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October 10, 2017

Denver Film Festival - The Line-up


Are film festivals archaic? In the forty years since the first Denver Film Festival, movie going and movie making has changed. Back in 1977, home video was still relatively new, pre-recorded tapes of the handful of films available were expensive, and if you wanted to see film of some importance, it was seen in a theatrical run, or if you lived in a major city, at a film festival. We're now at a point when something called a film or movie is more often than not a series of digital images, rather than celluloid, and there is less reason to leave the house when classics, foreign language films, and mainstream Hollywood product are available through internet connected devices. And yet, there is still the allure of seeing that buzzed about title before everyone else, or making a "discovery" of some work that cherished, while generally ignored by the crowds and the critics. For myself, it's nice to get a note of thanks from an independent filmmaker who wants to give you credit for helping his film make the transition from festival favorite to a DVD sale.

The big titles at this year's Denver Film Festival include all three "People's Choice" films from Toronto, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Molly's Game and I, Tonya. The festival kicks off with Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird.

Several entries for the foreign language film Oscar will be presented, including Fatih Akin's In the Fade and Joachim Trier's Thelma, among the filmmakers I like to keep current with. I'm also hoping to catch new films by Sally Potter (The Party), and Naomi Kawase (Radiance).

Danish Cinema is also to be featured, with films by newer filmmakers who haven't yet moved over to English language productions, unlike what seems like every Dogme 95 member. For reasons unknown to me, the most famous (infamous?) living Danish filmmaker, Lars Von Trier, is included, represented by his English language Breaking the Waves. I would have programmed the Danish language The Five Obstructions because the film features Von Trier and his mentor, Jorgen Leth. This year marks Leth's 80th birthday, as well as the fifties anniversary of Leth's short, "The Perfect Human", which Leth remade with Von Trier's impossible conditions. Plus, The Five Obstructions is deliberately quite funny.

While some films that have been on the film festival circuit aren't included, there are enough films that I want to see as part of the festival, with the knowledge that several others that aren't included here will be likely be seen in their home video versions soon enough. The full list is here. What I cover, as in years past, will just be a select group from the 200 or so titles available.


Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 10, 2017 06:47 PM