Aspen Filmfest slate offers reprieve from dog days of summer
August 30, 2011
ASPEN – Aspen Filmfest has been moved up a week on the calendar this year, meaning that the middle day of the 33rd edition of Filmfest – Sept. 23 – also marks the day on which summer crosses into fall. It makes for a neat metaphor: as summer ends, and with it the heavy load of kid-oriented movies about superheroes and vampires, in come the more serious days of autumn, Aspen Filmfest and its lineup of more pensive material.
Among the topics to be explored at Aspen Filmfest 2011 – set for Sept. 21-25, with programs in Aspen and Carbondale – are cancer, establishing an education system in Africa, the bittersweet flavor of young romance, apocalyptic visions, and war. Even the films on the lighter side explore such subjects as competition, adapting to changed circumstances, and the early life of the German philosopher Goethe. Actors appearing on screen include Ralph Fiennes, Carol Channing, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rob Reiner, Seth Rogen, Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon.
English-language feature films to screen include “Take Shelter,” about a man confronting whether he is a bigger threat to his family than the apocalyptic storms he believes are coming; “50/50,” a comedic drama with Rogen, Howard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt about a young man with cancer; the bittersweet romance “Like Crazy,” a Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner starring Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek”) and Felicity Jones (“The Tempest”); and an adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy “Coriolanus,” in which Fiennes stars and makes his directorial debut.
Documentaries in the “True Stories” segment include “Undefeated,” about a Memphis high school football team attempting to win its first playoff game; “Carol Channing: Larger Than Life,” a profile of the 90-year-old Broadway icon whose career began in 1941; “Building Hope,” about establishing the first high school in a region of rural Kenya; “Wild Horse, Wild Ride,” a wide-angle look at the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge horse-training event; “Somewhere Between,” an exploration of Chinese girls adopted into American families; and “These Amazing Shadows,” about the National Film Registry.
Foreign films in the World Cinema segment include a trio of French productions – “The Artist,” a dialogue-free, black-and-white tribute to the Hollywood of the 1920s; the lighthearted “The Women on the 6th Floor,” about an uptight stockbroker whose life is affected by the arrival of a new Spanish maid; and the comedy “Romantics Anonymous,” about the relationship between a awkward businessman and a shy artisan – the Venezuelan movie “Hermano,” about a pair of soccer-mad teenagers whose lives are at a crossroads; and “Young Goethe in Love,” a historical drama starring Alexander Fehling (“Inglourious Basterds”) as the struggling young poet, Johann Wolfgang van Goethe.
Among the guests who will be in attendance are Kurt Norton, director of “These Amazing Shadows”; Turk and Christy Pipkin of “Building Hope”; Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus, directors of “Wild Horse, Wild Ride”; and Linda Goldstein Knowlton, director of “Somewhere Between.”
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Filmfest 2011 will also present the Surprise Film, and a sneak preview of a foreign-language film by an Oscar-nominated director.
Tickets for Filmfest go on sale Friday, Sept. 2. A locals special, with four movie tickets (for Aspen screenings only) for $50, will be available Sept. 2-5. The full program is available at aspenfilm.org.