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October 28, 2008

Denver International Film Festival 2008 - The Line Up

starz film center.jpg

The complete list for the Denver International Film Festival has released. I anticipated some of the films that would be included. I am hoping some of the people who check this site out will write to me quickly about any films I should make a point of seeing, especially those without any US distribution deals. As it stands, I will be seeing a few more films this year because I am taking time off from work. Also I am to be getting a few more screeners than last year.

I do have to admit a certain disappointment with the schedule this year. The annual Aurora, Colorado Asian Film Festival has been discontinued. I was hoping that the DIFF schedule would make up for that absence. The Thai martial arts film Chocolate and Nami Iguchi's Sex is No Laughing Matter are the only features. There is also the three part Tokyo! consisting of shorts by Leon Carax, Michel Gondry and Bong Joon-ho. Films I would have liked to have seen would include The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela, Wonderful Town, Ashes of Time Redux, and Sparrow. A tribute film to Kon Ichikawa would have been a nice touch.

Speaking of tributes, three films to remember Paul Newman? I won't argue about The Hustler, and I haven't seen Nobody's Fool. Admittedly I am in a minority as I don't love Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Had someone asked me though, I would have screened a more original "buddy" film, Paris Blues with Newman and Sidney Poitier as ex-pat jazz musicians, and WUSA because of its topicality regarding right-wing radio.

I will be covering some of the work by Colorado filmmakers, including a series of experimental films. Stan Brakhage use to be a regular at the festival, showing his own work and introducing films by others. There will be a tribute to Carolee Schneeman at the Denver Art Museum that I will probably attend.

Also as one who loves documentaries about filmmakers, I am also considering No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos and Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story.

Several of the films will get theatrical as well as DVD release. My interest in James Gray's new film, Two Lovers has been piqued knowing now that the film was co-written by a friend from NYU, Ric Menello.

I will determine in the next couple of days what I will see at the festival. Feel free to make recommendations to me in the comments section.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 28, 2008 12:01 AM


I've seen or heard buzz on a number of films on the list. The only must-see I recommend is Time to Die (review on my site). Sita Sings the Blues is great fun. Children of Heaven is a revival, but if you haven't seen it, do so--it's wonderful.

I saw Must Read After My Death and Of Time and the City. I didn't review either documentary, the former because it was an interesting capsule of attitudes during the 1950s and early 60s, the latter because it was such a purely cinematic/visual film that I felt inadequate to do it justice. I'm not sure I liked Of Time as much as I admired it, but my friend Pat Graham (he writes for The Reader's blog) thought it was as good as any film he's seen at the festival in the past 2 years. He also loved Two Lovers. The hubby loved Terribly Happy, but I wasn't as thrilled with it.

Films that got buzz, sold-out screenings, and awards at this year's CIFF were They Killed Sister Dorothy (which I wish I'd seen), Gomorrah (everyone said it was good, but confusing), and Katyn (another I wish I'd seen).

Wendy and Lucy has been getting raves everywhere it's shown, but it will be released in December. Dear Zachary is a bit old now, but also got good reviews. The Garden was liked at CIFF.

I'd kill to see Guest of Cindy Sherman because I'm such a huge fan of hers. If you see it, report back so I can eat my heart out.

Posted by: Marilyn at October 29, 2008 11:14 AM

My recommendations would be Slingshot Hiphop, which just wowed audiences here in the Bay Area at the Arab Film Festival. Brush up on your Ramayana with Sita Sings the Blues. And I envy you two films that just don't seem like they're going to make a Bay Area Appearance: The Desert Within and the Castle doc. Looking forward to your coverage!

Posted by: Maya at October 29, 2008 01:33 PM

I wholeheartedly recommend Sita Sings the Blues.

Posted by: wisekwai at November 1, 2008 02:44 AM

I like BE LIKE OTHERS (2008, Tanaz Eshagian) very much. Aesthetically, this documentary may be not interesting, but the film leaves a long-lasting effect on my emotions. I can’t forget the suffering of some interviewees in this film.

If I were to attend the Denver Film Festival, I would choose to see SHALL WE KISS (2008, Emmanuel Mouret) and TRICKS (2007, Andrzej Jakimowski), because I love the previous films of these two directors—CHANGE OF ADDRESS (2006, Mouret) and SQUINT YOUR EYES (2002, Jakimowski).

Posted by: celinejulie at November 3, 2008 07:58 AM