There are few things sweeter than the sight of grass peeking through the snow after a long, hard winter season. But the opportunity to see new movies from world-class auteurs and local up-and-comers alike is among those things.

Yes, it’s nearly time to start planning your schedules and vacations. The 2013 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival has announced a number of films slated to run during the nearly three-week event.

This year looks fit to tax your calendar app, as there are approximately 200 feature films in the mix, along with the usual shorts showcases.

“The Festival allows you to see many non-commercial films you’d never otherwise have access to,”

Film Society executive director Susan Smoluchowski said. “We give the community a rare chance to see these works on the big screen.”

The opening night selection will be the newest from director Ken Loach: The Angels’ Share, which won the jury prize at Cannes last year. (His film The Wind That Shakes The Barley won the same fest’s prestigious Palme d’Or in 2006.) The comedic-dramatic film details the exploits of a band of Scottish ne’er do wells who hatch up a plan to pass off diluted whiskey as  a tippy-top shelf tippler.

The Loach film makes an interesting selection, as no doubt some would say the festival’s more-more-more aesthetic puts the brand at risk for dilution, but eyeing the first batch of titles announced in the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul’s press release, there doesn’t seem to be any cause for alarm.

Among the highlights already booked:

–       Padre Padrone directors Paolo & Vittorio Taviani’s Caesar Must Die (the official Mid-Fest Highlight)
–       French New Wave titan Alain Resnais’s You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, one of the best-reviewed movies at last year’s Cannes fest
–       Francois Ozon’s In the House
–       Norway’s Kon-Tiki, an Oscar nominee this year for best foreign film
–       A retrospective screening of Werner Herzog’s classic ’70s doc The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner
–       Serbian director Srdjan Dragojević’s controversial gay-rights portrait The Parade
–       Rising Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways

Add to that very shortlist new works from Ki-duk Kim, Jan Troell, István Szabó, and many more, and factor in the spotlight programs about documentaries that blur the line between fact and fiction (“More REEL: Art in the Age of Truthiness”), movies that catalogue the struggles of displaced people (“Songs of Exile”), late night whatzits, Minnesota-made efforts and even selections for the kids, and you have an April to surrender your social life to.

The festival is set to run from April 11 through April 28, with the bulk of screenings taking place at St. Anthony Main Theater.

Tickets to The Angels’ Share and the opening night party will go on sale to members of The Film Society on March 13; the cost will be $40. Non-members will have to wait until April 1 to buy their tickets for $50.

Click here for more information.


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