Portland International Film Festival 2012: Festival Preview Guide, Part One

Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is upon us again, and we have whittled down their list of 100+ international shorts and full-length films to pick what we have determined to be the best and most interesting of the bunch.

Portland International Film Festival 2012 runs from February 9th through the 25th, with more than one screening for most movies (exceptions generally being shorts and midnight film series).

This particular list below focuses on some opening week films that are really worth watching!

Those interested in documentaries can see a list of documentaries we recommend for PIFF 2012 or see here for all PIFF coverage.

ABU, SON OF ADAM
India

Directed by Salim Ahmed
Struggling to meet the financial needs for his much-desired life-long journey to Mecca, a religious man must decide how to make his important religious pilgrimage happen without sacrificing his own dignity or steering away his own moral compass.
02/12 – 3:00pm – Cinemagic
02/14 – 8:45pm – Lloyd Mall 6
02/16 – 8:45pm – Pioneer Place 5

ALMANYA — WELCOME TO GERMANY
Germany

Directed by Yasemin Samdereli
A cultural comedy about the history of Turkish immigrants in Germany, Almanya flows back and forth between Turkish and German customs and language while remaining highly respectful to both cultures. It treads equally in laugh-out-loud and tear-jerking territory that is suitable for all ages and interests. Winner the Audience Award at Chicago Film Festival.
02/10 – 6:00pm – Whitsell Auditorium
02/11 – 3:15pm – Lloyd Mall 6
02/12 – 8:00pm – Lake Twin Cinema

AMADOR
Spain

Directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa
In this dark comedy, a pregnant Bolivian immigrant who has just moved to Spain becomes a caretaker for an elderly man; when he suddenly passes away, she must decide how to cover up his death to keep her financial stability.
02/10 – 8:30pm – Twin Lake Cinema
02/12 – 5:00pm – Lloyd Mall 6
02/14 – 8:45pm – Lloyd Mall 5

BREATHING
Austria

Directed by Karl Markovics
A jailed teenager finds a renewed sense of purpose after parole officer gives him a new job and new responsibilities. A film lauded for its day-to-day quality and appropriately posited scenes and shots, Breathing is less mind-blowing than it is simply a solid tale of what happens when life exerts pressure on an individual.
02/10 – 6:15pm – Lloyd Mall 6
02/12 – 8:00pm – Cinemagic
02/14 – 6:00pm – Twin Lake Cinema

CLOWN: THE MOVIE
Denmark

Directed by Mikkel Norgaard
Low-budget absurdist humor, about Frank and Casper, who are on a males-only retreat with an 11-year-old boy. Stupid and hilarious, in a raw and vile way, Clown: The Movie was a commercial success in Denmark.
02/16 – 8:45pm – Whitsell Auditorium
02/18 – 5:30pm – Lloyd Mall 6
02/20 – 8:00pm – Pioneer Place 5

THE FAIRY
France

Directed by Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Bruno Romy
A romantic comedy that has one foot in fantasy and the other in sunshine and rainbows. With physical comedy, dance routines, and implications of magic abound, The Fairy is a real-life cartoon set to a soundtrack of playful jazz!
02/10 – 8;45pm – Lloyd Mall 6
02/11 – 3:30pm – Lloyd Mall 5
02/14 – 8:30pm – Lake Twin Cinema

FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD
Albania

Directed by Joshua Marston
Where new and old cultural norms clash comes the dramatic tale of Forgiveness of Blood. An Ancient Balkan code of law forces Mark and his family into hiding, leaving his teenage children – much more interested in modern technologies, significant others, and their future – to decide whether they will adhere to age-old customs or find a new way to survive.
02/10 – 8:30pm – Cinemagic
02/12 – 5:0pm – Lloyd Mall 5

FOUND MEMORIES
Brazil

Directed by Julia Murat
Found Memories is a film that seems completely whimsical, portraying the tale of two women – one a widow and one a young photographer – who meet under ordinary circumstances and form a bond that feels just a touch magical and outside of normal space-time.
02/11 – 6:00pm – Lloyd Mall 6
02/13 – 8:45pm – Pioneer Place 5
02/16 – 8:45pm – Cinemagic

GOODBYE FIRST LOVE
France

Directed by Mia Hansen-Love
Falling in love for the first time marks its participants forever, whether for bad or for good. Goodbye First Love explores bittersweet nostalgic memories, and the personal growth that often comes from them.
02/12 – 2:00pm – Lloyd Mall 5
02/17 – 8:45pm – Cinema 21

HABEMUS PAPAM
Italy

Directed by Nanni Moretti
A totally absurd satire that poked fun at Catholic Church, by playing out what might happen should a successor to the papal throne change his mind at the last minute.
02/15 – 6:00pm – Lake Twin Cinema
02/17 – 6:00pm – Cinema 21

IDENTITY CARD
Czech Republic

Directed by Ondrej Trojan
A coming of age story, only it takes place in Czechoslavakia, in the early ‘70s. A tale about youth, Western influence, corrupt law officials, and clashing generations.
02/16 – 6:45pm – Lloyd Mall 5
02/18 – 5:30pm – Cinemagic

KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND
Norway

Directed by Marius Holst
In 1915, an isolated Norwegian reform school attempted to reform wayward teenagers through abuse and manual labor. King Of Devil’s Island tells the true story about one teenager who decided to stand up to authority and find his way out.
02/11 – 8:30pm – World Trade Center Theater
02/13 – 6:00pm – Whitsell Auditorium

MONSIEUR LAZHAR
Canada

Directed by Philipps Falardeau
A group of Montreal students are forced to cope with a teacher’s sudden suicide, and find comfort and sympathy in their replacement teacher, an Algerian refugee who is simultaneously trying to provide comfort and sympathy to his students while dealing with his own problems as one who has fleed his native land.
02/11 – 3:00pm – Lake Twin Cinema
02/13 – 6:15pm – Lloyd Mall 6
02/15 – 8:45pm – Pioneer Place 5

MR. TREE
China

Directed by Jie Han
Tales about urbanization in China are certainly nothing new, but taking a look at that historical phenomenon through the study of an individual character – and a particularly eccentric one, at that – creates a cultural comedy with a unique sense of humor that only the Chinese possess.
02/12 – 12:45pm – Cinemagic
02/14 – 6:15pm – Lloyd Mall 5
02/18 – 3:00pm – Cinema 21

TALES OF THE NIGHT
France

Directed by Michel Ocelot
An animated film for those with interests in mystery, lost civilizations, and diverse cultural backgrounds, Tales Of The Night (Les Contes De La Nuit) flies through ancient cultures from Asia, Africa, and South America like shadow puppet-driven patterned prose.
02/12 – 5:30pm – Whitsell Auditorium
02/15 – 6:15pm – Whitsell Auditorium
02/18 – 1:00pm – World Trade Center Theater

TARGET
Russia

Directed by Alexander Zeldovich
A future film, Target is a science fiction adventure written by novelist Vladimir Sorokin, and involves an age-reversal contraption, secret facilities, and cosmic side effects. According to the PIFF festival guide, Target is quite unlike anything you’ve seen before.”
02/10 – 6:30pm – Lloyd Mall 5
02/17 – 8:00pm – Lloyd Mall 6
02/19 – 7:45pm – Cinemagic

TURN ME ON, DAMMIT!
Norway

Directed by Jannicke Systad Jacobsen
A sex-obsessed fifteen-year-old girl must figure out how to manage the awkward sexual and social circumstances she unwittingly puts herself in.
02/12 – 8:00pm – Lloyd Mall 5
02/15 – 6:15pm – Cinemagic
02/19 – 12:00pm – Cinemagic

WHERE DO WE GO NOW?
Lebanon

Directed by Nadine Labaki
When Lebanon’s Christian and Muslim populations erupt in violent conflict, one small village navigates its way through the conflicts, thanks to a sneaky group of women who interfere in both dramatic and hilarious ways.
02/11 – 8:30pm – Whitsell Auditorium
02/13 – 6:00pm – Lake Twin Cinema

Film times and schedules are subject to change.
Please consult the PIFF website for up-to-date details.