Last Film Show will grab your attention on the big screen with its visuals and story at the upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Despite the cancellation of the Palm Springs International Film Awards due to the pandemic, more than 100 films will be screened during the film festival’s run, Jan. 6-17.
Given the volume, we asked the programmers who watch all of the submissions and asked for their top picks to assist your selections. They have given us their best six picks with a brief comment on each film in most cases.
Consult the film festival website for days, times, and locations of each film. They have a handy Film Finder tab to use. Click HERE.
Alissa Simon, Lead Programmer
The Worst Person in the World
From Norway, a dazzling dramedy from veteran director Joachim Trier includes a performance by Renate Reinsve, who was tabbed with teh Best actress prize at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
I’m Your Man
From Germany, a thought piece with a rom-com coating from the great actress turned director Maria Schrader.
The Great Freedom
From Austria. A tender, empathetic story of one man repeatedly persecuted by the German law criminalizing homosexuality.
The triple threat from Denmark, a gay Afghan man tells story in this animation that is also a documentary.
A movie to put you in a good mood: Greener Pastures, from the producer of Palm Springs audience favorites Maktub and Forgiveness. These days, my favorite genre is the clever humanist comedy, and this one from Israel is smart and funny and should really resonate with film festival audiences.
A movie that is important to watch: The Crossing, which is also a film that can inspire a lot of discussion. Everyone seems to have heard about Flee, but this film also takes on a refugee story in completely different way that is incredibly moving.
David Ansen, Lead Programmer
Utica: The Last Refuge. World premiere of an inspiring and urgent documentary that shows how refugees revitalized a dying industrial city.
Boulevard!: A Hollywood Story
Life imitates art in the amazing and twisted story of an earlier musical version of “Sunset Boulevard” commissioned by Gloria Swanson.
Terrence Davie’s heartbreaking film about the conflicted life of the great, gay World War One poet Sigfried Sassoon.
A delicious and deep documentary about the rise and fall of the Horn & Hardadt automats with interviews from everyone from Mel Brooks to Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
A mysterious and luminous fable about mothers and daughters from Celine Sciamma, director of Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
A moving animated documentary about a gay Afghan refugee, this masterly movie could well be nominated for both Best International film, Best Animated film, and Best Documentary at the Oscars.
Jane Schoettle, Programmer
(Canada, Bretten Hannam): an abused 16-year-old boy begins to heal by exploring his sexuality and indigenous roots.
(U.S., March Shaffer) fascinating documentary about a pioneer of photography and featuring actor and Palm Springs resident Gary Oldman.
Utica: The Last Refuge
(U.S., Loch Phillips); an embattled city turns itself around after throwing open its doors to refugees.
Run Woman Run
(Canada, Zoe Leigh Hopkins): sweet, gently humorous story of how a depressed woman get her life back on track--literally.
(Canada, Ivan Grbovic); a poetic and compelling drama spanning three countries about the pursuit of love.
The Drover’s Wife
(Australia, Leah Purcell) : Alone on a ranch in the outback, a remarkable woman does whatever it takes to protect her children.
Therese Hayes, programmer
Based on Annie Ernaud's best selling novel who reveals her experience with abortion , deciding to go against the law when abortion was illegal in France in the 1960s. Won the top prize in the Venice Film Festival.
The Caviar Connection
Despite emprisonment, a journalist reveals multiple human right violations and how dictators launder their reputation from despotic to democratic by their "caviar diplomacy" supplying expensive gifts and lavish entertainment [Lady Gaga, JayLo, Sting] to corrupt human rights councils and others on a global scale.
Many films have been made about famous designers, but this film shows those who make their fame possible by their sacrifice in long hours working in the ateliers. It shows the dedication and pride of the "petites mains" who produce the meticulous garments they produce.
The Last Film Show
Visually stunning, a love letter to cinema. A young boy discovers movies and makes a deal with the projectionist to watch movies for free in exchange for his lunch. As he grows up he witnesses the impact of technology on small theaters.
The Great Indian Kitchen
After marriage an educated woman tries to be the submissive wife as is expected of her in the traditional patriarchal order, but can she manage to survive a life long literal imprisonment in the kitchen when she used to have freedom and her own business.
A hard-hitting social drama about a criminal psychologist who wants to know what motivated the man who raped her and what drove him to commit such crime. A film that poses many questions and reads like a thriller.
Programmer Celine Roustan
Ballad of a White Cow
Navigating themes of grief, forgiveness and seeking revenge, this riveting drama follows a woman whose husband got wrongfully executed.
Costa Brava, Lebanon
In her feature debut, Mounia Akl uses an environmental crisis as the backdrop of a witty and compelling family dramedy.
The Gravedigger’s Wife
While the film is a race against the clock as Guled needs to find money to pay for the medical procedure that could save his wife’s life, it is first and foremost a beautiful tale of love against everything else.
Inspired by true events, Farha is about to helplessly witness, locked in the pantry of her kitchen, what is now known as the beginning of the Nakba.
Tug of War
In this love story in the midst of political unrest in 1950s Zanzibar, an idealist revolutionary falls for a young runaway bride.
In Casablanca Beats, Nabil Ayouch shows the power of self-expression through art when a group of teenagers start learning about rab.
Hebe Tabachnik, programmer
7 Lakes, 7 Lives
Wracked by ALS, spirited Dabiz, will try to make sense of his illness by doing what he has always loved to do: travel and float on water.
The Best Families
Entrenched prejudice, social class privilege, and family secrets swirled out of control - novella style - in this upstairs-downstairs biting satire for the ages.
The Good Boss
Get ready to experience: laughter, amazement, revulsion, and rage… with one of Javier Bardem’s most dazzling and disarmingly charming works.
Feminist horror, dark comedy, fantasy and unconventional musical. Yes, WTF… just give this film a chance.
Prayers for the Stolen
A lyrical and emotionally daunting tale of a girl--and a community--struggling to stay alive in a war zone, the first narrative feature from acclaimed documentarian Tatiana Huezo.
An empathetic story about resistance, endurance, and inclusion, Valentina changes the narrative of trans films played by trans actress Thiessa Woinbackk, in her breakthrough performance.