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MSPIFF 2011 announces Best of Fest slate

  • Blog Post by: Colin Covert
  • May 4, 2011 - 6:34 PM

 

These films can;t miss. Hilde de Baerdemaker in the Belgian thriller "Dossier K."

These films can;t miss. Hilde de Baerdemaker in the Belgian thriller "Dossier K."

 

 

If you were overwhelmed by choice during the run of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, you're in luck. The programmers are offering a second chance to see the cream of the crop. The Best of the Fest slate runs Friday through Sunday. Starred and signed Star Tribune reviews are provided below where available. Buy your tickets in person at the St. Anthony Main Theatre, or go online to www.stanthonymaintheatre.com/times.html .

Friday, May 6
7:00pm - Aftershock
** - This is the kind of film that will play well to a mainstream, less foreign-film-inclined audience. But those looking for something not reliant on clichés and coincidences to move the story along are advised to look elsewhere. "Aftershock" takes the "Titanic" template and sets a fictional story around a real life disaster. After the Tangshan Earthquake of 1976 hits in the beginning of the film, a character actually looks up at the sky, waves her arms and screams: "God, you bastard!" So, yeah, that's what we're dealing with here. (China, 135 min.) --Erik McClanahan

9:30 p.m. - Dossier K *** - From the team that made the vastly underrated 2003 action/thriller "Memory of a Killer" comes another fast-paced police thriller with double crossings, leaked information, shootouts, solid editing and stunning cinematography. When two police detectives investigate a murder of an "Italian" middleman within the Albanian mafia in Antwerp, Belgium, they find themselves dealing not only with mobsters and assassins with lots of weapons but trouble within their own precinct. The twists are fast and furious, and it is refreshing to find an emotional depth in these brutish characters. (Belgium, 121 min.) --Jim Brunzell III

Saturday, May 7
1:30 p.m. - The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
*** - The Pruitt-Igoe development was a handful of high-rise, low-income apartments built in downtown St. Louis circa 1954. In 1972, the then crime/drug infested complexes were imploded on national TV. The presumed culprit? Modernist architecture. But Minnesota-bred director Chad Freidrichs compelling documentary busts that myth, providing another explanation via interviews with urban historians and former residents. Among them: A mid-century exodus from cities, socioeconomic plight and racism. The film smacks of an NPR radio doc and is executed in a clean, thoughtful Ken Burns-ian style. It's a thought-provoking, sometimes heart-wrenching look at urban develo p.m.ent and society at large. (U.S., 83 min.) --Jay Boller

4:30 p.m. - Microphone - Anticipating Egypt’s youth-led January democratic revolution, Ahmad Abdalla’s story about Egypt’s long-supressed counterculture movement is set against the dense cityscape of Alexandria. The follow-up to his widely acclaimed debut, Heliopolis, the film tracks recently repatriated Khaled as he attempts to readjust to life in his hometown. Feeling alone and dispirited, he takes to the streets in search of something, anything, to connect to. What he quickly finds is a vibrant underground arts and music scene, long suppressed by the Mubarak regime. (Egypt, 120 min.) (Film Society summary)

7 p.m. - Hello, How Are You? *** - Interesting: A romance from a culture skeptical about happy endings. In a coincidence as old as "The Pina Colada Song," a timid married couple who have lost their spark meet anonymously in an Internet chat room and fall in love again. But this rueful Eastern European comedy takes unexpected twists en route to a surprising conclusion. The couple's teenage son is an entertainingly sex-crazed lout who despises his parents' vegetative existence and is already dictating his memoirs to the fans he expects to have as a porn star. The adult leads (imagine Sarah Vowell married to Victor Borge) are amusingly woebegone. (Romania, 105 min.) --Colin Covert

9:30 p.m. - Just Like Us - If there's one thing that culturally binds us all, it's that we all love a good laugh.  "Just Like Us" subscribes to that philosophy wholeheartedly, as the film uses the power of stand-up comedy to break down barriers between the west and the east. This documentary sees acclaimed standup comedian Ahmed Ahmed travel to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Egypt, demonstrating comedy's ability to unite, not to mention his own comedic chops. Oft-documented himself on numerous talk shows, this film sees Ahmed turning an astute camera on himself, and his witty eye on the viewer. (USA, 72 min.) (Film Society summary)

Sunday May 8
1:30 p.m. - Master Class Opera
- What does it take to become the next world-class opera star? Watch as 500 younginternational talents audition for the prestigious Opera Studio, a master class at the world-renowned Bavarian StateOpera, with General Music Director Kent Nagano. (Germany, 95 min.) (Film Society summary)

4 p.m. - Eichmann's End - Based on a true story, a Holocaust survivor who plays accordion in a tango bar and lives among Nazis-in-hiding in 1950s Argentina, is unaware of his neighbors’ dark past. He will eventually make a discovery that leads to one of the most famous war crimes trials in history. (Germany, 89 min.) (Film Society summary)

6 p.m.  - Home For Christmas - Winner of Best Screenplay at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, HomeFor Christmas is based on Norwegian author Levi Henriksen’s collection of interconnected short stories, Only SoftPresents Under the Tree. Set in the snowy small town of Skogli at Christmas time, the fir trees and twinkling lightshave brought with them the usual anxiety, expectancy, hope, and melancholia. (Norway, 90 min.) (Film Society summary)

8:30 p.m. - Rough Tender - Unlikely love blooms between a brooding, explosive loner and an extroverted introvert with a cat and a library habit. A darkly comic, sadly sweet and even poignant tale about finding and keeping love despite the odds. (USA, 89 min.) (Film Society summary)

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