Each week here at indieWIRE, five recommendations for theatrical viewing pleasure are being offered up, tackling everything from new releases, to film festivals, to curated series, and events around North America. This week, make up those five best bets:
1. Tiny Furniture (criticWIRE page)
This year's SXSW Film Festival brought us many discoveries, as perhaps best exemplified with director Lena Dunham's self-portrait, in which the director plays a version of herself wandering around New York City in post-graduate limbo. Winner of SXSW's top juried prize, and thrice nominated at this year's Gotham Awards, "Furniture" is a true American indie in the midst of November and December's heavy hitters. "'Tiny Furniture' works because the production values maintain a certain precision that transcends the meandering nature of the plot," Eric Kohn writes in indieWIRE's review. "Dunham and her family engage in emotionally charged confrontations that retain legitimacy because they arise naturally from the circumstances at hand."
Check out the trailer:
2. CPH: DOX
The Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival kicked off this past weekend and heats up through next. If you aren't attending, start planning for next year. The festival stands out from its fellow Euro-doc fests thanks to its remarkably innovative and experimental programming. Animal Collective (with Danny Perez) and Harmony Korine each programmed a section of films, and the festival in general twists the idea of the documentary by including films that stand outside the traditional definition, as in Korine's "Trash Humpers," which won last year's top prize. The festivities also includes DOX: FORUM, a financing forum that kicks off today, and DOX:LAB, which sees 11 directors from Africa, Asia and the Middle East teamed up with 11 Nordic directors, and each given carte blanche to create the eleven films. Last year's DOX: LAB included Khavn de la Cruz and Michael Noer's "Son of God," which is now screening in CPH: DOX's main program. In general, the rather young (it turns eight this year) festival has quickly found an international reputation as a sort of SXSW of European documentary festivals. Check out the festival's website.
3. Cool It (criticWIRE page)
Speaking of documentaries, one doesn't have to travel to Denmark to check out Ondi Timoner's "Cool It," which Roadside Attractions is releasing across the U.S. this Friday. Timoner's follow up to Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning "We Live In Public," "Cool It" profiles the author and academic Bjorn Lomborg, who wrote the controversial "The Skeptical Environmentalist," a book that takes on the issue of climate change by challenging the status quo. "Everything he said made sense," Timoner said in an interview during the Toronto Film Festival, where "Cool It" premiered, "but I needed to go deeper. If it was proposed to me to make a film about how fear isn't effective, I wouldn't have made the film. It's the fact that we really get to propose solutions that can happen now is the reason I made this movie. As a mother of a six-yea- old, it's been really a concern of mine that for 20 years we haven't done anything. And I learned why because of Bjorn Lomborg."
Check out a clip from that interview here:
4 & 5. Starz Denver and Cinema Arts Festival Houston
The year's best festival films come to Denver and Houston, respectively this week with two of the country's notable region film festivals - Starz Denver and Cinema Arts Festival Houston. "Black Swan," "Blue Valentine," "Casino Jack," "Le Quattro Volte," and "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" are among the films that will screen in Denver through its closing night this Sunday, while Houston will also screen "Swan," as well as the likes of "Client 9," "Rabbit Hole," and "Thunder Soul."