Like the day before Christmas, or like a kid in front of a candy store, that’s the feeling I get when I have in my hands the guide to the Dallas International Film Festival (DIFF). The DIFF ninth edition offers 11 days and nights of film; hundreds of movies, and the unique opportunity to watch handpicked worldwide features.
I often wondered how would it be to attend every screening on the grid, but I think it is humanly impossible. Therefore, one has to choose. I haven’t seen any of these movies, but I have a good hunch. Here are my choices:
The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle, USA, 2015)
This documentary is like Mowgli meets Be Kind Rewind. Director Crystal Moselle enters the Angulo brother’s unique world at their Lower East Side apartment, where they grew up isolated from society; their only connection to the outside world is through the movies they watched. They spent their childhood reenacting their favorite films. When one brother escapes, everything is about to change.
Words With Gods (Guillermo Arriaga, Hector Babenco, Álex de la Iglesia, Bahman Ghobadi, Amos Gitai, Emir Kusturica, Mira Nair, Hideo Nakata, Warwick Thornton, Mexico, 2014)
The questions we all long for, maybe it is time to listen. A multicultural dialogue of spirituality, beliefs, sin, redemption, death and life. Guillermo Arriaga –21 Grams screenwriter– gathered directors like Emir Kusturica, Alex de la Iglesia, Hector Babenco, and Mira Nair to tell nine short stories that explore faith from an unique cultural and regional perspective. Nobel prize, Mario Vargas Llosa curated the film; Peter Gabriel, the music.
Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog, USA, 1982)
It’s a Herzog film. Period. An epic story of an Irishman pursuing a dream to build an Opera house in the middle of the Amazon. Does the end justify the means? Yes, you can watch it at your house… but it’s a Herzog film!
Mr. Kaplan (Álvaro Brechner, Uruguay, 2014)
Jacobo Kaplan is an old man, but he will prove us that is never to late to embark on an adventure. This Uruguayan comedy will unfold how this 76 year old man plans to investigate, kidnap and expose a suspicious German immigrant, he is convinced is a former Nazi.
Alice in Marialand (Jesús Magaña Vázquez, Mexico, 2014)
If you watch the trailer, you’ll be confused. There is an Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes, of which Cameron Crowe made a remake; Vainilla Sky) Amenabar’s vibe to this film. Alice, Maria and Tonatiuh are intertwined in a love triangle. Very oneiric, fantasy like, yet very intriguing narrative.
Asco (Ale Paschoalini, Brazil, 2014)
There are no words for this black and white brazilian film, literally. If you want to see something that challenges your perception, this is for you. A dream like world of wide shots, visually striking to tell a story of a broken heart, an obsession and desire.