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I bet you thought I was going to issue a postmortem on the 2014 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, right? After all, Saturday night was the closing night. Oh, no. Closing night is only the beginning. Now’s the time to double back to catch all the audience favorites you missed the first time around! (A few of them were covered in the WCCO Movie Blog’s complete coverage on the MSPIFF, and you can see all those reviews here. For the festival schedule, and a complete listing of all the movies being shown, click here. Ticket information is available here.) If by some miracle you managed to catch all or most of the fest faves (or, if you’re like me, tend to skip some of the ones that look like clear pandering wastes of time), things are returning back to normal in the art house and retrospective screening circuit. This week, you can catch:
Monday, April 21 and Tuesday, April 22: Bitter Victory (Trylon Microcinema)
This was the movie that moved no less a grouchy cinematic mandarin than Jean-Luc Godard to fulminate: “There was theater (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir). Henceforth there is cinema. And the cinema is Nicholas Ray.” I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is Ray’s best film (not with Johnny Guitar and Bigger Than Life in the running), but if you want to see what a director can do with material that doesn’t, on the surface, seem suited to his talents — which is to say, if you want a textbook case study for the art of smuggling — you could do a lot worse than Bigger Victory.
As one essential annual festival draws to a close, another follows in its wake. Once again, Take-Up Productions, Riverview and the Heights are all collaborating on a bigger and better than ever installment of their Alfred Hitchcock festival. This week includes screenings of Psycho, Suspicion and (at Trylon) Young & Innocent. One of these movies has been written about as much as almost any other movie ever made. The other two are among the least-discussed of Hitchcock’s relevant period. Compare, contrast. Oh, and check out my blog from years past detailing the 10 greatest Hitchcock setpieces.
Wednesday, April 23: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Trylon Microcinema)
Typically Trash Film Debauchery selections embrace the lowbrow at the expense of any sort of propriety. This month, they’re toying with the notions of classism (in movies or any other capacity) with Peter Greenaway’s incredibly naughty masterpiece.
Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26: The Missing Picture (Walker Art Center)
Rithy Panh, best known for his 2003 documentary S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, delivered a knock-out punch at last year’s Cannes with The Missing Picture, a jaw-dropping formal exercise reenacting Pol Pot’s rise to power in Cambodia using, among other things, clay figurines. Without question the best movie nominated for an Oscar last year that you likely hadn’t heard of before the ceremony, The Missing Picture is not to be missed. More in my full review later this week.
Friday, April 25 thru Sunday, April 20: The Unknown Known (St. Anthony Main Theater)
There were some that thought Errol Morris gave Robert S. McNamara enough rope to hang himself with in The Fog of War (an Oscar winner), others saw it as a near hagiography. Others still called it, well, fair and balanced. Prepare for the lines in the sand to be drawn anew with his latest documentary, The Unknown Known, a sit-down with President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Jonathon Sharp will review the film in full later this week.