By Jenise Silva and Michael Nank
Attention all Seattleites: there’s still time to gas up the car and head south for the last week of Northwest Film Center’s 34th Portland International Film Festival (PIFF). And although the festival has been screening a steady stream of its more than 130 films over the past 12 days there’s still plenty to like as PIFF heads into the homestretch.
As mentioned previously, there were several Oscar nominated films hitting the screen at PIFF in advance of the big showdown on awards night including Hermano – Venezuela’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film. Centered around their love for soccer Hermano explores the relationship between two brothers as their ideas of family and the bonds that bind them are thrown in flux as they chase their dreams with the Caracas Football Club.
If you lean more toward mystery, suspense and thrills then don’t miss the Italian thriller The Double Hour. This film has it all. An ex-cop meets a maid through a speed-dating service. A relationship ensues but so does a heist, murder and mayhem. Nothing is what it seems in this thriller that earned Kseniya Rappoport the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival.
How to Die In Oregon made the audiences at Sundance sit up and take notice as the opening scene follows a terminally ill cancer patient making the choice between life and death…ultimately choosing the latter. How to Die In Oregon takes an in-depth and personal look at the death with dignity issue that, since 1994, has had more than 500 Oregonians taking their mortality into their own hands.
Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries, Babel) is back on the big screen with Even the Rain. Not a perfect film but compelling throughout with some outstanding acting by the supporting cast that blurs the line between reality and fiction. Depicting Latin America and the historical patterns of oppression that continue in the region Even the Rain is this year’s Spanish submission for the Best Foreign Language Film.
We’re not sure we can fully recommend Passione: A Musical Adventure but if you want to take a musical journey through Naples, Italy – soaking up sights and sound – then this might just be your ticket. At its base, the film starts with an embarrassment of riches…the landscape of Naples enveloped with music, singers, dancers, poets and the richness of this city that spans from the 1200’s to present. Director/actor John Turturro does his best with this love letter to his adopted home town – but in the end it could be his own passione that makes the sum of this movie less than its parts.
And after you’ve seen the remaining films this week, don’t forget to fill out your ballot and vote for the Oregonian Audience Winner. The results will be announced at the Closing Night Party with awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Documentary, Best Short and Best New Director. You can join the rest of your PIFF film friends during the closing night festivities at PAM’s Field Ballroom immediately following Saturday’s encore screenings. Visit http://festivals.nwfilm.org/piff34 for additional information.
The Northwest Film Center is a regional media arts resource and service organization founded to encourage the study, appreciation, and utilization of the moving image arts, foster their artistic and professional excellence, and to help create a climate in which they may flourish. The Center provides a variety of film and video exhibition, education, and information programs primarily directed to the residents of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.