Festival Programming Highlights #2: ATTENBERG and THE PATRON SAINTS

Each day leading up to the festival, director of programming Eric Hatch is highlighting a pair of titles in our line-up for your consideration.

Ariane Labed and Evangelia Randou star in ATTENBERG.

ATTENBERG – One of the biggest surprise hits in MFF history was 2010’s Greek dark comedy DOGTOOTH, which went on to an Academy Award nomination for best foreign picture and had one of its best theatrical runs in the country right here in Baltimore. Much of that team (including DOGTOOTH director Yorgos Lanthimos, who co-stars here) is back for Athina Rachel Tsangari’s ATTENBERG, an appropriately offbeat drama about a woman with a lot of distance between herself and “normal” social behavior. As she sits with her dying father, trading philosophies and plotting to fulfill his dying wish, she begins to reconsider the ways she’s approached friendship and romance. Citing inspirations as quirky as Monty Python and nature documentaries, we think we detect some notes of early Fassbinder here as well.

THE PATRON SAINTS gives us a poignant look into the daily lives of residents of a home for the aged and disabled.

THE PATRON SAINTS – This one won’t be for everyone, but many of you will absolutely love it; it’s unquestionably among the very best and most provocative two or three films I saw at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in 2011—and I watched 30 movies there, so that’s saying something. A documentary that looks at residents of a nursing home—most, but not all, elderly—the film becomes an essay of sorts on the human mind, and the strange, wonderful, horrible things that it produces when it’s in an unfettered and compromised state. It’s a sad and unnerving film at moments, humorous at others, but with a very compassionate tone running underneath it all from start to finish. The directing duo behind this film have had a busy year, and will also be presenting FRANCINE, their brand new Melissa Leo-starring drama, for a single screening within MFF 2012.

– Eric Hatch, Director of Programming

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