I can’t think of a more appropriate title for the final film of the 2012 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. It’s been a long, winding grueling, exciting, surprising road to get to this final MSPIFF destination. And though in some ways the onslaught of films (many great, many … not) has left us a little dazed and weary, all due respect to the organizers of the festival for giving the Twin Cities the chance to get drunk on movies.
To say nothing of the increasingly rare opportunity moviegoers get to walk into a screening totally tabula rasa, knowing almost nothing at all about what they’re sitting down to see. Though I’m sure many people enjoy the comfort of knowing they, for the next two hours or so, won’t have to feel challenged by anything, there are others among us who look forward to tasting the unknown. As either Roger Ebert or Stephen King (can’t remember now) said, cheeseburgers are great, but do you really want to eat them for every meal?
So the MSPIFF closes this evening with a screening of its closing film, the Lebanese drama Where Do We Go Now?, directed by the part-Canadian Nadine Labaki. In it, a group of women caught in the middle of a tense, downright deadly political situation persist in staying true to their friendship, even though they would normally be considered opposing forces in their war zone.
If you want to stretch the metaphor of MSPIFF’s selection of this movie for their closing feature, you could surmise that it represents a happy medium between the increasingly polarized worlds of mass entertainment and, frankly, everything else. (Especially since Labaki’s commercial instincts are pretty marketable.) The cooperation of the movie’s characters could be said to suggest the viability of a popular cinema that moves between concepts of “niche” and “demographics.”
Or not. But for a few weeks every April, MSPIFF gives cinephiles more than enough fodder to dream about it.
Where Do We Go Now? plays in Theater 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Other Highlights: Thursday, May 3
Fortress. A German coming-of-age drama about how a young girl deals with first love. (Theater 4; 4:45 p.m.)
Free Men. Another tense French crime pic. In this one, Muslims are leading a resistance in Paris. (Theater 2; 4:50 p.m.)
Tanguero. The seductiveness of the dance, the pull of Buenos Aires. A pas de deux meant to be seen on the big screen. (Theater 3; 5:15 p.m.)
For more of the WCCO Movie Blog’s coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.