higgins.

Vincent Bal
The Zigzag Kid is a stylish, witty, action-packed caper à la The Pink Panther that also touches on more serious themes of self-discovery, the strength of family, and acceptance. The son of the world’s greatest police inspector, Nono is on a train trip to see his uncle when he meets his father’s arch-nemesis, the notorious criminal Felix Glick, and must put his own detective skills to work. Wearing disguises and evading police, he heads to the French Riviera but only has 24 hours to compete his high-stakes mission—while also confronting the mystery of his own identity and the truth about his mother—before his bar mitzvah! Winner of the Audience Award at the Montréal International Children’s Film Festival and the European Film Academy Young Audience Award. (95 mins.) In Dutch, English, and French with English subtitles. Recommended for ages 8+.
Filmography: Man of Steel (99), Miss Minoes (01).
2/8 1:00pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/9 3:00pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by Oregon Episcopal School.


Hisham Zaman

How far would you go to restore your family’s honor? As the oldest man in his household, Siyar confronts that question after his sister Nermin flees an arranged marriage and he must seek vengeance for the slight. Siyar tracks her from their village in Kurdistan to a world apart in Istanbul. His fateful introduction to Evin, a young girl living on the streets, leads to the first cracks in his resolve. Then Nermin escapes, and he follows her to Germany and Norway on a journey that will forever change his notions of loyalty, dignity, honor, and love. Both a tender coming-of-age/road trip story and a classic tragedy, Before Snowfall is a heartbreaking depiction of the disastrous intersection of primal forces. Winner of the Best Nordic Film Award at the Göteborg Film Festival and the Best Cinematography Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. (105 mins.) In Kurdish and German with English subtitles.

First feature.
2/9 5:30pm Cinemagic
2/11 8:30pm OMSI
Sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, San Francisco.

Iram Haq

Mina is a young single mother living in Oslo with her six-year-old son Felix. A Norwegian-Pakistani, she has a troublesome relationship with her family, who blame her for her divorce. Understandably: she’s a natural flirt, and while she has plenty of male companions, they tend not to hang around for long. One day, Mina meets Jesper, a Swedish film director, and they fall head over heels in love, but boy and man don’t exactly see eye to eye…. “I wanted to make a very naked and true story…. Often we see female characters being as good a person as possible. Mina is a normal human being, always running after being loved but not knowing what love is.”—Iram Haq. This year’s Norwegian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (96 mins.)

First feature.
2/12 8:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/20 6:00pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, San Francisco, and the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation.

Christian Lo

Eleven-year-old Modulf fancies himself as something of a superhero, saving the other kids at his school from being bullied by “allowing” the tough kids to pick on him so they can escape. While he’s the one being soaked in the bathroom, the other kids are protected. Then one day Lise joins Modulf’s class, wreaking havoc with his plan. Lise doesn’t agree with his theories, and her interfering suddenly makes her a target for trouble, forcing him to reexamine his strategy and save her. Winner of the Best Children’s Film Prize at the Nordic Film Days. (74 mins.) Recommended for ages 8+.

Filmography: Rafiki (09).
2/16 3:00pm Fox Tower
2/17 2:30pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, San Francisco, and Journal Graphics.


Hany Abu-Assad

Omar is a tense, gripping thriller about betrayal, suspected and real, in the Occupied Territories. Omar is a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to meet up with his girl, Nadja. By night, he’s either a freedom fighter or a terrorist ready to risk his life to strike at the Israeli military with his childhood friends Tarek and Amjad. Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant. So begins a dangerous game—is he playing his Israeli handler or will he really betray his cause? Who can be trusted on either side? A dynamic, action-packed drama about the unsolvable moral dilemmas and tough choices facing those trapped on the frontlines of a conflict over which they have little control. (96 mins.)

Filmography: Ford Transit (03), Paradise Now (05).
2/9 8:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/13 6:00pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by KBOO.


Brillante Mendoza

Following the fortunes of a humble Muslim fisherman and his wife, this lyrical tale of love and beauty questions how far someone will go to fulfill their social destiny and dreams. Shaleha, an aging midwife unable to bear her own child, embarks on a quest to find a second wife for her husband who can bear him the child they so desperately want. Set in the remote archipelago of Tawi-Tawi, Shaleha’s quest provides a backdrop for an intimate portrait of a Bajau community that survives off the sea that surrounds them. The daily rituals of the women weaving colorful straw mats, the political unrest in the town, and the elaborate ceremonial events such as a local marriage are captured with a timeless perfection. Winner of the Cinema Critics’ Prize at the Venice Film Festival and the Best Director and Best Actress Prizes at the Manila Film Festival. (100 mins.)

Filmography: The Masseur (05), Foster Child (07), Grandmother (09), Captive (12).
2/15 9:00pm Fox Tower
2/20 8:30pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by the Philippine Consulate General of Portland, Council of Filipino American Associations, and Philippine American Chamber of Commerce.

Hannah Espia

This year’s Philippine submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Transit deals with the struggles of an extended Filipino family that has lived and worked in Tel Aviv for years. In 2009, the Israeli government passed a new law allowing the children of foreign workers to be deported back to their parents’ country. Janet’s work visa has expired, and she may be deported back to the Philippines. Her teenage daughter Yael, born of an Israeli father from a past relationship, wants to stay, and Janet’s brother Moses hides his four-year-old son at home for fear that if he is found, the child will also be deported. A poetic illumination of the social and economic struggle facing displaced people across the globe and how immigration laws impact human relationships. Winner of the Best Film and Audience Awards at the Cinemalaya Festival. (93 mins.) In Hebrew, Filipino, and Tagalog with English subtitles.

First feature.
2/13 6:00pm OMSI
2/15 3:30pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by the Philippine Consulate General of Portland, Council of Filipino American Associations, and Philippine American Chamber of Commerce.


Wladyslaw Pasikowski

A gripping psychological thriller, Aftermath tells the story of two estranged brothers, Franek and Josef, who discover a terrible secret that forces them to revise their perception of their family, neighbors, and the history of their nation. The sons of a poor farmer from a small village in central Poland, Franek immigrated to the US in the 1980s and cut ties with his family. Only when his brother’s wife arrives two decades later without explanation does Franek decide to return to his homeland. There he finds his brother has been ostracized from the community and receiving various threats, and soon they are drawn into an incendiary gothic tale of intrigue and reckoning with a dark period in Polish history. “Gripping. A bombshell disguised as a thriller…. An especially effective film noir. Excellent.”—Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times. (107 mins.)

Filmography: Pigs (92), Bittersweet (96), Reich (01).
2/9 8:00pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/11 8:30pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Consulate General of Poland, Los Angeles.

Pawel Pawlikowski
Orphaned during World War II and raised in a rural convent, Anna is about to take her own vows. But before becoming a nun, the mother superior insists she visit her last remaining relative. Aunt Wanda, Anna discovers, is a worldly intellectual—an embittered ex-judge in Warsaw—and a woman who deals with her painful memories with liberal doses of sex and drink. An offhand revelation about Anna’s true identity sets in motion a road trip through the Polish countryside during which these two strikingly different women confront devastating family secrets and postwar demons. One of the most internationally acclaimed films of the year, Ida’s exquisite black-and-white images, superb performances, and haunting script combine to fashion a poetic meditation on identity and the limits of faith. (80 mins.)
Filmography: The Stringer (98), Last Resort (00), My Summer of Love (04), The Woman in the Fifth (11).
2/11 6:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/16 5:30pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Consulate General of Poland, Los Angeles.

Andrzej Wajda
This remarkable historical epic, tracing Lech Walesa’s rise from simple shipyard electrician to leader of Poland’s Solidarity movement and Polish president, is the last part of venerable director Andrzej Wajda’s trilogy about how worker disillusionment with Communism helped to bring about the system’s demise. Centering on Walesa and his wife Danuta, the screenplay, built around a 1981 interview he gave to Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, chronicles two decades of high stakes events while, in Wajda’s words “…making a movie about a people’s hero…a politician who came from the social lows and rose to his position purely and only thanks to his own will, his own strength, his own energy, his intelligence.” (127 mins.) In Polish and Italian with English subtitles.
Filmography: Ashes and Diamonds (58), Landscape After Battle (70), Man of Marble (77), Man of Iron (81), Danton (83), The Revenge (02), Katyn (07).
2/17 7:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/20 8:30pm OMSI
Sponsored by the Consulate General of Poland, Los Angeles, and the Polish Library Association and the Polish Festival Nonprofit Organization, Portland.


Calin Peter Netzer
Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, this dark tragicomic exposé chronicles the efforts of an overly protective and domineering mother, Cornelia, who uses all of the means at her disposal to keep her reckless adult son, Barbu, out of jail when he is accused of killing a child in a drunken hit-and-run. Cornelia is an educated, wealthy woman, an architect by trade, who views her privilege in Romanian society as a right that extends to her son; she has no qualms about offering bribes or coercing the police and witnesses to lie. But the impassive Barbu, increasingly resentful of his mother’s domination and bullying, comes to realize that he has a say in his fate too. This year’s Romanian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (112 mins.)
Filmography: Maria (03), Medal of Honor (09).
2/8 6:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/15 6:00pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by the Romanian American Society and the Portland-Iasi Sister City Association.


Srdan Golubovic
Circles unfolds as a triptych, exploring the moral convolutions of guilt and complex story strands that emerge from one fateful moment. Marco, a Serbian soldier on leave during the war in 1993, returns to his Bosnian hometown. When three fellow soldiers accost Haris, a Muslim shopkeeper, Marco intervenes, but it costs him his life. Twelve years later, the war is over, but the wounds remain open. Marco’s father is rebuilding a church when Bogdan, the son of one of Marco’s killers, appears looking for work. Meanwhile in Belgrade, Marco’s friend Nabobs, a renowned surgeon, debates whether or not to operate on another of Marco’s killers. And in Germany, Haris strives to repay his debt when Marco’s widow arrives seeking refuge. This year’s Serbian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (112 mins.)
Filmography: Absolute Hundred (01), The Trap (07).
2/17 6:30pm OMSI
2/19 5:45pm Whitsell Auditorium


Anthony Chen
Chen’s bittersweet drama about the relationship between a 10-year-old boy named Jiale and his caretaker Teresa in late 1990s Singapore won the Camera d’Or Award for Best Debut Feature Film at the Cannes Film Festival. Set during the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the film focuses on Teresa’s arrival from the Philippines in search of a better life and the comfort Jiale takes in Teresa’s expanding role within the family as monetary hardships threaten to splinter his parents’ marriage. “Brimming with love, humor, and heartbreak…a small but immensely likable gem.”—Variety. “The very beating heart and soul of cinematic storytelling.”—Film Comment. This year’s Singaporean submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (99 mins.)
First feature.
2/8 3:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/11 6:00pm Cinema 21 (large theater)


Kang Yi-kwan
An appeal for societal and personal reform, this intimate crime drama peers into the consequences of cyclical, intergenerational abandonment as experienced by a troubled 16-year-old boy named Ji-gu. Living with his ailing grandfather, he falls in with the wrong crowd and, after committing larceny, ends up in juvenile detention. There, he reunites with Hyo-seung, his destitute mother, who gave birth to him as a teenager and left him when he was only three years old. Against the backdrop of Seoul’s affluent metropolis, Ji and his mother’s story is as much about social problems as it is about a young outsider’s challenge to rise above history repeating itself. Winner of the Best Actor and Special Jury Prizes at the Tokyo International Film Festival and this year’s South Korean submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (107 mins.)

Filmography: Sa-Kwa (05).
2/13 6:00pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/15 3:30pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by the Oregon Korea Foundation.

Hong Sang-soo

Why does Seoul student Haewon keep dozing off? Is she depressed by her mother’s departure for Canada? Tired of her relationship with her teacher, the fickle—and married—filmmaker Seongjun? Will the events of the coming weeks rouse her from her listlessness, or will she carry on dreaming? With its focus on fraught male-female relationships, mix of gentle comedy and meditative melancholia, and playful way with narrative repetition and fragmentation, this is clearly a Hong Sang-soo film. In Hong’s view of human foibles, the various men hitting on Haewon are again prone to bathos and self-delusion, while she herself is as insecure and indecisive as an Eric Rohmer protagonist. Like those patience-trying heroines, she’s rightly regarded with bemusement and compassion—wherein lie the film’s wit and charm. (90 mins.)

Filmography: The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well (96), Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (00), Woman on the Beach (06), Like You Know It All (09), The Day He Arrives (11), Our Sunhi (13).
2/17 7:30pm Fox Tower
2/20 8:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by the Oregon Korea Foundation.


Gracia Querejeta

Margo (Maribel Verdú) is struggling to deal with her son Jon, a rebellious and free-spirited teenager who runs with a bad crowd. After Jon is expelled from school, Margo sends him to live with his grandfather Max, a retired military officer who lives in a small coastal town and believes he can fix his grandson with his own style of discipline. Max has hired Toni, a young man from the village, to act as Jon’s private tutor. Unfortunately, Jon is more interested in spending time with a local Colombian gang who are always getting in trouble and especially with Nelson, their cocky leader. Who is going to teach whom a lesson? This year’s Spanish submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (96 mins.)

Filmography: Una estación de paso (92), El último viaje de Robert Rylands (96), By My Side Again (99), Héctor (04), Siete mesas de billar francés (07).
2/12 6:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/18 8:30pm Fox Tower
Sponsored by Delivered Dish.

Fernando Cortizo

Ramon, a convict who has escaped from jail, arrives in a remote Galician mountain village searching for a treasure hidden there years earlier. What at first appears to be a deserted town in which only a few old people live turns out to be a village under a mysterious curse that has existed for over 600 years. He soon finds himself in a nightmarish world in which the harmless elders are actually looking for souls to trade with the grim reaper himself. This adult fairy tale—a beguiling mix of stop-motion, 3D animation, and motion capture, steeped in a dark, gothic visual style and accompanied by a haunting soundtrack composed by Philip Glass—won the Audience Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. (80 mins.)

First feature.
2/8 1:00pm Fox Tower
2/19 8:30pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by LAIKA.

Cesc Gay

A Gun in Each Hand is a witty and brutally hilarious collection of portraits of 40-something men and the changing gender roles of contemporary Spanish society. S. tries to woo back the ex-wife he divorced for another woman; P. gleefully preys on the inappropriate advances of a coworker; L. is slow to catch on that his wife is having an affair; and E., having lost everything, is now living with his mother. And so it goes as what at first appears to be a collection of disparate episodes and characters weave and twine together to create a perceptive dissection of male midlife crises with all their accompanying poignancy and bewilderment. This superbly realized battle-of-the-sexes comedy features an ensemble of some of Spain’s top actors and earned Gaudi Awards for Best Film, Screenplay, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress. (95 mins.)

Filmography: Hotel Room (98), Nico and Dani (00), In the City (03), Fiction (06), V.O.S. (09).
2/9 8:00pm Fox Tower
2/11 8:30pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
Sponsored by PRAGDA, with support from Spain Arts & Culture and the Spain/USA Foundation.

Juan Cavestany

“To uncover the strange in the ordinary, the unsettling in the everyday: this is the mark of imaginative wizardry that can be found in abundance in People in Places. Working with the tiniest of micro-budgets, Cavestany stages a series of bizarre, Buñuelian scenarios that offer a cracked view of contemporary Spain in the wake of the economic crisis. Making use of some of Spain’s greatest actors alongside faces, he places them in bizarre situations that will have you laughing out loud. Moving from one nondescript location to the next, a theme, or perhaps more of an undercurrent, emerges—until the fiercely political nature of the film becomes apparent. Voyeuristic and confounding, Cavestany uses the preposterous to highlight the all-too-real, capturing people in places doing very, very peculiar things.”—Toronto International Film Festival. (83 mins.)

Filmography: Gente de mala calidad (08), Dispongo de barcos (10).
2/14 6:00pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
2/17 5:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by PRAGDA, with support from Spain Arts & Culture and the Spain/USA Foundation.

Oskar Alegría

In 1926, avant-garde artist Man Ray, a legendary figure in the Dada and Surrealist movements, shot a cine-poem on Spain’s Basque coast. The film was called Emak Bakia, a title rumored to be obtained from a gravestone in a Biarritz cemetery—or perhaps it was the name of the house in which the artist stayed. But what did it really mean? Alegría, inspired by the whimsically inventive Ray, determines to uncover the truth behind the layers of myth. His journey is not, however, a straightforward one. At one point he decides to follow the path of a hare. He finds references to the film in singular nooks and crannies across Europe, from clowns to publishers, from a vintage clothes shop to old postcards. An absurdist voyage or an assemblage of coincidence, Alegría’s film brilliantly channels this legendary, boundary-breaking artist. (83 mins.)

First feature.
2/16 7:45pm World Trade Center Theater
2/21 9:15pm World Trade Center Theater
Sponsored by the Ace Hotel.

Jonás Trueba

Waiting for the green light on his next project, young filmmaker León (Francesco Carril) is in a state of limbo. So what’s he to do? Wander Madrid, get drunk, go on dates, meet up with friends, fall in love, and of course talk about movies. Shot on black-and-white 16mm film stock, writer/director Trueba’s film is a joyous love letter to cinema and the filmmaking process, in particular the French New Wave, whose vintage aesthetic the film consciously evokes. While a film about the craft of making work, it’s also a meditation on contemporary Spanish society, a boy-meets-girl tale, and a seductive homage to Madrid, with the city as much a protagonist of the movie as Carril’s León. Winner of the Best Actor Award at the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival. (93 mins.)

Filmography: Every Song is About Me (10).
2/12 6:00pm Fox Tower
2/16 7:45pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by PRAGDA, with support from Spain Arts & Culture and the Spain/USA Foundation.


Gabriela Pichler

Winner of the Audience Award at the Venice Film Festival and the top Swedish national Guldbagge Awards, Pichler’s remarkable film profiles 20-year-old Raša, a woman struggling to support herself and her father in a southern Swedish village. Despite being an efficient worker, Raša is the first to go when the packing plant starts firing staff. Since she has Bosnian Muslim heritage, her dismissal stings with racial undertones. Jobless, Raša is then abandoned by her father when he leaves to seek work in Norway. Suddenly her small town seems even smaller and lonelier as she is confronted with a difficult choice: leaving her life behind for a new job elsewhere or permanent unemployment. The hard realities of modern Swedish, and global, society are depicted with profound emotional insight as Raša comes to terms with her life. (104 mins.)

First feature.
2/19 8:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/21 9:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by New Sweden, the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation, and the Consulate General of Sweden, San Francisco.

Helena Ahonen, Max Andersson

To promote their comic book Bosnian Flat Dog, Swedish artists Max Andersson and Lars Sjunnesson toured the countries of the former Yugoslavia with a mummified Marshal Tito in a refrigerator. Now comes the documentary, which takes Super-8mm footage of their tour and animates it with cardboard cutouts, garbage, and other recycled materials. The result is a surreal trip through the Balkans that is part promotion, part performance art, and part history of Marshal Tito and the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Through it all, there is a comics creator’s eye at work. Live-action interviews suddenly switch to animation, which is like moving from one panel to the next in a comic book. Altogether, a joyous trip through the war-torn subconscious of an underground artist. (77 mins.) In Swedish, English, German, and Serbian with English subtitles.

First feature.
2/9 3:00pm Cinemagic
2/16 1:00pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by the Consulate General of Sweden, San Francisco.

Lukas Moodysson

Stockholm, 1982: 13-year-old best friends Bobo and Klara are united by their feelings of outsiderness—embarrassed by their parents, repulsed by the conformity of the school’s popular kids, and hating gym class. After wandering into the local community center music room and banging on the instruments, they declare themselves a punk band—never mind that they can’t play a lick. In need of some proper musicianship, they recruit their classmate Hedvig—a talented guitarist, though painfully shy and socially marginalized by her parents’ unfashionable enthusiasm for evangelical Christianity. Now a trio, the three friends create a joyful noise as they play music together and navigate the confusing world of the ’80s they are growing up in. Moodysson’s rousing youth chronicle was adapted from the graphic novel by his wife Coco. (102 mins.)

Filmography: Show Me Love (98), Together (00), Lilya 4-Ever (02), A Hole in My Heart (04).
2/8 8:30pm Fox Tower
2/12 6:00pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
Sponsored by the Consulate General of Sweden, San Francisco.


Thomas Imbach

This sumptuous historical drama provides a riveting psychological portrait of the woman who became a pawn in the 16th-century conflict between Protestants and Catholics. As a child, Catholic Mary (Camille Rutherford) is sent to France to marry the future king. After his premature death, she returns to Scotland and, to her regret, marries Lord Darnle. In love with the Earl of Bothwell, the two plot Darnle’s demise. When her life is thrown into political turmoil after Darnle’s death, Mary seeks help from her Protestant cousin, Elizabeth I, the queen of England—who, threated by her rivalry, has Mary imprisoned and, after 18 years, beheaded. Rather than focusing on dramatic incident, Imbach takes a personal look at British royal tragedy and the story of a woman haunted by expectations and torn between romance and duty. (120 mins.) In French and English.

Filmography: Happiness is a Warm Gun (01), Lenz (06), I Was a Swiss Banker (07).
2/9 6:30pm OMSI
2/15 12:30pm Cinema 21 (small theaters)
Sponsored by the Consulate General of Switzerland, San Francisco, and the Hotel deLuxe.


Tsai Ming-Liang

In Ming-Liang’s vision, existence seems to hang by a thread that could snap at any moment. Under a torrential downpour in Taipei, a single father does odd jobs to make a meager living. His children, left without supervision, roam the streets. Their divorced mother spends her nights creeping around like a ghost in her rundown building and feeding the stray dogs that take shelter there. With his latest offering, the Taiwanese filmmaker delves deeper into his evocative cinematic world, one where disenfranchised people are overcome with an uneasiness they can’t explain. With its gorgeous lighting and striking locations and compositions, Stray Dogs is “as visually powerful as it is emotionally overwhelming and bracingly pure in both its anger and its compassion. One of the finest works of an extraordinary artist.”—New York Film Festival. (138 mins.)

Filmography: Rebels of the Neon God (92), Vive L’Amour (94), The Hole (98), What Time Is It Over There? (01), The Wayward Cloud (05), I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (06), Face (09).
2/15 3:15pm Fox Tower
2/17 7:30pm Cinemagic


Yilmaz Erdogan

In 1941, with World War II looming, in Zonguldak, an impoverished mining city on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, every man in the area is required by law to work in the coal mines. Amidst the poverty, disease, and turmoil are two young poets, Muzaffer and Rustu. Their persevering dream is to have their poetry published. One day they see Suzan, the beautiful daughter of one of the city’s wealthy merchants, and make a bet over the girl: they will both write a poem for her, and whichever she likes, the other will fade from the scene…. As their lives progress, the rivalry between an optimist and a pessimist, both in search of happiness, will test not only their poetry but their bravery. This year’s Turkish submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (138 mins.)

Filmography: Vizontele (01), Vizontele Tuuba (04), Magic Carpet Ride (05), Neseli Hayat (09).
2/8 8:30pm OMSI
2/10 5:45pm Cinema 21 (large theater)


Bill Plympton

An adult tale of love, jealousy, revenge, and murder—infused with Plympton’s surreal sense of humor—Cheatin’ takes its inspiration from the work of such James M. Cain noir classics as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. In a fateful bumper car collision, Jake and Ella meet and become the most loving couple in the long history of romance. But when a scheming “other” woman drives a wedge of jealousy into their perfect courtship, insecurity and hatred spell out an untimely fate. With only the help of a disgraced magician and his forbidden “soul machine,” Ella takes the form of Jake’s numerous lovers, fighting malfunction and deceit to reclaim their destiny. Plympton’s seventh animated feature is his first done in a hand-painted style, with over 40,000 drawings colored by a studio team of just 10 people. (76 mins.)

Recommended for adult audiences only.
Filmography: The Tune (92), I Married a Strange Person! (97), Mondo Plympton (99), Mutant Aliens (01), Hair High (04), Idiots and Angels (08).
2/12 8:30pm Cinema 21 (large theater)
2/16 5:30pm Cinemagic

Ryan McGarry

“C-Booth,” the trauma bay at the LA County Hospital, was the first, the toughest, and the best training ground for ER doctors in the country. But when the hospital moved to a modern facility, the dedicated medical staff faced a growing crisis. Code Black follows a group of young doctors as they grapple with the divide between their idealistic expectations for improving patient care and the realities of an underfunded and overly bureaucratic system. McGarry—a full-time doctor at the hospital while making the film—explores the frustrations. How and why do they persist in saving lives in the face of thwarting regulations and paperwork? As one doctor states, “More people have died in this square footage than in any other location in the United States. On a brighter note, more people have been saved here too.” (78 mins.)

First feature.
2/19 6:00pm OMSI
2/21 7:00pm World Trade Center Theater

James Ward Byrkit

A group of friends and ex-lovers learn why you should not throw a dinner party the night a mysterious comet is passing close to Earth in this mind-bending science fiction thriller. The first glasses of wine have barely been poured when tensions start to rise. None of that matters, however, when the lights go off throughout the neighborhood, all except for one house a few blocks over, lit up like a beacon in the darkness. “Coherence is a cerebral low-budget sci-fi that dives headfirst into a pool of quantum mechanics and theoretical physics. It’s a tightly focused, intimately shot film that quickly ratchets up the tension and mystery. Coherence is relationship drama turned on its head, giving you plenty to think about without spoon-feeding you any answers.”—Fantastic Fest. (89 mins.)

Filmography: Stop at Nothing (01).
2/22 12:00am Cinema 21 (large theater)

John Maloof, Charlie Siskel

Street photographer Vivian Maier was a mystery even to those who knew her. A secretive nanny in the wealthy suburbs of Chicago, she died in 2009 and would have been forgotten. But Maloof, an amateur historian, uncovered thousands of her negatives at a storage locker auction and changed history. Now Maier is hailed alongside the likes of Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Weegee as a major artist. And that is just where the story begins. Finding Vivian Maier follows the filmmakers as they unearth Vivian’s story, combing through thousands of negatives and tracking down the families she worked for and others who remember her. The story that emerges goes beyond clichés of the undiscovered artist and a strange life to ask as many questions about ourselves as it does about her. (83 mins.)

First feature.
2/9 3:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/11 8:30pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by Pro Photo Supply and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine

Darwin meets Hitchcock in this gripping, stranger-than-fiction murder-mystery. In 1929, Berlin physician Friedrich Ritter and his lover Dore Strauch left Germany for the deserted Galapagos island of Floreana. Inspired by Nietzsche, Ritter intended to escape “monster” civilization and write in solitude. But soon the couple was discovered by the international press, who trumpeted them as “the Adam and Eve of the Galapagos.” Others flocked to the island—first, the Wittmer family, who fancied themselves as “the Swiss Family Robinsons of the Galapagos,” followed by an Austrian baroness with two lovers and plans for opening a luxury hotel. Then, two inhabitants were found murdered, and paradise became just another hell on earth. Rare archival footage, voice performances by Cate Blanchett and Diane Kruger, and modern-day interviews spin a tale of idealistic dreams gone awry. (126 mins.)

Filmography: Isadora Duncan: Movement from the Soul (89), Kids of Survival (96), Ballets Russes (05).
2/8 3:30pm World Trade Center Theater
2/13 8:30pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Doug Pray

Levitated Mass chronicles the journey of a 340-ton granite boulder that was moved from a quarry in Riverside to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and mounted upon the walls of a 456-foot-long concrete slot. First attempted in 1968, the 2012 permanent installation “Levitated Mass” is the latest land sculpture by one of America’s most misunderstood and exciting artists, Michael Heizer. His rock’s 105-mile transport captured international media attention and challenged the imagination of thousands of southern Californians over 10 nights as it crawled through four counties on a football-field-long transport. As fascinating is the dramatic story of Heizer’s past and present work, the ambitions of a major metropolitan museum, and the public’s reaction to this massive display of modern (yet ancient-feeling) conceptual art. (88 mins.)

Filmography: Hype! (96), Scratch (01), Infamy (05), Surfwise (07), Art & Copy (09).
2/17 2:30pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/18 6:00pm Fox Tower

Mark Levinson

Physicists from all over the world in search of the theoretical Higgs particle collaborated on the planning and construction of the 18-mile-long Cern Large Hadron Collider. Situated in an underground complex near the Franco-Swiss border, it’s allegedly the biggest, most expensive scientific experiment ever made. The idea was to recreate conditions immediately after the Big Bang, allowing a closer understanding of the origin of matter. Physicist-turned-filmmaker Mark Levinson was there with his cameras when the collider went online, and he found a way of approaching the experiment as an epic adventure story, involving multiple setbacks, mysteries, and—according to hysterical press accounts—the possible end of the world as we know it. Fortunately, one doesn’t need a PhD in particle physics to keep up with a documentary as thrilling as any fiction. (97 mins.)

Filmography: Prisoner of Time (93).
2/8 6:00pm World Trade Center Theater
2/10 6:00pm OMSI

Zack Parker

“As a pregnant Esther (Alexia Rasmussen) walks home, she is viciously attacked by a hooded assailant. In the wake of this traumatic event, she finds some consolation and normalcy in the kindly Melanie (Alexa Havins), whom she meets at a support group. But a chance encounter makes it clear that nothing—and no one—in Esther’s life is as it appears. Setting off a chain reaction of increasingly shocking revelations, Proxy twists and turns its way through loss, grief, and death. The surprise standout is auteur Joe Swanberg in a supporting role as Melanie’s husband. Be warned: Proxy begins with some deeply disturbing content, but this immensely challenging thriller will reward audiences who stick with it as it delves into very dark territory and confronts our every assumption and belief about what we have seen.”—Toronto International Film Festival. (120 mins.)

Filmography: Inexchange (06), Quench (07), Scalene (11).
2/21 12:00am Cinema 21 (large theater)

Jeff Reichert, Farihah Zaman

As the national debate over the future of healthcare continues on, this heartfelt film takes a step back from the politics to give an emotional, on-the-ground portrait of those who live every day without proper access to medical care. Unable to afford treatment, an estimated 45 million people in the US lack access to preventative care and often suffer through illnesses in the hopes that they’ll just go away. Remote Area Medical documents the annual two-day “pop-up” medical clinic operated by the nonprofit Remote Area Medical (RAM) in Bristol, Tennessee. During that time, doctors, nurses, and support workers provide care for hundreds of people who can’t afford routine medical checkups, dental exams, and prescription eyeglasses that most take for granted. A moving portrait of a one-of-a-kind community assembled to secure a better future for us all. (80 mins.)

Filmography: Reichert: Gerrymandering (10).
2/7 8:30pm World Trade Center Theater
2/9 3:00pm World Trade Center Theater
Sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Ti West

A shocking tale of devotion gone horribly wrong, The Sacrament offers a disturbing vision of the power of groupthink. Patrick is a photographer whose once drug-addicted sister Caroline is a member of an isolated sober-living community in Mississippi. Patrick discovers that the program is closer to a communal-living collective and that there is a strange and charismatic leader of the group, known only as “Father.” When his sister leaves the country to start a new utopian society in the jungle, he enlists two co-workers to shoot a documentary on their whereabouts. Based on detailed research of the infamous Jonestown massacre, The Sacrament provides a terrifying examination of modern religion, charismatic influence, and the exploitation of power as West explores the horrific idea of a man who can talk people into killing themselves. (95 mins.)

Filmography: The Roost (05), Trigger Man (07), The House of the Devil (09), The Innkeepers (11).
2/8 12:00am Cinema 21 (large theater)

Matt Wolf

Who was the first teenager? Based on punk-historian Jon Savage’s book Teenage: The Creation of Youth, Wolf’s compelling collage of archival images, Super-8mm recreations, and the actual diaries of mid-century teens, all set to an alluring post-punk contemporary soundtrack, is an entertaining look at the birth of the iconic, eternally cool figure of the teenager. Though the seeds of youth culture were planted even before the hipsters of the 1920s, the word and concept of “teenager” was a post-World War II invention. Before then, childhood and adulthood were two completely discrete phases with nothing in between. Wolf’s historical survey finds that the urge to escape adult oppression, fashion personal identity, and influence the culture is universal—and eternally inspirational. “Pop cultural historiography of the most style-conscious and captivating kind.”—Indiewire. (78 mins.)

Filmography: Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell (08).
2/7 6:00pm Fox Tower
2/10 6:00pm Cinemagic
Sponsored by the Hotel Modera.


In 2001, in his book Secret Knowledge, artist David Hockney argued that some classical painters—Johannes Vermeer (“Girl with the Pearl Earring”) especially—had used camera optics in making their great paintings. There was controversy. Was this cheating? Why shouldn’t an artist do whatever he can think of? answered Hockney. But Tim Jenison, a Texas software inventor, considered how he might use 17th-century technology to achieve Vermeer’s photographic look. When his first experiment seemed to work, he thought, “Why not paint my own Vermeer?” Spanning eight years, Jenison’s riveting mystery-adventure takes him to Delft, where Vermeer painted his masterpieces, on a pilgrimage to the north coast of Yorkshire to visit Hockney, and even to Buckingham Palace. Narrated by the ever-ebullient Penn and directed by the silent Teller, both longtime friends of Jenison’s, Tim’s Vermeer is a bouncy, entertaining, real-life detective story. (80 mins.)

First feature.
2/14 6:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
2/18 8:30pm OMSI

Godfrey Reggio

Thirty years after their groundbreaking Koyaanisqatsi (Qatsi trilogy), director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass have joined forces with associate director Jon Kane to create a cinematic time capsule for the 21st century. If the Qatsi trilogy reflected on ideas of balance, transformation, and war, Visitors asks a very different question: who and what is a visitor when we look around ourselves on this planet? Using this idea as a metaphysical departure for his visual reverie, Reggio takes us on a unique voyage into the mysteries and wonders of the universe. Shot in dazzling black and white, Reggio’s visual genius opens us to the magic of experience as it calls upon its audiences to find their own meaning. Through the mind-altering imagery and Glass’s hypnotic soundscapes, Visitors, more akin to music than narrative storytelling, provides a dazzling, wordless ode to modern life. (87 mins.)

Filmography: Koyaanisqatsi (82), Powaqqatsi (88), Naqoyqatsi (02).
2/10 8:30pm OMSI
2/15 6:00pm Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by Steven Smith Teamaker.

Chuck Workman

Chuck Workman is best known for creating unforgettable Oscar montage sequences. In What is Cinema?, he shares his understanding and love of avant-garde cinematic language by creating a visual essay out of clips from films that have pushed the boundaries of the art form. Woven among them are new and archival interviews with a pantheon of personal filmmakers that provide food for thought on where cinema might be headed. Workman’s interview subjects include the likes of Mike Leigh, Jonas Mekas, Yvonne Rainer, David Lynch, video artist Bill Viola, Kelly Reichardt, Costa-Gavras, Ken Jacobs, and Michael Moore, who consider key artists from Chantal Akerman to Andy Warhol, along with vintage interviews with Robert Bresson, Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, and many others. (80 mins.)

Filmography: Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (90), Jonas Mekas and the (Mostly) American Avant-Garde Cinema (09), Visionaries (10).
2/8 1:00pm World Trade Center Theater
2/14 8:30pm World Trade Center Theater
Sponsored by the Portland State University English Department and the NWFC School of Film.

Ryan Gallagher

Ryan is the Editor-In-Chief / Founder of, and the host / co-founder / producer of the various podcasts here on the site. You can find his website at, follow him on Twitter (@RyanGallagher), or send him an email: [email protected].

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