, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For the past few years Ellen and I have been attending the opening weekend of the annual Philadelphia Film Festival with friends from that City of Brotherly Love. Generally, from Thursday’s opening film through Sunday evening we see about a dozen films. We’ve grown fond of that October event, and sadly, we missed it this year as we were on a long planned trip to China (more on that to come soon in other posts).

But thanks to an email from Philly, I post below one person’s reactions to this year’s festival and the films she saw between Oct. 19-29. Although said movie lover was not writing for an audience, she kindly gave us permission to pass on her quick thoughts about the films she saw, many of which will reach your local theaters in the coming year.

Her email:

We thought the Festival was terrific this year. The films I particularly recommend are listed below.  You can look up the descriptions in this Program Guide. 

I, Tonya (p.29) – Great performances. Funny, weird, crazy. Was the Opening Night film.

Faces Places (p.40) – Charming and very well done.

In the Fade (p.41) – German Oscar submission. Superb, Heavy. Amazing performance by Diane Kruger.

Jane (p.42) – Just released. Documentary. Features previously lost footage of Jane Goodall from the 60s.

Borg/McEnroe (p. 47) – Don’t need to be a tennis fan to appreciate this.

A Ciambra (p.50) – Italian Oscar submission.

The Square (p.56) – Just released. Some of the reviews have not been great, but we thought it was well done and very interesting.

Custody (p.63) – Very heavy. Great acting. Remarkably accomplished for a first feature.

In Syria (p.5) – Very well done. Entire film takes place in an apartment. Intense and disturbing.

On Body and Soul (p.55) – Amazing film. Love story takes place in a slaughterhouse.

AlphaGo (p.81) – Documentary. Got a great audience response.

Bobbi Jene (p.74) – Documentary about an American dancer in an Israeli dance group moving back to U.S. Very intimate love story, startling honest. Very impressive.

Django (p. 85) – Docudrama.

Nothing we saw wasn’t worth seeing, but for one reason or another, I did not include the following films, which I also saw: Sweet Country, Thoroughbreds, Bad Lucky Goat, Brimstone and Glory, Most Beautiful Island, Spoor, Montparnasse Bienvenue, Marlin the Murderer in Four Acts, and The Wound.

(Ed. Note: Jane, The Square, and Faces Places are all in the DC area now, and I, Tonya will be here soon.)

You can bet we’ll return to Philly next October. It is easy to get into almost every film you want to see (Opening Night is usually the only totally sold out film – though I noticed this year the wonderful Philadelphia Film Society added additional screenings of that film). The various theaters are generally within walking distance of each other, and the price, especially the package price for a weekend, is beyond reasonable.

If you have seen or see any of the above, please feel free to leave a Comment on this post for others to see.