Porterfield’s Picks: New Maryland Film Festival Sensibility?

At the end of a recent interview, Matt Porterfield told me the films he most wanted to see at the Maryland Film Festival were “Dogtooth” (left), “Daddy Longlegs,” “Mama,” “Liverpool,” “Total Recall,” and “Cold Weather.” These are identical to the top picks the youngest MFF programmers, Eric Hatch and Scott Braid, listed for me a month ago.

Maybe what we’re hearing from today is a new movie generation with its own shared sensibility. This sensibility unites the intimate naturalism of “mumblecore” movies; David Lynch’s intuitive explorations of hidden worlds; and the formalist obsessions of a group J. Hoberman has called “the New Realists or the New Depressives.” And, for entertainment value, a sprinkling of nostalgia for overblown 1990s schlock like “Total Recall.”

Programming director Hatch particularly championed Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos’ “Dogtooth”. He felt it conjured a David Lynchian aura as it told the tale of a father who confines his three teenagers to their rural home (a gated community for one family). Programming administrator Scott Braid had a special fondness for the Russian husband-and-wife team Yelena Renard and Nikolay Renard’s “Mama.” This film has been called Lynchian, too, for its painterly exploration of the complex tensions between a mother and her massively obese 40-year-old son. Hatch also made a pitch for “Liverpool,” admiring its long-take style and its willingness to test the audience’s patience.

Everybody, including festival director Jed Dietz, loved “Daddy Longlegs,” which stars one of the “mumblecore” movement’s biggest talents, “Frownland” filmmaker Ronald Bronstein, as a divorced Manhattan projectionist who lives a careless bohemian existence even when his two grade-school boys stay with him for two weeks. And Aaron Katz’s “Cold Weather” was hailed at South by Southwest by a critic for Slant as a mumblecore film “with polish, wit, and impeccable comedic timing,” and an unusual Sherlock Homes-style plot.

It should be provocative fun to see how this multifaceted new sensibility interacts with the traditional documentaries and narrative features that fill much of the program at this diverse and inclusive festival.

As the festival kicks off, what are you looking forward to?

By. Michael Sragow taken from : weblogs.baltimoresun.com

One response to “Porterfield’s Picks: New Maryland Film Festival Sensibility?

  1. thanks for your information

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