I spent the last few days at the Palm Springs International Film Festival for the second year in a row. I had gone to Sundance for about 8 years and I think the last time I went it was in the low single digits in Park City at the same time that the Palm Springs Festival (a week or so earlier) was in the 70s and 80s. Granted the movies are not always of the same caliber as those at Sundance, but it is easier to get in to see the movies since I can order tickets online without having to go through the Sundance lottery procedure only to find no online tickets available by the time my number rolled around. That meant standing in long lines freezing hoping against hope to get into a movie that I really wanted to see. From now on it is Palm Springs for me!
This year I saw seven films over the three days and I can honestly say that five of those seven were winners. What I mean by "winner" is that the film was good enough to be brought to the big screen. Sadly, most of these independent films will never see a theater screen but may be released on video. I certainly hope so. Here are my thoughts on these interesting and psychologically relevant movies. I put them in the order of my preference.
Of the last two movies Gypsy (called "Cigan" in Czech) did hold my attention for a short while but I rapidly tired of the message that gypsys are different and have a tough life and are discriminated against by white people. That just wasn't enough to hold my attention for the entire film. The final film, titled Expiration Date in English (and Fecha de Caducidad in Spanish) just did not interest me. The plot was a standard one where someone is missing and some people know he is dead while his mother still holds hope that he will return. In the meantime the mother is involved with several others who .... Nah, never mind. The plot is really not worth the space here.
I am hoping to visit the festival next year and perhaps even stay longer to see more movies. I think it does a great job of putting the "international" into a film festival with 187 movies from 73 countries and I only wish that I could see them all.