Oct 102002
Authors: Eric Patton

This year marks the 25th anniversary for the Denver International Film Festival. The Denver Film Society hosts the annual festival at the Denver Center of Performing Arts in celebration of this expressive art form.

The festival’s opening events begin Thursday, October 10th and this kicks off the ten day screening of many local and international films. The last day to view any of those being shown is Sunday, October 20th.

The Denver Film Society, a non-profit organization, conceived the idea of an International Film Festival in 1977. They wished to bring a plethora of genres, including documentary, animation, feature and short films, to Denver and met monster success.

There are about eighty films being shown this year, as usual every year, but several features that I feel deserve a special mention or special note for you to go and see.

“White Oleander,” based on the novel of the same name, is the story of a young girl who is subject to numerous foster homes because of her mother’s decision to poison a cruel boyfriend. This coming of age story is geared toward women, and is a sentimental tear-jerking story. It stars Renee Zellweger, Robin Wright-Penn, Alison Lohman and Michelle Pfieffer.

“Ice Storm” is a previously released film that is actually coming back to the Denver festival. It is the gripping tale of upper-middle class couples whose sexual and emotional secrets are blatantly exposed. Directed by Ang Lee.

“Lost In La Mancha” is actually an un-making of a documentary, the first of its kind. This documentary was made to show the harsh realities of making a film. Its main focus is drawn upon Terry Gilliam’s (Gilliam of the Monty Python troop) failure to bring the film, “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” to the big screen.

“Bowling for Columbine” is anther documentary featured this year at the festival. This documentary was written and directed by Michael Moore, the director who helped bring us the comedy “Canadian Bacon.” This is reported as an emotional and somewhat humorous look at the American obsession with guns and violence. It features Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson, Dick Clark, Matt Stone and the actual security tapes from Columbine High School from that fearful day, April 20th.

A winner of an honorary award at the film festival in 1989 returns this year in wake of its director’s monumental success. Steven Soderbergh’s debut film, “Sex, Lies and Videotapes” features James Spader (“Stargate”) and Andie MacDowell (“Groundhog Day).

An Oscar winning film, “The Piano,” will be shown on several different dates. This is, in my opinion, a drab and slow story but was worthy of Oscar, so you may want to check it out. It features Sam Neil, Holly Hunter, Anna Paquin and Harvey Keitel.

The film I am most anticipating from this festival and its upcoming release is Paul Thomas (P.T) Anderson’s newest film, “Punch-Drunk Love,” starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Anderson has not let me down yet, his previous releases being “Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights,” both with Hoffman in the cast. It is to be a romantic comedy with Anderson’s signature style of twists, sharp dialogue and whimsical events. Let us pray this one does not put an end to Anderson’s high batting average.

The full list of films and full schedule is available at www.DenverFilm.org. They are always subject to change without notice, so please either call or check the website before making a trip down to Denver. All films this year will be shown at the Denver Center for Performing Arts and then will be moved to the Starz Center at the Tivoli for the 2003 festival. There are also six mainstream movies being released this weekend, so enjoy this next week, which should be abundant with great film.

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