Oh, it’s on, kiddos. The Director & co. are putting on one hell of a swell show this year: I’m as gung-ho as I’ve ever been about the lineup of the Starz Denver Film Festival, now in its 33rd year.
Being the Director’s fair (okay, kinda grungy) lady, I have the rare good fortune to watch a substantial portion of the program right here in our home theater (otherwise known as our tiny, grimy living room). As the program editor, I also have a firm grasp on the remaining films I’m most looking forward to. Below, then, are my annual picks for Dinner & a Movie. For full descriptions & showtimes of these and so many more, browse yourself silly here. Also check out my pal Denver on a Spit’s own roundup.
Black & White & Red All Over
I’ve only seen 3/5 of this package of 5 shorts made by Coloradans, but if those 3 gems are any indication, local filmmakers are collectively on one long, strange trip. Ba Noche dol Fonn Baeo is a giddy spoof on classic Godard, most obviously Breathless & Band of Outsiders, in which the carefree characters are just too cool for words (in fact, they speak an invented Euroesque language). Likewise, The Magnetic Detective is an ultra-charming spoof on gumshoe noir narrated via refrigerator magnets. And The House in Windsor is just creepy as hell.
Pair with: The Squeaky Bean, also staunchly & delightfully oriented toward local producers.
The Black Panther
Speaking of noir, this here is a sleek black-and-white neo-noir from Mexico that also happens to involve cryogenics & lesbian aliens.
Pair with: El Diablo, equally irreverent & smoky-sultry.
In which the members of a Taiwanese cult descend on a Dallas suburb to await the Rapture. As simultaneously melancholy & funny as it is oddball.
Pair with: Lao Wang Noodle House, whose Taiwanese owners make dumplings to commit suicide in a ritual cult sacrifice—or just die—for.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
This one, a big winner at Cannes this year, is even freakier: a magical-realist tale from Thailand about Monkey Ghosts & man-on-catfish sex. Oh, & dying gracefully.
Pair with: TAG. I keep hearing about good Thai around here, but I keep not having any. Meanwhile, Troy Guard’s East-West repertoire is its own form of magical realism. No catfish on the menu, but the coupling of octopus & pork belly is just as awesomely unholy.
I spent the first 5 minutes thinking this was going to be a corny, overacted piece of crap. I spent the remaining 97 totally enchanted by an adorably campy, smart, wholly original romantic comedy/musical—which also happens to be Colorado-made.
Pair with: The likewise enchanting version of Colorado campground that is Beatrice & Woodsley.
The Happy Poet
Also an endearing romantic comedy, but in the much lower-key form of “all-organic, mostly vegetarian” mumblecore straight outta Austin. Our underdog hero is a mediocre poet, hapless lunch cart owner, & wouldn’t-be lonely guy. (Aren’t we all?)
Ironically pair with: Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, duh.
We Are the Sea
Because Chantelle Frazier is stunning & so is the Iron & Wine soundtrack.