The 23rd edition of the film festival shines the limelight on the California desert resort city through January 16.
What do George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Charlize Theron, Michelle Williams and 130,000 other mere mortals have in common? They’re all attending the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which opened today and through January 16th, will screen 188 films from 73 countries. Most likely you will not find yourself standing in line with Clooney or sitting beside Theron while watching a movie, but the celebrities will be on glamorous display during Saturday evening’s Black Tie Awards Gala. Tickets may be pricey, but it costs nothing to ogle the film icons during their red-carpet arrivals and departures.
However, for my money, the real stars are the foreign films (including 40 of the 63 titles submitted to the Academy Awards Best Foreign-Language category). The Festival presents 78 World Cinema films from Western Europe, Egypt, India, China, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Colombia, Pakistan, South Africa, and more. The pro-democracy uprisings of the Arab Spring are noticeably reflected in the rapid increase of film production from various Arab nations. In the special series Arabian Nights, which pays homage to 11 new Middle Eastern films, PSFF proves that its political-cinematic heart is in the right place.
Palm Springs International Film Festival highlights include:
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, starring Emily Blunt as local sheik’s aid, and Ewan McGregor, as a fisheries scientist, opens the Festival
The Kid with a Bike features an unlikely friendship between the angry 11-year-old protagonist and a compassionate woman who befriends him.
A Separation casts a revealing light on contemporary Iranian society.
José and Pilar explores the poignant relationship between a Portuguese Nobel Prize-winning author and his firebrand Spanish wife.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within uncovers a web of corruption among police against Rio’s drug gangs.
Advance tickets for all films and events are available online 24 hours a day at www.psfilmfest.org or by phone 1-800-898-7256
Cathleen Rountree is a Culture Journalist, focusing on travel, food, film, art, and women’s interests.
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