FilmColumbia Announces World-Class Films  for 2015 Festival

FilmColumbia, the local international film festival offering a roster of films from all over the world for seven days this October, announces notable films screening at the 16th annual festival October 19-25 in Hudson and Chatham, New York. FilmColumbia will present thirty-two narrative features and seven documentaries from countries including Bengal, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Norway and Thailand, many of them prize-winners and jury or audience favorites from major international film festivals.

Festival Executive Director Peter Biskind comments, ®Larry Kardish, our invaluable co-programmer with impeccable taste, spends most of his time going from festival to festival, including Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, Toronto, and New York, identifying and then securing the year’s best films. He’s already working on 2016!”

For complete film, ticket and event information, visit http://www.filmcolumbia.org.

This year’s most-anticipated international films include:

Italian director Nanni Moretti’s “Mia Madre,” which opens the festival (Chatham, Crandell Theatre, 10/19 7pm), starring John Turturro as a temperamental movie star driving director Margherita Buy crazy. Played the Cannes Film Festival.

“Mr. Moretti has a habit of crossing the line from pathos to bathos, but he imbues this movie with such honest sentiment that he can evoke a lifetime of feeling with just the shot of an empty chair.” —Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Cemetery of Splendor” (Chatham, Crandell Theatre, 10/20 12:00pm), by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 with “Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall Past Lives,” as well as numerous prizes at the Venice and Berlin Film Festivals. His works are deeply steeped in Khmer myth and prepare the audience to visit a nether world made visible.

“A tale involving sleeping sickness that’s also a highly personal reflection on Thailand’s tortuous history.”—Nicolas Rapold, New York Times

“Brooklyn” (Chatham, Crandell Theatre, 10/22 8:30pm), director John Crowley’s old fashioned, emotion filled movie based on Colm Toibin’s bestseller about a young Irish woman (Saoirse Ronan) who must choose between two men and the countries they represent–one Irish and one American. Played the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals.

“[‘Brooklyn’] is a quiet, observant movie, with an aversion to melodrama and a sense of the ordinary that recalls old films like ‘Marty,’ and its gentle nostalgia feels honest and unforced. Ms. Ronan, who as a child actor often seemed wise beyond her years, depicts the arrival of maturity with breathtaking poise and sensitivity.—A.O. Scott, New York Times

“May Mountains Depart” (Chatham, Crandell Theatre, 10/23 2:30pm), a fast-paced triptych drama about China that begins in the recent past and races into the future with a final episode that is shot, daringly, for the most part in English by Jia Zhang-ke, one of the world’s leading filmmakers. Played the Toronto Film Festival.

“Once again, Mr. Jia takes the pulse of China, this time by taking stock of its past, its present and possible future in a story about an entrepreneur, a coal miner and the woman who chooses one over the other.”—Manohla Dargis, New York Times

French director Stéphane Brizé’s “Measure of a Man” (Chatham, Crandell Theatre, 10/23 5:00pm), for which French film actor Vincent Lindon won Best Actor at Cannes this year for his performance as Thierry in this film that literally translates as “Law of the Market” – the French law which allows companies to fire workers to increase profits. Also played the New York Film Festival.

“Vincent Lindon plays a Frenchman struggling to support his family and maintain his dignity after being laid off from his job. His story plays out in a series of extended scenes, some tense and emotional, others matter-of-fact, all of them anchored by Mr. Lindon’s Everyman stoicism, which grows more heartbreaking at every moment. Mr. Brizé’s film at times feels less like a work of art than a window onto life.”—A.O. Scott, New York Times

“Dheepan” (Chatham, Crandell Theatre, 10/24 4pm) by Jacques Audiard, considered the French Martin Scorcese, who was awarded the Palme d’Or, Cannes’ top prize, by the Coen brothers, joint presidents of the international jury, for this timely film about a Tamil freedom fighter fleeing Sri Lanka who finds two fellow refugees in a migrant camp and improvises a family in order to enter France.

“[Audiard] holds you with performances and jolts of tenderness and violence. The ending of ‘Dheepan,’ set in a pastoral British backyard, reads as a savage critique of France’s immigration policies.” —Manohla Dargis, New York Times

“Taxi,” also known as “Taxi Teheran” (Chatham, Crandell Theatre, 10/24 6:30pm), a portrait of today’s Teheran by director, producer, star, cameraman and editor Jafar Panahi, currently under a twenty-year filmmaking ban for “propaganda against the Islamic Republic” and winner of this year’s Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Also played Telluride, Toronto and New York film festivals.

“[‘Taxi’] is a film that operates on many levels — as a meditation on cinema, a rebuke to the Iranian leadership, a celebration of the verve of the country’s citizens — but that also wears its seriousness lightly, even when the stakes are high.”—Rachel Donadio, New York Times

“Heart of a Dog” (Hudson, Hudson Lodge, 10/24 8:30pm; Chatham, Crandell Theatre, 10/25 7:00pm), Renaissance woman Laurie Anderson creates a mélange of interlocked meditations on childhood, 9/11, the surveillance state, her late husband Lou Reed and storytelling itself, ranging from the delicate to the dazzling. Played Telluride and Toronto film festivals.

“A philosophically astute, emotionally charged meditation on death, love, art and dogs.”—A.O. Scott, New York Times

“Son of Saul” (Chatham, Crandell Theatre, 10/25 2:30pm), the controversial hit of this year’s Cannes Film Festival by first-time Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes, focuses on a Sondercommando at Auschwitz, tasked with cleaning up the atrocities performed on his own people, yet determined to provide a proper Jewish burial for a young boy. Won Nemes the Best Director award at Cannes, and also played New York, Telluride, and Toronto film festivals.

“Mr. Nemes’s technical virtuosity is evident every meticulously lighted, composed and shot step of the way.”—Manohla Dargis, New York Times

And FilmColumbia’s treat for area kids, the International Children’s Short Program, an array of short films from around the world curated by Patti Greaney of Giraldi Media, NYC, playing this year in both Chatham (Crandell Theatre, 10/24 10:00am) and Hudson (Hudson Opera House, 10/24, 3pm), with free admission sponsored by Hudson Valley Bank and Trust Company Foundation.

FilmColumbia is a weeklong festival dedicated to showing world-class independent and international films right on Main Street. Hosted by Chatham Film Club, the festival consistently offers its audiences early looks at films that go on to win critical approval and awards, such as last year’s “Birdman,” “The Imitation Game,” “Foxcatcher” and “Wild.” Programmed by Executive Director Peter Biskind, author and film historian, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and past executive editor of Premiere Magazine; Laurence Kardish, senior curator emeritus for film and media at MoMA; and festival Director Calliope Nicholas—all local residents— FilmColumbia gives film patrons in the Hudson Valley the inside track on front-runners months before they are released to general audiences. Films are shown at the historic Crandell Theatre, a jewel of a 1920s single-screener owned and operated by the Chatham Film Club. Additional venues include the Morris Venue in Chatham, Hudson Lodge and Hudson Opera House in Hudson, all centrally located and easily accessible. http://www.filmcolumbia.org.