Philadelphia to Open Fifth Event with a "Crime"
by Brian Brooks
The Philadelphia Film Festival has unveiled its 2005 line up of 110 feature films, 24 full-length documentaries and 125 shorts from 42 countries for its14 edition opening April 17 with festival alumn Álex de la Iglesia's comedy, "Ferpect Crime." The line up includes 31 world, North American, and U.S. premieres, and will also honor Malcolm McDowell and Steve Buscemi with fest awards.
Iglesia's comedy, "Ferpect Crime" is the story of Rafael (Guillermo Toledo, who also stars in another PFF film, "Only Human" by Dominic Harari and Teresa Pelegri) about a suave playboy working in a women's clothing store. Rafael regularly seduces attractive female customers and co-workers, but pays little attention to Lourdes (Monica Cervera), a fellow worker who never attracts his eye. This changes, however, when Rafael needs Lourdes' help in disposing a body, and soon she calls in her favor by blackmailing Rafael into being her boyfriend, and forces him to spend time with her "crackpot" family.
Work from veteran directors from the U.S. and abroad will be a spotlight of the festival. French director François Ozon's latest, "5 X 2: Five Times Two" will be featured. The film, told in reverse chronology, explores five chapters in a couple's lives, including their first attraction, wedding night, and the birth of their child. Also slated is Todd Solondz's latest, "Palindromes," which revolves around 12 year-old Aviva who wants to become pregnant, and runs away. Solondz uses the Aviva character to explore human passions and weaknesses, using five girls, two women, and one 12 year-old boy in the role. From Venice, Toronto and Sundance is Gregg Araki's feature, "Mysterious Skin," which will screen as a centerpiece in the festival. "Skin" is the story of two very different boys, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbet growing up in a small Kansas town. Brian (Corbet) grows up introverted convinced he's been abducted by aliens, while Neil (Levitt) is wise beyond his years, and seemingly in control, but the film reveals that they are not so different after all. Also featured as PIFF centerpieces are Sundance 2005 award-winner, "Me and You and Everyone We Know" by Miranda July, and Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro's doc, "Murderball."
The festival's curated "Danger After Dark" series will feature three films by Japanese director Takashi Miike, and a four-film salute to Tartan Films' "Asia Extreme" label. Also planned is a screening of the controversial film, "Cool!" the final film from the late Dutch director Theo Van Gogh, who was murdered in Amsterdam last November by a Muslim extremist.
Among this year's first-time filmmakers at PIFF are projects from established actors, including David Duchovny, who will introduce his film, "House of D," starring Tea Leoni, Robin Williams, Orlando Jones and Frank Langella as well as himself, while Peter Riegert will present "King of the Corner," which he stars in with Eric Bogosian, Beverly D'Angelo, Isabella Rosselini, and Rita Moreno.
Steve Buscemi will receive this year's American Independents Award on April 18, followed by a screening of his third directorial film, "Lonesome Jim," which played at this year's Sundance Film Festival, starring Casey Affleck as a tormented son of a dysfunctional Indiana family, also starring Liv Tyler and Mary Kay Place. The Artistic Achievement Award in Acting will be given to Briton Malcolm McDowell on April 16. The festival will screen his latest film, horror/docudrama "Evilenko," about a Russian serial killer as well as the film that made him well-known, "A Clockwork Orange" by Stanley Kubrick as part of the tribute.
Other highlights include a tribute to filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr. with the world debut of his doc, "Rittenhouse Square" on April 9, with a screening of Downey's 1969 social satire, "Putney Swope" the next day. On both Saturdays of the festival, PIFF will present "Night of 100 Films," a collection of shorts that are 30 seconds or less, hosted by Disco Volante. On April 10, Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker ("Raging Bull," "The Aviator") will fete her late husband, British director Michael Powell with a screening of his 1945 classic, "I Know Where I'm Going," starring Wendy Hiller, followed by Q&A.
PIFF will close April 20 with a new doc starring members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, "Music from Inside Out" by Daniel Anker. The film features scenes from the orchestra's international tours.
The Philadelphia Film Festival is produced by the Philadelphia Film Society, which also presents the annual Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in July.
[ For more information, and a complete line up, please visit http://www.phillyfests.com. ]