AFI Fest 2007

afi-fest-225.jpgThe 21st annual AFI Fest kicks off on November 1st with the North American premiere of Lions for Lambs starring Robert Redford (who also directs), Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise.

The centerpiece film is Jason Reitman’s much buzzed Juno, written by Midwestern girl turned stripper turned author turned screenwriter Diablo Cody. It stars Ellen Page (Hard Candy) and Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad).

There will be a tribute to Laura Linney on November 9th followed by a screening of The Savages co-starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. On November 10th, there will be a tribute to Catherine Deneuve preceding a screening of the new French animated film Persepolis (voiced by Deneuve).

The festival closes November 11th with the North American premiere of Love in the Time of Cholera, directed by Mike Newell, starring Javier Bardem, based upon the novel by Gabriel García Márquez.

In total, 37 different countries are represented by 69 narrative features,  28 documentary features, 43 narrative shorts and 8 documentary shorts.

7 films are making their world premieres including:

  • the Argentinian film Manuela Y Manuel
  • Noise starring Tim Robbins
  • the documentaries Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome and
  • Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story.

17 films are making their North American premieres. Besides the opening and closing films, this list includes:

  • Lynch (a documentary about the making of Inland Empire)
  • Alex Cox’s new film Searchers 2.0
  • The Year of the Nail, the directorial debut of Alfonso Cuarón’s son Jonás.

18 films are making their U.S. premieres including:

  • Jacques Rivette’s The Duchess of Langeais
  • Catherine Breillat’s The Last Mistress
  • Johnny To’s Mad Detective

Some of the other notable screenings include:

  • Julien Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • John Sayles’ Honeydripper
  • Noah Baumbach’s Margot at the Wedding
  • Richard Kelly’s re-edited Southland Tales
  • Greg Araki’s Smiley Face
  • 2007 Cannes Palme d’Or winner from Romania 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
  • Deficit, the directorial debut of actor Gael Garcia Bernal
  • The Band’s Visit, the well regarded film from Israel which was recently denied Foreign Language Oscar consideration because too much of it is in English
  • 2 new films from Wayne Wang: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and Princess of Nebraska.

There are dozens of other films by people I’m not familiar with from countries I’ve never visited and I hope to take a healthy sample of them during the festival’s run. I’ll be skipping the opening and closing films because I’m not that excited about them and I’d rather spend my energies elsewhere.

If all goes well, I probably won’t be writing about anything but the festival for a week or so once it kicks off, though No Country For Old Men opens on November 9th so I’ll have to make time for that. I’ll still be doing the usual Weekend Forecast and hopefully a contest or two.

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6 thoughts on “AFI Fest 2007

  1. I’m really disappointed to hear you won’t be elbowing your way through the glitterati for Love in the Time of Golden Globes but I can see the need to focus on the other stuff. And there’s some good’uns in there. I’m curious about the Diving Bell and the Butterfly, John Sayles is always worth a ticket, and that 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days has the buzzers buzzing.

    But new Alex Cox? That could be interesting.

    Anyway, the beauty of film fests is the process itself. Cramming a bunch of random movies into a small window of time and seeing what sticks in your craw. Good luck my friend.

  2. The Diving Bell and the John Sayles movies are playing this weekend in my parts at the Virginia Film Festival. I’m skippin Sayles (other than the early horror stuff and Lone Star, I just don’t dig the man’s work) and I’m regretfully missing Diving Bell. I am seeing The Savages and Before the Devil Knows Your Dead, which will be great considering that it’s impossible to tell when a regular release of those (particularly Savages) would be available to me.

    Have fun out there Craig!

  3. I’m still in Kid in a Candy Store mode. It all looks good. I’m torn between trying to catch some of the more mainstreamy stuff and looking for obscure nuggets no one I know will ever see. My best experiences at LAFF were in the latter category for sure.

    The other goal is to see as much as I can without burning myself out.

    Chuck, I hope you enjoy the VFF and I look forward to hearing about anything you see.

  4. Lucky devil, can’t wait to read your thoughts about what you see.

    I do have the considerable consolation of seeing There Will be Blood this coming Monday night. Thanks to your tip 🙂

  5. I can’t wait to hear your reaction, sartre, to Blood. Please inform us by instant messaging.

    Besides Diving Bell, Savages and Devil, The Band’s Visit is another one I’m curious about, CJ.

  6. Unfortunately Pierre, Band’s Visit shares a prime time screening slot with 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days so I might have to miss it. It’s playing again Monday afternoon so depending on what work is like, I might sneak off for an extended lunch/screening. Stranger things have happened….

    Sartre, I hope There Will Be Blood lives up to all of our hopes and dreams.

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