For today’s programming picks, I wanted to highlight three exceptional titles that are only screening once during MFF 2012. If you’re intrigued by these films, be sure to flag their single screenings as must-sees on your schedule!
THE BLACK BALLOON
If I could sit and watch one program during the festival (instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off), it would probably be this one. This comedic and touching journey of a balloon through present-day New York City comes to us courtesy of the inimitable Safdie brothers (of MFF 2010’s DADDY LONGLEGS). The Safdies have paired their latest short with classic titles The Red Balloon, The Balloonatic, and The Pincushion Man (aka Balloon Land) for a charming feature-length program of balloon-themed shorts. This is something really different, and I’m so glad it came together. THE BLACK BALLOON plays Sunday 5/6 at 4:30pm at the Charles Theater.
A paralyzed Bogota man, upset that his government benefits aren’t forthcoming, methodically plots a drastic action. Amazingly, not only is this dramatic film based on a true story, but also the real-life protagonist plays himself (as do many of his friends and relatives). I don’t like throwing around the phrase “brave performance” lightly, but this one more than qualifies. This film, alongside Yorgos Lanthimos-starring ATTENBERG, deserves a DOGTOOTH alert, as that film’s cinematographer also shot this one. I’d also recommend it to anyone who responded to past MFF international titles as different as Argentina’s LIVERPOOL and Thailand’s MUNDANE HISTORY, films that manage to be quiet, patient, subversive, and beautiful all at once. PORFIRIO plays Saturday 5/5 at 5:00pm.
OSLO, AUGUST 31st
I loved REPRISE, the debut film by Joachim Trier, a barbed drama about a pair of aspiring authors harboring misogynistic hang-ups. Based upon the same novel as Louis Malle’s classic THE FIRE WITHIN, OSLO follows a recovering addict on his first day-leave from a rehab facility. Astonishing lead Anders Danielsen Lie’s deeply expressive face fills the screen with feeling, equal parts bemused and pained by the new ways family and old friends react to him. Nelson Kim sums it up beautifully for ace film blog Hammer to Nail: “Though the film is all about disappointment and failure, as a work of art, it’s a triumphant success. Trier has the rare gift of creating cinematic scenes and sequences that are like perfectly achieved pop songs; certain passages in OSLO…are condensations of style and story and emotion that linger in your consciousness like rooms you’ve lived in and people you once loved.” OSLO, AUGUST 31st plays Saturday 5/5 at 10:00pm at the Charles Theater.
– Eric Hatch, Director of Programming