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October 06, 2022

Denver Film Festival - The Line-Up

dff 45.jpg

The schedule for the 45th Denver Film Festival has been released. Unlike last year, this year's festival will be totally in person. Health protocols are now basically on the honor system, though if I do go to any screenings this year, I will probably mask up due to memories of what happened to me after sitting next to a woman who claimed that her cough during Thelma was not infectious. Most of the screening will take place at the Denver Film Society's Sie Film Center and the AMC 9+CO 10. A bit of explanation about that AMC theater for those outside of Denver - no crazy arithmetic, the multiplex is part of an area, mostly restaurants, that is bordered by 9th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. One unusual screening location is the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Having seen the festival evolve through its entire history, it is also interesting in what is being shown. Coming a month after the New York Film Festival, and two months after Venice, Toronto and Telluride, there is an increase in films getting theatrical play within weeks and sometimes days of their festival premieres. I remember when there was a gap of almost a year between when Paris, Texas won at Cannes, and when it finally appeared at a theater near me. Now, notable films from the festival circuit such as Tar and Decision to Leave will already have had theatrical playdates. Several of the big titles are scheduled for release in December.

Most of the attention has been on bigger titles, The Whale, Armageddon Time and Women Talking among the films with major studio backing. There are well over one hundred films, a global selection. There is also "An Evening with Mark Mothersbaugh", with the former Devo frontman discussing is work in composing music for film and television. The festival also will continue with a Virtual Reality event titled Gumball Dreams, described as having viewers assist aliens transition from one reality to the next. The Stan Brakhage Vision Award, given to an "experimental" filmmaker, will be going to James Benning. Retrospective screenings are limited to a tribute to Jean-Luc Godard with Pierrot le fou and Sony Classics 30th Anniversary with Run, Lola, Run.

As far as what I will be covering, I am waiting to see what will be available in the form of critics' screening, online links, and what may require in person attendance. Some of the coverage will also reflect my own interests. While I do not know if I will be covering any of the following films, several titles have my attention. One documentary certain to have greater attention is Joyce Carol Oates: A Body in the Service of Mind. With seemingly everyone weighing in on the film, Blonde, here is a film about the author of the source novel. Among filmmakers from Colorado is Alexandre O. Philippe with Lynch/Oz. The newest narrative film by Cambodian-French filmmaker and historian Davy Chou, Return to Seoul is one of the Special Presentations. Chou's documentary, Golden Slumbers is a personal history of what was once a thriving film industry in Cambodia, highly recommended. A personal note, we both have contributed chapters to the book Southeast Asian Cinema. Part of the Polish wave of filmmakers who emerged in the late 1960s, Jerzy Skolimowki remains active with his film EO, the title based on the sound of a donkey, and a story inspired by another film about a donkey, Robert Bresson's Au hasard Balthazar. I am hoping some of my international cinephile friends might offer suggestions on some of these films, especially those that might be considered below-the-radar.

The festival is scheduled from November 2 through 13. A link to the full schedule is here.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 6, 2022 06:58 AM