Five Days of Illumination at Provincetown Film Fest
By: Elise Hugus, June 13, 2012
Courtesy PIFF - Frank Langella stars as an aging cat burglar who reluctantly accepts the aid of a robot helper in "Robot & Frank," a comedy-heist film screening this weekend.
Provincetown International Film Festival kicks off tonight, continuing its 14-year tradition of bringing daring independent cinema, thoughtful panel discussions and cutting-edge filmmakers to outer Cape audiences.
The five-day festival runs through Sunday, June 17, showcasing a variety of narrative features from around the world, a selection of award-winning documentaries, and gay- and lesbian-friendly features and shorts.
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Provincetown International Film Festival, June 13- 17
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The festivities get underway Wednesday night at 7:30 PM with the opening night feature, Bachelorette, starring Kirstin Dunst. Something of a Bridesmaids on cocaine, three high school friends reunite in Manhattan for a long night of preparations for a doomed wedding. This film will play again on Saturday night at 10 PM.
Get a taste for life behind the scenes in a public conversation with this year’s festival honorees on Saturday at 5 PM at Provincetown Town Hall. Director Roger Corman (The Pit and the Pendulum, Little Shop of Horrors) will receive a Filmmaker on the Edge award, and up-and-coming documentary director Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated, The Invisible War) will be honored with the Faith Hubley Career Achievement Award.
But these two directors might have to take a bow when the original Party Girl, Parker Posey (Price Check), takes the stage to accept her Excellence in Acting award.
Be sure to take advantage of all three honorees’ presence at the festival screenings of their films, especially Dick’s The Invisible War on Friday and Sunday, a documentary that investigates the high incidence of rape of female soldiers in the US Army serving overseas.
Catherine Deneueve and Romain Duris star in The Big Picture, a French romantic drama adapted from an American novel by the same name.
Prepare for a visual feast with Samsara, brought to you by the creators of Baraka and Chronos. Filmed over five years in 25 countries, this is a 99-minute masterpiece explores everything from the mundane to the miraculous, illuminating the links between humanity and nature.
French director Julie Delpy gets personal with 2 Days in New York, a classic—yet hilarious—Franco-American culture clash, starring Delpy, her real-life father and comedian Chris Rock.
Michael Winterbottom explores the ancient and the modern, the urban and the rural in Trishna.
Marjane Satrapi, of Persepolis fame, is back with another personal story adapted from one of her graphic novels. Chicken With Plums is a narrative film featuring her great-uncle, the revered Iranian musician Nasser Ali Khan.
Vudu isn't the only place for new releases. Check out these star-studded flicks on the PIFF roster:
- A man and his conscience collide in Stella Days, starring Martin Sheen as a forward-thinking parish priest in 1950s rural Ireland.
- Michelle Williams and Sarah Silverman star in the bittersweet romantic drama Take This Waltz.
- Finally, someone has grabbed the most overused quip of 2011 for a film title: That’s What She Said follows three best friends (including Anne Heche) on a misadventure through New York City.
Robot & Frank is a comedy, buddy flick and heist film rolled into one, starring Frank Langella as an aging cat burglar who reluctantly accepts the aid of a robot helper. Also starring Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler, James Marsden and Peter Sarsgaard.
Chen Kaige, the director of Farewell My Concubine, tells a tale of epic revenge in Sacrifice, about a power-hungry general and the infant who is raised to challenge him.
Documentaries have a prominent place in Provincetown, covering everything from the Great Recession in Downeast and Hard Times: Lost on Long Island to evidence of how fundraising for breast cancer research has been hijacked by cynical corporations in Pink Ribbons.
For more light-hearted fare, check out these portraits of some of the most interesting artists and celebrities of our times:
- Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a story about China’s most famous artist and domestic critic
- About Face: The Supermodels, Then and Now, featuring intimate interviews with Isabella Rossellini, Christy Turlington and more;
- Neil Young Journeys, featuring the rock icon’s two-day concert in Toronto, directed by Jonathan Demme
- A glimpse into performance artist Marina Abramovic’s preparations for her MoMa retrospective in The Artist is Present
- Jobraith A.D., featuring the first openly gay rock star
- Ethel, the story of Ethel Kennedy, directed by Rory Kennedy
Pride on celluloid
This being Provincetown, gay and lesbian film has a delightfully prominent place in the PIFF program.
Love for the locals
On Friday at 2 PM, watch second-generation Provincetown fisherman Peter R. Cook’s intimate portrait of an occupation that’s quickly becoming a way of the past in Dad, I Wanna Go Fishin’.
Fairhaven native Tom O’Brien gets the spotlight with the closing night film, Fairhaven. Written, directed and starring O’Brien, this feature centers on a Fairhaven fisherman who reunites with a couple old friends, only to discover secrets from the past.
New treats this year: PIFF expands to the Wellfleet Drive-In with two feature films, Miyazaki’s animated classic Spirited Away and The Trip, a psychedelic odyssey about LSD directed by Roger Corman and starring Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern and Dennis Hopper.
On Friday at 4:15 PM, film lovers meet their counterparts on canvas with a Festival Gallery Crawl through Commercial Street galleries from West to East. Enjoy refreshments, fascinating art and a talk by video artist Suara Welitoff at Amp Gallery.
The newly released feature Any Day Now is set in 1970s Los Angeles as a gay couple attempts to adopt a child, but the story will ring true with couples in the same situation today.
If you can appreciate that theme but prefer rom-com with a modern twist, don’t miss the Friday night spotlight on Gayby, in which two 30-something best friends decide to make good on a promise they made in high school to have a child together—the old-fashioned way.
Explore the world of same-sex ballroom dancing at Germany’s Gay Games in Ballroom Rules, a documentary following five couples from Australia.
Take a moment to reflect on how far the HIV/AIDS movement has come after watching How to Survive a Plague, a documentary about the activist groups ACT UP and TAG, which were instrumental in getting the medical community to take action on finding a treatment in the late 80s.
Follow up on that thought with the Saturday spotlight documentary Vito, featuring the late gay activist, writer and critic Vito Russo.