Posts Tagged 'foreign'

“MFF 2009’s Foreign Films: A Cheat Sheet” by MFF programmer Eric Allen Hatch

This is your last weekend to plan ahead for MFF 2009, and, as you may’ve already heard, we’ve made a major increase in our foreign-film offerings this year! To help you travel the world through film, here’s a quick primer in the world cinema in our 2009 line-up. Follow the links to see more information, showtimes, and tickets.

Agnès Varda’s Beaches of Agnès (France): the latest work from the legendary “Mother of the French New Wave,” a playful documentary looking back on her work — and life and times with Jacques Demy, Jane Birkin, Jean-Luc Godard, Harrison Ford, Robert DeNiro, Alexander Calder, Gerard Depardieu, and others!
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=227

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (US/Japan): A documentary looking at the fascinating world of Japanese insect collectors, and the rich history Japan has of appreciating these tiniest of creatures. Director Jessica Oreck will be in attendance!
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=202

Blind Loves (Slovakia): A “hybrid” documentary made in close collaboration with its subjects, blind couples in love — capturing not just their reality, but also their histories, hopes, and dreams through reenactments, animated adventure sequences, and more!
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=170

Daytime Drinking (South Korea): An uproarious, hip comedy about a just-dumped twentysomething who tries to escape his problems by vacationing at a resort during the off-season, only to encounter a new, alcohol-soaked set of problems.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=165

Eat, For This Is My Body (Haiti/France): Eye-popping experimental work shot in Haiti, with surreal nods to such world-cinema masters as Claire Denis, Luis Bunuel, and Marco Ferreri.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=168

Five Miles Out (UK): A sumptuous, artful short from Andrew Haigh, whose feature Greek Pete (see below) is also showing within MFF ’09.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=178

Funny Bones (US/UK): Jerry Lewis and Oliver Platt star in this vaudeville-themed 1995 film, selected by guest-host Laura Lippman.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=219

Garbage Dreams (US/Egypt): This documentary looks at Cairo-based Zaballeen teenagers, whose people for generations have made their living collecting the city’s garbage, using recycyling measures that put Western countries to shame. But now their way of life is threatened by multinational corporations. Director Mai Iskander will be in attendance!
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=207

Greek Pete (UK): This fictional, often graphic film draws on the actual life experiences of its cast, men who work within and around the world of London-based gay escorts, or “rentboys.” Director Andrew Haigh will be in attendance!
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=195

Hobby (Spain/Japan): This featurette documentary follows a Spanish video-game enthusiast as he takes a pilgrimage to Japan, dipping into the history of Nintendo in the process.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=177

It was great, but I was ready to come home. (US/Costa Rica): Two young American women travel together in Costa Rica, sharing new experiences as they deal with romantic regrets. Director/star Kris Swanberg will be in attendance!
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=187

Lake Tahoe (Mexico): A deadpan comedy in the tradition of Jim Jarmusch about a young Mexican man who crashes his car on the outskirts of town, encountering a colorful cast of oddballs who want to do everything except help him fix his car.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=196

Love Songs (France): John Waters’ 2009 pick, a (bi-)sexually charged musical romp from internationally acclaimed director Christophe Honoré and stars Chiara Mastroianni, Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Clotilde Hesme. Did we mention it’s hosted by John Waters?
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=214

Man With a Movie Camera (USSR): This hypnotic 1929 classic still wows audiences 80 years later with its amazing cinematography and editing. Presented with live original music from Alloy Orchestra!
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=221

Munyurangabo (Rwanda): Beautifully shot, this poetic drama looks head-on at the legacy of the Rwandan genocide. Director Lee Isaac Chung will be in attendance!
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=167

Nollywood Babylon (Nigeria/Canadian): From the directors of Bombay Calling comes this documentary about the world’s third-largest film industry, Nigeria’s high-octane, straight-to-disc “Nollywood” scene. Directors Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal will be in attendance!

http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=169

Not Quite Hollywood (Australia): A look back at the decidely un-PC world of “Ozploitation” — ”70s and ’80s Australian cult films that brought the world not just Mad Max, but hundreds of over-the top action, sci-fi, comedy, and exploitation films.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=173

The Paranoids (Argentina): Buenos Aires comes to vibrant life in this indie dark comedy from Argentina about a paranoid young man who suspects his childhood friend has stolen his life story and turned it into a hit sitcom abroad.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=211

Seventh Moon (US/China): From Blair Witch Project’s Eduardo Sánchez comes this riveting ghost story shot in China. Director Eduardo Sánchez will be in attendance!
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=191

Somers Town (UK): The new film from Shane Meadows, director of the art-house hit This Is England. This much-gentler film tells the story of two young outcasts who find friendship and mischief on the streets of London — channeling the lighter side of Truffaut”s Jules and Jim in the process.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=197

Treeless Mountain (South Korea): One of the best-reviewed films of 2009, this drama shows us the world through the eyes of children — specifically, two young sisters who have been passed from irresponsible adult to adult, learning in the process to fend for themselves and create their own imaginative reality.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=166

Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love (US/Senegal): A documentary following the titular international pop star as he releases a controversial new album dealing with his Islamic faith.
http://www.md-filmfest.com/films.cfm?id=172

Advance tickets are recommended for all MFF ’09 titles, foreign or otherwise.

It’s a New Record!

Well, it’s 9pm, and I’ve spent the last 12 hours writing and uploading to our site short descriptions for most of our 2009 line-up — nearly 40 features and 11 shorts programs you can start reading about a full month before MFF’s 2009 Opening Night (which is, in case it’s not engraved in your brain yet, Thursday, May 7). Of the three festivals I’ve worked for MFF now, this is by far the earliest we’ve gotten this much done this far out before the festival — and maybe the earliest this much has been done… well, ever. Obviously, there’s a lot yet to do, but we’re proud to be able to already offer basic information about most of our films — with some exciting announcements still to come.

This line-up is the result of 100s of hours of viewing, evaluating, and discussing, pursuing and being pursued, making very tough choices in the service of a diverse, well-rounded line-up that really does offer “Film For Everyone.” As mentioned in my last entry, there are plenty of foreign films in our line-up: off the top of my head, we have films shot in Mexico, Rwanda, Australia, Haiti, South Korea, Senegal, Costa Rica, Japan, Egypt, Argentina, Slovakia, Spain, Nigeria, France, China, the UK — even the United States! We have documentaries about bug collectors, ’70s exploitation films, African pop stars, urban gardens, strongmen, teenage go-kart champions, visionary artists, imaginary countries, and invisible girlfriends! We have horror, drama, comedy, art cinema, underground film, even a sci-fi/western/musical! We have… well, you get the drift: we have variety.

Please read, enjoy, and keep checking back. We’ll be updating the titles already announced with more detailed information, images, reviews, links, etc. And still to come are announcements of our Opening and Closing Night presentations, and other annual traditions: a vintage 3-D film, a silent film with live accompaniment, multiple Guest Hosts, and, of course, John Waters’ pick!

And now for some sleep…

Eric Hatch, programming administrator, MFF

Foreign Films at MFF 2009

You’ve asked for it, you’ve got it: When MFF goes public with its line-up in early April, you’ll see 10 or more foreign features included!

MFF has always prided itself on bringing a filmmaker host for each feature film it screens — a director, writer, star, cinematographer, editor, or producer attending every screening, introducing their film and fielding your questions.

This year, we decided to do things a little differently. Every domestic feature we screen will still have a filmmaker host, and some of the foreign films will have filmmakers present, but we’re not going to pass on an exceptional foreign film just because the filmmaker can’t attend.

Why the change? We’re laying a foundation for future years. By devoting a significant portion of our line-up this year to foreign films regardless of whether or not the filmmaker can attend, we’re setting a goal for the near future, envisioning an MFF with the audience, budget, and international reputation needed to bring in filmmakers for every single feature we screen — even if the director lives and works in Senegal, Switzerland, or South Korea.

We’re not ready to announce titles for MFF 2009 quite yet, but I can say that this year’s line-up will be MFF’s most diverse thus far, connecting audiences with the visions of artists from all over the world (rest assured that when we say foreign films, we don’t just mean European films!).

Since cutting-edge international cinema is one of my passions, I couldn’t be more excited to see MFF heading in this direction. If, like me, you’re a foreign-film addict, please vote with your attendance! With your help, we can make MFF a destination festival for the audiences, critics, distributors, and, of course, the filmmakers who keep international film culture alive!

–Eric Hatch, Programming Administrator, MFF