Ms Piff presents the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Film Festival Icon_flatIt must be almost spring because here comes Ms Piff (the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival). From April 3 to 19 there will be 200 films shown from all over the globe. The Film Society has been showing other than mainstream films since 1962. 

All films are at St. Anthony Main except where noted. To see the full list of films, go to http://mspfilm.org/festivals/the-festival-2014/films-events/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Le Chef

mspiff14.lechef.img_.still_-360x200Another restaurant film, and another using broad humor to win your heart, this time a satire of French arrogance in the world of grand cuisine. A young chef is determined to not compromise on the preparation of a meal, in spite of what customers or other chefs want. This wildly improbable tale is irresistible. 84 minutes. Tuesday, April 15, 7:30 p.m. Ed Felien

Love and Lemons
mspiff14.lovelemons.img_.still_.1-360x200Possibly the sleeper hit of the Festival, this Swedish film is determined to capture your heart. It’s the familiar, “Let’s start a restaurant” theme, as corny now as when the late Mickey Rooney turned to Judy Garland and said, “Let’s put on a show.” But, in spite of its hackneyed conventions, the earnest simplicity, broad Swedish humor and star-crossed love make this a wonderful film. If you see one film, see this one. 99 minutes. Tuesday, April 15, 2:30 p.m. Ed Felien

The Dog
mspiff14.dog_.img_.still_.1-360x200A portrait of John Wojtowicz, who was portrayed by Al Pacino in Sidney Lumet’s “Dog Day Afternoon.” Wojtowicz attempted to rob a bank to pay for his lover’s sex change operation. This documentary follows Wojtowicz as he shows us the landmarks and people who had a played a part in this event and in his life. Alternating between amusing and tragic, John’s candor in retelling his story gives us a glimpse into what really led up to the robbery and hostage situation of Aug.22, 1972, and how this shaped and changed him forever. 100 minutes. Friday, April 11, 9:50 p.m.; Tuesday, April 15, 9:30 p.m. David Goldstein

A Year In Champagne
mspiff14.yearinchampagne.img_.still_-360x200A lovely documentary about how and why people grow the grapes and make the bubbly. Interesting backstage view of the elaborate process and bottling. I still prefer the more comfortable and easily affordable Italian proseco to the arrogant assertion of French superiority in their prized champagne. 82 minutes. Wednesday, April 16, 4:45 p.m.; Thursday, April 17, 7:50 p.m.; Saturday, April 19, 7:10 p.m. Ed Felien

Karaoke Girl
mspiff14.karaokegirl.img_.still1_-360x200Every year, thousands of girls from the countryside arrive in Bangkok, looking for work. Karaoke Girl is the story of one such young woman, Sa, on whose real life this film is based. Shot in a lovely, dreamlike style, Karaoke Girl doesn’t break much new ground, but the portrait of Sa’s life is a nuanced, refreshing and human one, and a welcome respite from the moralism and hedonism that usually frame the debate about sex workers. As Sa herself says, “Women who have never been to Bangkok, and who come here to work … must adapt to the city even through our tears.” 77 minutes. Saturday, April 19, 1:15 p.m. Frank Bures

Aftermath
mspiff14.aftermath.img_.still_.1-360x200Franciszek Kalina returns to Poland after spending two decades in Chicago. He finds his brother Józef at the family farm, abandoned by his wife and children and ostracized by the community for saving Jewish burial stones displaced by Nazi troops. Scenes filmed in almost total darkness punctuate the brothers’ risky, agonizing, gradual discovery of a secret kept in the village since WWII. The truth doesn’t exactly set them free. The ending is unforgettable. Controversial in Poland, “Aftermath” is based on an historical event and set in a fictional Polish village. 107 minutes. Wednesday, April 16, 5:10 p.m. Mary Ann Vincenta

Bicycling With Molière
mspiff14.bicyclingmoliere.img_.still_.1-360x200A delightful, wonderfully acted film that tells the story of Gauthier Valence, a TV actor who travels to a seaside village to seek out a much admired colleague, Serge, who retired in disgust. Valence wants to recruit him for his debut of Moliere’s play, “The Misanthrope,” which is kind of a holy text to the actors. For days they practice in Serge’s country house, arguing over who will play the lead and, in a sense, who’s the real the misanthrope. This picture is complicated when a beautiful Italian divorcee enters their lives, adding another layer to an already multilayered film about friendship, art, love and hate. 104 minutes. Tuesday, April 15, 5 p.m.; Saturday, April 19, 4:40 p.m. Frank Bures

Remembering Nokutela
mspiff14.rememberingnokutela.img_.still_.2-360x200This documentary by Carleton professor Cherif Keita, who hails from Mali, follows his search for the grave of a woman named Nokutela Dube, who died in 1917 and who Keita says paved the way for the liberation of South Africa. Yet while he lists her achievements, Keita never quite makes the case for why we should know her story, relying instead on the assumption that because these things happened in South Africa they have moral weight. The film’s point grows dim through this Mandela-esque haze, and we’re left with an enjoyable home video of the reunion of a family to which we don’t belong. 57 minutes. Wednesday, April 16, 7 p.m. Frank Bures

Salvo
mspiff14.salvo_.img_.still_-360x200Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri plays Salvo, a cold-blooded hit man and driver for a mafia boss in Palermo, Sicily. Few words are spoken, but the sound track is vivid, from machinery and running water to off-camera murder. After fending off an assassination attempt in a shootout, Salvo goes to kill the man behind it, who lives with his beautiful blind sister. Salvo spares her—crossing his boss—and locks her in an abandoned factory. Then it gets complicated. No political context, nothing about “business,” but the sense of place is palpable. Won prizes at Cannes. 104 minutes. In Italian. Monday, April 14, 9:20 p.m.; Friday, April 18, 9:50 p.m. David Rubenstein

App
mspiff14.app_.img_.still_-360x200Anna is a young psychology student at the University of Amsterdam. A sadistic app named Iris appears on her phone and forecasts horrible incidents involving Anna’s friends, family and acquaintances that always become true. Anna becomes enraged and sets out to uncover Iris. Anna is a kindred spirit of Lisbeth in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and just as enjoyable to watch. The interactive app, Iris, can be downloaded at each showing so that you can be part of the movie. Scary and a lot of fun. 75 minutes. In Dutch. Wednesday, April 16, 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 19, 9 p.m. (Northrop Best Buy Auditorium). David Goldstein

Salma
mspiff14.salma_.img_.still_.1-360x200When girls reach puberty in South India, the outside world is forbidden and they are forced to stay at home, locked in. Salma was locked up for nine years until she agreed to marry the man that she was promised to at age 13. But Salma didn’t blindly kowtow to the ages-old traditions of her village, which she thought archaic and misogynistic. She defied the village and became the most famous woman poet in South India. Salma had to write secretly, using scraps of paper she could rummage and then covertly get her poems to a publisher. She says, “The anger was boiling inside me, that’s when I started writing poetry. I had no friends, no one to share my feelings with.” This is truly a heroic, brilliant woman who triumphed against all odds. 89 minutes. In Tamil. Wednesday, April 16, 5 p.m. David Goldstein

Ilo Ilo
mspiff14.iloilo.img_.still_-360x200In this wonderfully subtle, engaging film, a married couple in Singapore has a comfortable, ordinary life with its usual struggles—except for one thing: Their singular joylessness is outstanding. And their out-of-control 10-year-old boy destroys all hope of happiness. They can’t stand their own life. They hire a maid from the Philippines whose life then becomes very difficult. Almost every scene suggests that a calamity is about to happen. But it never does. There are touching moments of relief and even transformation. It’s a movie that stays with you for days. 96 minutes. In Mandarin. Thursday, April 17, 4:40 p.m. Mary Ann Vincenta

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