The Film Society of Minneapolis and St. Paul has released a sampling of films screening at this year's International Film Festival, running April 3-19. The offerings include films presented at the Berlin, Toronto, Sundance and New York film festivals. Name attractions include Ingmar Bergman, Cesar Chavez and Steve Coogan, with food-and future-themed programs and a robust selection of documentaries. Tere are some of the confirmed titles.
Club Sandwich (Dir. Fernando Eimbcke, Mexico, 2013) Single mother Paloma and her 15-year-old son Hector have a very close relationship, until the duo decide to take a trip to a beachside resort where Hector meets 16-year-old Jazmin. Paloma finds herself competing for her son’s attention in awkward but often hilarious ways. Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke’s third feature takes a deadpan comedic spin on the coming-of-age story as a son learns to explore beyond his safe zone and, more importantly, a mother learns to let go.
Cesar’s Last Fast (Dirs. Richard Ray Perez, Lorena Parlee; USA, 2014)
In 1988, Cesar Chavez embarked on what would be his last act of protest. Driven in part to pay penance for feeling he had not done enough, Chavez began his “Fast for Life,” a 36-day wateronly hunger strike, to draw attention to the horrific effects of unfettered pesticide use on farm workers, their families, and their communities. Using never-before-seen footage, directors Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee weave together the larger story of Chavez’s life, vision, and legacy into an inspiring and moving portrait.
Le Chef (Dir. Daniel Cohen, France/Spain, 2012)
Riffing on haute-cuisine pretentions, this kitchen comedy uses the irresistible talents of Jean Reno and Michael Youn to play Alexandre and Jacky, a veteran chef and a self-trained cook. Alexandre’s three-star restaurant Cargo Lagarde risks a downgrade in the Michelin Guide unless he gets hip with the new trends in cooking, including molecular gastronomy. Jacky, down on his luck but itching to cook, may just be the guy to help him out.
Trip to Italy (Dir. Michael Winterbottom, USA, 2014)
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are back in this witty and incisive follow-up to "The Trip" that reunites the pair for a new culinary road trip where they indulge in more nosh and more sparkling banter. They ponder subjects as varied as Batman’s vocal register, the artistic merits of “Jagged Little Pill,” and, of course, the virtue of sequels.
Web Junkie (Dirs. Shosh Shlam, Hilla Medalia; Israel, China; 2013)
While many countries have acknowledged obsessive Internet use as a serious social issue, China is the first country to label “Internet addiction” a clinical disorder. This film takes an intimate look inside a Beijing rehab center where Chinese teenagers are “deprogrammed.” Focusing on three teens, their parents and the health professionals determined to help them kick their habit, it becomes very clear that systems of evaluation and curing are less than definitive.
Google & the World Brain (Dir. Ben Lewis; UK, Spain, Germany; 2013)
Documentary filmmaker Ben Lewis takes a look at one of the most ambitious but also controversial projects ever conceived on the Internet. In 2002 Google began scanning millions of books in an effort to create a giant global library, containing every book in existence. Purportedly, they also had an even greater purpose: to create a higher form of intelligence, something that H.G. Wells had predicted in his 1937 essay "World Brain." However, issues of commerce and copyright have created an army of dissenters against Google’s plans.
The Starfish Throwers (Dir. Jesse Roesler, USA/India, 2014) This documentary explores how three compassionate individuals struggle to restore hope to the hopeless in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways. Continents apart, a sixth grader, a top chef and retired school teacher fight what seems like an unwinnable war until they discover their impact may reach further than their action. In each of their unique journeys, these unforgettable people meet discouraging and unexpected challenges and must find a way to persevere, despite being constantly reminded, “Don’t you know world hunger is far too big for one person?”
Trespassing Bergman (Dirs. Jane Magnusson, Hynek Pallas; Sweden, 2014)
In the 1960s, Ingmar Bergman moved to the small island of Fårö in the Baltic Sea. This film invites some of the world’s most renowned filmmakers and stars to visit the island and share their opinion of the late, great Swedish auteur, including Michael Haneke, Claire Denis, Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, Isabella Rossellini, Zhang Yimou, Francis Ford Coppola, Takeshi Kitano, Wes Anderson, Lars von Trier, Robert De Niro, and Ridley Scott.