I intended to see nearly a dozen films at last year’s LA Film Festival but managed to catch zero since it coincided with all the shoot dates for Luke and Brie Are on a First Date. One year later and we still haven’t been able to finish that movie in post, which sucks because I would have loved to premiere at this year’s incarnation. Nonetheless, the program has been released and it is pretty exciting. I’ll be there with bells and whistles this year and I look forward to checking out all the flicks I’ve been hearing so much about from friends on the festival circuit. A quick sampling of what I consider must-sees
Medicine for Melancholy – Narrative Competition
I’ve had my eyes on this one for a while and have been dying to see it since catching sight of the beautiful trailer. The fact that it landed a narrative competition slot without being a world premiere indicates just how good it is and how badly the programmers wanted it to be a part of the festival.
The Pleasure of Being Robbed – Narrative Competition
You’ve got to hand it to Matt Dentler for programming both of these gems first at SXSW. Josh Safdie’s film has now gone on to become the only American film participating in the Director’s Fortnight series at Cannes and has been picked up for release by IFC. In the meantime, it’s already been declared the best film of 2008 by Brendan McFadden.
You, the Living – International Showcase
Director Roy Andersson blew my mind a little with his last film Songs From the Second Floor so I’m pretty much game for whatever he’s got in store. Official synopsis says it’s “a film about humankind, its greatness and its baseness, joy and sorrow, its self-confidence and anxiety, its desire to love and be loved.” Indeed.
Baghead – Summer Previews
The Duplass Brothers showed tremendous promise with The Puffy Chair but didn’t quite hit it as far out of the park as I was hoping. The looks and sounds of this film seem much more adventurous, yet simple and I have been excited about it for a while, despite hearing conflicting reports on how successful it is.
Ballast – Summer Previews
I love the summer previews section of this festival. A lot of festivals pass up the opportunity to play great films if they’ve already been around the block and/or secured distribution. LA creates a whole category for them. Aaron Katz swears by this flick and is even trying to get a gig cutting the trailer so I gotta trust his opinion.
Man on Wire – Summer Previews
I’ve been hearing a lot about this only recently thanks to Tribeca and it sounds like a fascinating documentary. The movie tells the story of a man who walked a tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974. A fucking tightrope across the Twin Towers.
Shadows – Special Screening
I’ve never seen John Cassavetes’ directorial debut and what’s more, I’ve never seen any John Cassavetes movie period. I have read a lot about him and like what I know. I also think he’s brilliant in Rosemary’s Baby. In any case, in order to brush up my hipster filmmaker cred, I will be at this screening front and center.
I’m sure there are many more gems to discover as well as music video and short film showcases that seem appealing on sight. You can check out the whole lineup at the LAFF website and I hope to see you there.