Programmers’ Picks are back and we’re kicking off with Senior & Fiction Feature Film Programmer David Knipe. We’ll be sharing all four of our Programmers’ Picks so stay tuned and make sure to add these to your list!
Diane features quite possibly the finest performance in an American film in recent memory. Mary Kay Place breathes the deepest life into film critic Kent Jones’ script, which has a deft eye and ear for the little moments that make up a life and how precarious our relationships, sense of self, and ultimately, our existence really is. It is a film both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Buy your tickets here!
I’ve always been drawn to coming of age films that don’t pander to the audience or patronize their young subjects. Nervous Translation, while full of fantasy and whimsy, feels like it evolved out of filmmaker Shireen Seno’s deeply felt experience growing up. It can be difficult to translate those childhood experiences on screen, with decades of time and experiences in between, and not lose their essential strangeness and beauty. Seno manages to do just that.
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What is the artist’s responsibility to interrogate their own life- the very impetus for creating? Joanna Hogg’s very-thinly-veiled autobiographical masterwork employs her familiar visual and narrative framing, keeping her subjects at bay, eschewing close-ups to maintain an air of mystery about the proceedings. But ironically, it also feels painfully intimate. The delicate and thoughtful balance Hogg develops between performance and mise en scéne will have you enthralled and wanting more. Luckily there’s already a sequel in the works! Buy your tickets here!
It’s always exciting when a new voice in cinema – Canadian cinema no less – arrives on the scene and announces itself fresh and fully-formed. This is the case with Firecrackers’ Jasmin Mozaffari, here gifting us with her very accomplished first feature film. Burst out of the gates like a pissed-off racehorse, the film comes out guns a-blazing. This is a film with a viewpoint, with something to say, and it’s not afraid to shout it in your face. I can’t wait to see what Jasmin does next. Buy your tickets here!
I’m pretty certain I forgot to breathe while I was watching Sunset. Above and beyond the narrative, which contains many mysterious twists and turns, it is the filmmaking itself that is so darned exhilarating. Alfred Hitchcock was fond of the notion of “pure cinema”, whereby he sought to reduce reliance on the written word and utilize the technical tools of the medium to their fullest potential. Immediately following director László Nemes’ first-person exercise in empathetic identification, Sunset fulfills the pure cinema dictum and fully immerses the viewer in the psychology of its main character. The filmmaking on display here is total bravura. Buy your tickets here!
How rare is it to have a film bubble up to the surface that feels like the product of its two co-directors sitting at home stoned out of their minds, scrolling endlessly through the ideological wasteland of Instagram and riffing on outrageous plot points in a duel to one-up each other that actually holds together as an engaging, intelligent and fun film experience? I have a feeling Diamantino will be one of the most talked-about films of the festival and I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks about it. Buy your tickets here!