The 2012 Dallas International Film Festival begins its 11-day festival season on Wednesday, April 12, with a programming schedule that includes 111 films representing 27 countries. Here’s a short list of Movie Ink‘s recommended viewing:
Alps (4:15pm, April 13 and 7:30pm, April 20, Angelika Film Center)
Greek filmmaker Giorgos Lanthimos’ follow-up to the controversial, Academy Award-nominated Dogtooth is more accessible, less infuriating, but just as surreal and compelling. A savage black comedy about a quartet of well-meaning but thoroughly unhinged people who moonlight as stand-ins for the recently deceased, with some pointed commentary on Greece’s current situation.
Still Life (10:30pm, April 15, Angelika Film Center; and 4pm, April 18, The Magnolia)
Austrian first-time director Sebastian Meise’s unsettling story of a family that begins to unravel when the son Bernhard (Christopher Luser) discovers his father (Fritz Hortenhuber) has not only been visiting a prostitute, but paying her to impersonate Bernhard’s sister, Lydia (Daniela Golpashin), during their trysts. Meise wisely avoids melodrama as he follows each of the family members over a 24-hour period as they struggle to cope with the revelation.
The Salt of Life (10:30pm, April 17 and 4pm, April 18, The Magnolia)
Italian writer-director-actor Gianni Di Gregorio’s sequel to his 2010 directorial debut, Mid-August Lunch. Just as endearing, charming, and warm-hearted as its predecessor, The Salt of Life finds
Gianni feeling less than engaged by retirement, and more than a little invisible to women as he enters into his 60s. A soulful, funny look at a hapless man dealing as gracefully as he can with loneliness and mortality.
America’s Parking Lot (1:45pm, April 14 and 5pm, April 16, Angelika Film Center)
One of the most surefire documentary movie formulas is to find a follow a group of eccentrics for a revelatory period of time. (Which reminds us — Grey Gardens is screening this week.) Jonny Mars scores in that area with this fascinating doc about Cy and Tiger, two die-hard Dallas Cowboys fans and leaders of the legendary Gate 6 Tailgate Party spending their last season with the Dallas Cowboys at historic Texas Stadium. Football is religion in Texas, and when America’s Team relocates to the suburbs, the move threaten to dissolve the friendships and traditions these blue-collar tailgaters have built over 20 years.
Wolf (12:30pm, April 14, The Magnolia; and 10:15pm, April 18, Angelika Film Center)
Filmed on location in San Antonio, rising filmmaker Ya’Ke Smith’s drama fearlessly and carefully tackles a hot-button topic. Emerging from a tough period, a married couple (Mikala Gibson and Shelton Jolivette) with a strong sense of faith rocked by the revelation that their son (Jordan Cooper) was molested by the bishop of their church (Eugene Lee), a man who has served as a father figure to the child. A moving story told with depth and distinct lack of sensationalism.
Robocop (7:30pm, April 21, The Texas Theatre)
For closing night, DIFF and the Dallas Film Commission present a 25th anniversary screening of one of the biggest, baddest, most rip-roaring movies ever filmed in Texas. A brilliant blend of satire, science fiction, and a bit of the ol’ ultra-violence by notorious Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, Robocop was a bit of ’80s excess that defied conventional wisdom by proving that a work of genre schlock could also be a work of art. Members of the cast and crew are expected to attend.