Portland International Film Festival 2010 : 02/12-02/14 Weekend Round-Up

This weekend is a big weekend for movie-going consumers in Portland. It’s the first weekend of the Portland International Film Festival, and it’s Valentine’s Day. Here are a few of our recommended picks! About Elly An Iranian drama that explores what happens when a group on a weekend getaway realize that one of their travelers has gone missing. The most powerful moments in this film lie in the clash between traditional values and modernity, and the film provides a detailed look at gender roles and husband-wife relations in Iran. SHOWTIMES Sat, Feb. 13 @ 3:15pm (B3) Sun, Feb. 14 @ 1:45pm (B4) Sun, Feb. 14 @ 7:00pm (B4) Cooking History Czech filmmaker Péter Kerekes takes sneak peeks into the lives

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Portland International Film Festival 2010: Opening Night – I Am Love

Tomorrow night is the kick-off party and film for the Portland International Film Festival. For just $25 (or $20 if you’re a PAM member or Silver Screen Friend), you can socialize with Portland’s film elite and see Tilda Swinton star in the film, I Am Love (Io sono l’amore in Italian). The film follows a wealthy industrial family, the Recchis, as they celebrate the birthday of the grandfather of the household. Set against beautiful backdrops glowing with opulence and affulence, Italian director Luca Guadagnino explores a wide range of emotion — and what it is to listen to one’s heart against odds. Head on over to the PIFF website to pick up your passes for the event now. It’s tomorrow.

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Launderette Short Film Review (2010)

Launderette is a short film that takes place in a laundromat — a place that can feel stale and depressing, yet always seems to capture a strange charm when viewed through a lens. UK director Bertie Telezynski‘s short film, with cinematography by Alex Nevill, is a personal look at the lives of those who visit the laundromat. By asking laundromat patrons personal questions that skip past inane “small talk” and delve directly into the innermost thoughts of strangers, Launderette manages to capture opinions about beautiful things and memorable childhoods. Many of these questions are fraught with discomfort due to their personal nature, and it’s remarkable that the strangers generally complied with answering. One can’t help but respect the filmmakers for

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Skhizein (2008) Animated Short Film

Just wanted to share with you this really amazing animated short about a man who is struck by a meteorite and then forced to live “91 centimeters away from himself.” Before I watched it, I had no idea what that tagline could possibly mean, but now it makes sense, and it’s one of the best animated pieces of work I’ve seen in a while… because of both the animation and the concept. The DVD also just came out in October 2009, so head on over to http://www.muiye.com/skhizein/SKHIZEIN.html to see how you can attain a copy!

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Life Of Charlie (2008) Film Review

The result of of ten film students from Ontario, Canada, Life Of Charlie is a strangely charming low-budget flick. Perhaps what is most appealing about the film is how much it captures the spirit of young adults in this day and age, when it seems like many 20-somethings are discontent, wondering where they are headed in life and how they are getting there. Life Of Charlie starts off detailing moments in small town life where everyone seems to know everyone else. From horse races to ramshackle house parties, the filmmakers truly give the audience a taste of a lifestyle where no one seems to have any real aspirations beyond surviving the day-to-day and having fun. The main character, Charlie, is

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People Who Do Noise (2009) Documentary Film Review

Noise: a genre that is difficult for the average person to appreciate. However, when one sees its creation firsthand or creates it oneself, noise becomes a type of musical art that takes on its own appeal and meaning. In People Who Do Noise, noise becomes associated with faces, through interviews with dozens of Portland noise musicians. The documentary gives viewers who might be unfamiliar with the controversial genre a deeper look. At its basest, noise is a genre that comes about through the manipulation of various instruments — often homemade — with sounds that range from dirty squeals and ambient drones to robotic pulses, and everything in-between. It can be carefully controlled, or it can be a form that takes

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Captain Abu Raed (2007) Film Review

Set in contemporary Jordan, Captain Abu Raed is a tale of friendship spreading generations. When Abu Raed, an airport janitor, finds a discarded pilot’s hat in the trash, he wears it and is soon spotted by a neighborhood boy who’s convinced Abu Raed is a pilot. Although reluctant at first, Abu Raed soon finds himself playing along with the neighborhood children in this fantasy, regaling them with stories from his “travels.” Soon, the children meet with Abu Raed on a daily basis to hear his stories.   One day, however, it is revealed by one of the boys, Murad, that Abu Raed is in fact a janitor and not a pilot. One might think that the tale begins and ends

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Dead Snow (2009) Film Review

Directed by Tommy Wirkola If you like zombie movies, read only the bolded parts of this review. Dead Snow is a smart, funny, and overall impressive addition to the campy Zomedy subgenre. It doesn’t deviate from the formula, and throws hundreds and hundreds of zombies at our heroes, who range from valiant to imbecilic. All the classic zombie tropes can be found here, from grunting growling zombie communication, the continued movement of dismembered undead limbs, and gruesome disemboweling/dismemberments. Four medical students travel to the mountains to vacation. While out there, they run into an old man who tells them the tale of Nazis, and their cruel actions against the local people. The local people rebelled, driving the Nazi zombies along

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In Your Absence / En Tu Ausencia (2008) Film Review

Directed by Ivan Noel In Your Absence, or En Tu Ausencia, is a surprising first-time effort by director Iván Noel that emanates beauty in more ways than one. Set in a pristine stretch of Spanish countryside, In Your Absence is filmed amidst a breath-taking setting full of enveloping blue skies, abundant sunflowers, flowering fields, and rolling hills. The film’s backdrop defines “summer” in its absolute perfection, and the pairing of fine-tuned imagery and diverse, mood-setting music makes the film both an aural and visual delight. Young actor Gonzalo Sánchez Salas fills a heavy role with ease. He plays an emotionally-enclosed 13-year-old named Pablo whose father has recently passed away. Naive and vulnerable, Pablo has become a bit of an outsider

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We Live In Public (2009) Documentary Film Review

An artist’s dream is that work he/she leaves behind will outlast their lifetime — that he/she will make a permanent mark on the annals of human history. Ultimately, the result is much more important than the person behind it, but in many cases, the artist becomes larger than the art itself, obscuring their legacy and leaving them forgotten, lost in a wind of ego and fame. Ondi Timoner’s documentary, We Live In Public, is, ostensibly, about Josh Harris, the tragic and misunderstood dot-com multi-millionaire with an uncanny eye for the future. His ideas about technology, the flow of information, and the basic human need for exposure made him millions of dollars at the dawn of the World Wide Web. But

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The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle (2009) Film Review

About a year ago, I was working for a start-up in an old building in Seattle’s SoDo District. It was complete with rickity floorboards and unusual decorations crafted from salvaged parts. The overwhelming scent could’ve been described as “dusty.” The upstairs housed uniquely-decorated office spaces, and the downstairs had a large, spacious room with no functional use. It was being fitted to house a club and a bar (and has since been successfully deemed Club Motor). Imagine our curiosity and surprise, then, when it was announced to us that a film crew would be shooting a feature-length movie in our building. We had no idea what to expect, but peering into a set revealed a strange-looking set with a lot

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School Days With A Pig (2008) Film Review

School Days With A Pig is a film that begins initially with a delightfully cute premise yet veers into the territory of issues such as morality and death. Teacher Mr. Hoshi, played by Satoshi Tsumabuki, introduces to his class of sixth graders a young pig, and then asks them if they would be interested in raising the pig for their school term and then eating it afterwards. The children emphatically agree, living only in the present and considering little about the potential end result. The director, Tetsu Maeda, weaves the audience through the lives of the children, who take care of the pig from when it is still a piglet to when it is larger than they are. Slight scuffles

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