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Los Angeles Film Festival Opens with Woody Allen: Advance Picks

Los Angeles Film Festival Opens with Woody Allen: Advance Picks

Of course folks will flock to see the big ticket items at the Los Angeles Film Festival, which opened Thursday night with Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love,” complete with the self-deprecatory filmmaker, who said, “I’m here to introduce the cast. If you like it, tell your friends and Sony so they don’t put it in the witness protection program.” (Early reviews are mixed.)

The other big titles are DreamWorks/Disney’s “People Like Us,” starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks, and Fox Searchlight’s Sundance/Cannes hit “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” which both premiere Friday night.

And there’s Disney/Pixar’s “Brave,” which I’ll catch Monday night. But I will miss closing night, Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper movie “Magic Mike,” because I will be attending the Moscow Film Festival. But Sophia Savage will report back.

There’s also a studio secret sneak Sunday night.

Here are some insider picks to help you make your selections:


“Call Me Kuchu” (documentary competition, English and Luganda)

“Crazy & Thief” (narrative competition, USA)

“The Last Elvis” (international showcase, Argentina)

“A Night Too Young” (narrative competition, Czech Republic/Slovenia)

“Sun Kissed” (documentary competition, USA, English and Navajo)

“Sister” (international showcase, Switzerland)

“Teddy Bear” (international showcase, Denmark)

And based on what I have seen:


“Beasts of the Southern Wild” (gala, Ben Zeitlin, dramatic grand jury prize winner Sundance, Cannes winner of Camera d’Or))

“Gayby” (summer showcase, SXSW, comedy, Jonathan Lisecki)

“Gimme the Loot” (summer showcase, SXSW, Cannes, drama, Adam Leon)

“The House I Live In” (summer showcase, Sundance doc jury prize winner, Eugene Jarecki)

“The Invisible War” (free community screening, Sundance doc, Kirby Dick)

“Neil Young: Journeys” (summer showcase, Toronto music doc, Jonathan Demme)

“The Queen of Versailles” (summer showcase, Sundance doc, Lauren Greenfield)

“Searching for Sugar Man” (summer showcase, Sundance music doc, Malik Bendjelloul )

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Last time I looked, around 1989, Czechoslovakia no longer existed…

Tom Brueggemann

I highly recommend "The Compass Is Carried by the Dead Man," from first time director Arturo Pons. This Mexican first-feature took forever to reach the US after premiering in competition at last year's Tokyo International Film Festival, but fortunately is now getting an appropriate platform (it is in the LA Narrative Competition section).
The film seamlessly combines several threads of Mexican film heritage, from the golden age – Luis Bunuel (with its humor and surrealism), Emilio Fernandez (with its humanity and sense of highly charged drama) to more modern strands of Arturo Ripstein (mysticism and cultural references) and Carlos Reygadas (innovative narrative with off-kilter characters).


Festivals are little Hollywoods- THEY ARE NOT that independent anymore!
Real Indies will find a solutions for that- I can't wait to see it.

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