The Northwest Film Center is set to kick off the 29th Portland International Film Festival this Friday, February 10. A slate of 150 films is planned for the festival, including four screening on opening night. The festival, which bills itself as Oregon's biggest film event of the year, runs through February 25.
In Pablo Trapero's partly autobiographical "Rolling Family" (Argentina), a grandmother gathers four generations of her family into a camper to attend her niece's wedding. Also screening on opening night is "Look Both Ways," by Sarah Watt (Australia). The film, which features both live action and animation, follows a group of people over one weekend as they deal with separate tragedies. Gavin Hood's "Tsotsi" ("thug" in South African street slang) is about a young man, an orphan, who leads a violent life in Johannesburg's ghettos. He winds up with a baby in his care after he shoots the baby's mother in a carjacking. "Tsotsi" is a nominee for the 2006 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. "My Nikifor," by Krzysztof Krauze (Poland), is a portrait of real-life "self-styled street artist" Nikifor and his friendship with state-employed painter Marian Wlosinski.
Sixteen films submitted for consideration for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year will have their Portland premieres at the festival. Among the 16 films are "Tsotsi," "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days," by Marc Rothemund (Germany) and "Joyeux Noel" ("Merry Christmas"), by Christian Carion (France).
Other festival highlights include the New Directors showcase, which will feature such films as Gilles Porte and Yolande Moreau's "When the Sea Rises," about a traveling performer who becomes involved with a man she meets on the road. Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary's "Favela Rising," about an activist working for change in a Brazilian slum, and Heidi Ewing and Rachael Grady's "Boys of Baraka," about four boys from inner-city Baltimore selected to attend school in rural Kenya, are part of the New Directors showcase as well as the Documentary Views showcase. Forty-six shorts will also screen as part of the festival.
For a full lineup of films and schedule of events, visit the festival Web site.