Fall Film Festival
Dietrich Theater offers 16 films in 14 days
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Dietrich Theater’s Fall Film Festival kicks off on Friday, Sept. 21, and runs through Oct. 4, offering 16 films in 14 days.
And the choices of foreign, independent and art films couldn’t be better.
We caught up with Jennifer Jenkins, executive director of the Wyoming County Cultural Center at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock, to talk about the unique festival that film buffs look forward to each year.
Although we knew it would be quite challenging to name a few favorites, we asked Jenkins to consider what her top three film choices might be. “With such a great slate of films for this festival, it is hard to narrow it down to three must-see movies,” she said. After careful consideration, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Intouchables and The Queen of Versailles all made the cut.
“The one I’m most looking forward to is Beasts of the Southern Wild, which won the Grand Jury prize this year at Sundance. It centers around a 6-year-old girl named Hushpuppy taking care of an ailing father named Wink, living in a community known as the Bathtub and facing a fierce storm and a pack of aurochs that may or may not be real. I’m also very excited about The Intouchables from France,” she said. “Anyone who believes Hollywood has a lock on buddy comedies will think twice while laughing at the budding relationship between a paraplegic and his new caretaker, a street kid who failed as a thief. The documentary The Queen of Versailles is a great tale of the effects of the recession. We follow a billionaire family as they begin construction on a 90,000 square foot house and end up shopping at Wal-Mart.”
Additional festival highlights include:
n Oktoberfest-themed Opening Night Gala, Friday, Sept. 21, at 5:30 p.m. “This year, in addition to the wonderful wine from Nimble Hill, they also have a microbrewery and will provide beer,” Jenkins said. “We’ll have tasty treats from Seasons Restaurant, Twigs Restaurant and Cafe, The Fireplace Restaurant and Epicurean Delight. Some of the savory dishes will be bratwurst sliders, Bavarian pretzels with beer dip, beef medallions and potato leek soup.”
n Tickets are $35 each, and a door prize of a 6-month pass for two to the movies will be given away that evening. The featured films of the gala are The Intouchables and Moonrise Kingdom. Limited reserved seating is available, but are going quickly. For reservations, call 996-1500.
Post-Festival Film Discussion, Friday, Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. at the Tioga Bistro. Attendees will discuss the meaning and significance of some of the festival movies with others who have seen them. Admission to the discussion is free. It will be facilitated by Hildy Morgan, film buff extraordinaire.
Tickets to film festival movies (excluding Opening Night) are $8 each for matinees (before 6 p.m.) and $9 each for evening shows (after 6 p.m.).
— julie imel
Film Festival Schedule:
Safety Not Guaranteed (R)
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Kristen Bell, Mark Duplass
Show times: Sept. 26 at 2:15 p.m., Sept. 29 at 9:15 p.m.
From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine comes an independent comic gem. Three young Seattle magazine employees are inspired to investigate an unusual classified ad: “Seeking companion for time travel. Bring your own weapon. Safety not guaranteed.” They discover a mysterious but likable eccentric who believes he’s solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. Together, they embark on a hilarious, smart and heartfelt journey that leads to adventure and unexpected revelations.
Moonrise Kingdom (PG-13)
Starring: Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton
Show times: Sept. 21: Opening Night Gala, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 29 at 7 p.m., Oct. 4 at 4 p.m.
Moonrise Kingdom has garnered critical accolades and become one of the most successful films of the season. Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, the film tells the colorful, amusing and intriguing story of two, 12-year-olds who fall in love and run away together into the wilderness. They are pursued by authorities on the island, including Bruce Willis as the straight-laced sheriff, Edward Norton as the fussy scout master, and Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as the comically anxious parents. The peaceful island community is turned upside down as the authorities try to hunt down the youngsters.
To Rome with Love (R)
Starring: Ellen Page, Alec Baldwin, Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Roberto Benigni
Show times: Sept. 22 at 9:15 p.m., Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 4 at 12 p.m.
Following his recent hit, Midnight in Paris, Director Woody Allen fashions this film with an all-star cast including Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Ellen Page, and Jesse Eisenberg among others in this affectionate tale of life in Rome today. The story offers amusing riffs on moral dilemmas, the power of infatuation, and other timeless comic themes that befit the Eternal City.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (PG-13)
Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry
Show times: Sept. 23 at 7 p.m., Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
This film won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It’s been praised by critics as one of the most original American independent films in years. The quasi-science-fiction story is set off the coast of Louisiana in a bayou community cut off from the rest of the world. A 6-year-old girl exists on the brink of calamity. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe — until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions. Her tale has been compared to some of the greatest heroines of American literature.
Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce
Show times: Sept. 23 at 2 p.m., Sept. 26 at 12 p.m., Oct. 3 at 12 p.m.
Hysteria is a lighthearted romantic comedy based on the surprising truth of how Dr. Mortimer Granville came up with the world’s first electro-mechanical vibrator. Academy Award nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy lead an accomplished cast in this untold tale of Victorian discovery, as a young doctor’s quest to work out the key to women’s happiness leads him to his own. The result is a witty, winning comedy that not only reveals how the vibrator became one of the first electrical appliances in history to earn a patent — but also sends sparks flying between a cautious man and a liberated woman brought together by this marvelous invention.
The Intouchables (R)
Starring: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny
French with subtitles
Show times: Sept 21: Opening Night Gala, Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m., Sept. 30 at 7 p.m., Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
This is the true story of a wealthy Parisian who lives in a beautiful chateau, but is confined to a wheelchair. Bored with the usual well-mannered and carefully schooled caregivers and in an effort to enliven his life, he hires a young, good-natured African immigrant to be his assistant. The young man brings humor, risk-taking, and a joie de vivre to the disabled man’s life, creating a delightful, crowd-pleasing comedy.
Your Sister’s Sister (R)
Starring: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark Duplass
Show times: Sept. 26 at 7 p.m., Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 2 at 5:30 p.m.
Your Sister’s Sister has been dubbed one of the most charming independent romantic comedies of the year. Mark Duplass play a young man seeking a quiet weekend in the woods. He borrows a cabin from his girlfriend, played by Emily Blunt, only to find her sister (Rosemarie Dewitt) seeking refuge there, too. The two bond over more than a few drinks and an entertaining conversation about love. The blurry evening concludes with an unplanned and unwise bedroom encounter, made more awkward by the sudden arrival of Blunt at the cabin the next morning. Love and family are complicated things.
The Queen of Versailles (PG)
Starring: David Siegel, Jaqueline Siegel, Virginia Nebab
Show times: Sept. 23 at 12 p.m., Sept. 28 at 4:30 p.m.
Winner of the Directing Award for Documentary at the most recent Sundance Film Festival, this is a character-driven story about a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of the economic crisis. The film follows a wealthy family whose rags-to-riches success reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream. The film begins with the family triumphantly constructing the largest house in America. Over the next two years, their sprawling empire falters due to the economic recession. The family must deal with major changes in lifestyle which affects them and their large household staff.
The Invisible War (NR)
Showtimes: Sept. 22 at 4:30 p.m., Sept. 27 at 5:30 p.m.
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick investigates the troubling epidemic of rape in the military while speaking with the courageous victims who have refused to be intimidated into silence. In 2009, 16,150 service members were sexually assaulted. In addition to hearing from the women who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, the documentary offers a look at how systematic corruption allows the vast majority of their attackers to walk free.
2 Days in New York (R)
Starring: Julie Delpy, Chris Rock, Vincent Gallo
In English and French
Show times: Sept. 24 at 5:30 p.m., Sept. 28 at 9:30 p.m., Sept. 30 at 12 p.m.
A comedy about relationships, art and clashing cultures, this film stars Chris Rock and Julie Delpy as a modern New York couple with kids. When her jolly French father (played by Delpy’s real-life dad), her oversexed sister and her sister’s outrageous boyfriend descend upon them from Paris, it sparks two unforgettable days of comic family dysfunction. With their unwitting prejudices and sexual frankness, the French trio hilariously shows no boundaries or filters … and no person is left unscathed in its wake.
We Have a Pope (NR)
Starring: Michel Piccoli, Nanni Moretti, Jerzy Stuhr
Italian with subtitles
Show times: Sept. 22 at 2:15 p.m., Sept. 29 at 12 p.m.
This film received its North American premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. Nanni Moretti, Italy’s best comic director, joins forces with the great French actor Michel Piccoli to tell the story of a cardinal who suddenly finds himself elected as the next Pope. Never the front runner and completely caught off guard, he panics as he’s presented to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square. To prevent a world-wide crisis, the Vatican’s spokesman calls in an unlikely psychiatrist to find out what is wrong with the new Pope. As the world nervously waits, the therapist tries to find a solution. What follows is a marvelous, insightful comedy about one nervous human being elected to be God’s representative on Earth.
Starring: Aksel Hennie, Synnøve Macody Lund, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Norwegian with subtitles
Show times: Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m.
Headhunters is based on Jo Nesbø’s best-selling Norwegian thriller and stars Aksel Hennie as Roger, a charming scoundrel and Norway’s most accomplished corporate headhunter. Roger is living a life of luxury well beyond his means, and stealing art to subsidize his expensive lifestyle. When his beautiful wife introduces him to a former military special operative in possession of an extremely valuable painting, he decides to risk it all to get his hands on it, and in doing so discovers something which makes him a hunted man. With double-crosses, mistaken identities, and the threat of violence around every corner, this is a taut, fast-paced thriller that reels you in and won’t let go.
The Magic of Belle Isle (PG)
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Virginia Madsen, Madeline Carroll
Show times: Sept. 29 at 2:15 p.m., Oct. 3 at 2:15 p.m.
Morgan Freeman stars in this gentle comedy about a writer in search of his talent. After a successful career, he is struggling with writer’s block and too much hard drinking. Unbeknownst to him, salvation is around the corner when he takes a lakeside cabin for the summer in picturesque Belle Isle, and befriends the family next door. Virginia Madsen (best known from Sideways) co-stars as an attractive single mom with three young daughters who help him find inspiration again. Directed by Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally), the film is a sweet, warm story of newfound friendship and redemption.
Farewell, My Queen (R)
Starring: Diane Kruger, Virginie Ledoyen, Noémie Lvovsky
French with subtitles
Show times: Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m., Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 3 at 4:30 p.m.
Farewell, My Queen brilliantly captures the nobility, passion, occasional glimpses of debauchery, and ultimate chaos that engulfed the court of Marie Antoinette in the final days before the French Revolution. The film stars the beautiful Diane Kruger as the Queen and seductive Léa Seydoux as one of her ladies-in-waiting, seemingly innocent but quietly working her way into her mistress’s special favors. Photographed in and around the actual palace at Versailles, the action moves effortlessly from gilded drawing rooms to servants’ quarters. This is a period film at once accurate and sumptuous in its visual details, and modern in its emotions.
Robot & Frank (PG-13)
Starring: Frank Langella, Peter Sarsgaard, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon, Liv Tyler
Showtimes: Sept. 22 at 7 p.m., Sept. 26 at 4:30 p.m., Sept. 30 at 2:15 p.m., Oct. 4 at 2 p.m.
This film was a hit at the most recent Sundance Film Festival. The irrepressible Frank Langella and always appealing Susan Sarandon lead the cast in this quasi-sci-fi story set in the near future. Frank, a retired burglar living alone in a suburban home, has two adult children who are concerned that he can no longer take care of himself. Against the old man’s wishes, they buy Frank a walking, talking, humanoid robot programmed to improve his physical and mental health. What follows is an often hilarious and moving story about finding friends and family in the most unexpected places.
Wild Horse, Wild Ride (PG)
Show times: Sept. 22 at 12 p.m., Sept. 29 at 4:30 p.m., Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.
Wild Horse, Wild Ride tells the true story of the annual contest in which 100 people each get the opportunity to tame a totally wild mustang in one of America’s most iconic Western challenges. Contestants are charged with training the mustangs to make them adoptable for a far better life than federal government corrals. This is a stunning and poignant documentary which chronicles a handful of unforgettable characters from their first uneasy meetings with their horses to hard-won success. We get to witness their determined efforts to transform these wild, scared and sacred creatures from distressed strangers to the closest of companions.
For more information about the Dietrich’s 10th Annual Film Festival, call 996-1500.