It’s that time of year again in the City by the Sea, when attention turns from mansions to movie screens. The 9th Annual Newport International Film Festival takes place June 6-11, with 15 narrative features, 25 documentaries, and 32 short films, and the opening and closing night galas, plus panel discussions with filmmakers, a comedy improv night, and films for children.
AT THE END OF HIS ROPE? Alex Karpovsky messes with the “facts” in The Hole Story.
Documentaries are particularly emphasized this year, including two sidebars focusing one on immigration and the visual arts. The artists profiled are Hugues de Montalembert, who lost his eyesight during an attack in New York City; Tina Barney, the Rhode Island-based photographer of the upper classes; Purvis Young, who taught himself to paint while in prison; and photographer Sally Mann, controversial for her poses of adolescent girls and her own pre-adolescent children.
Immigration-related films include Maquilapolis, dealing with sweatshops just over the Mexican border; The Other Side, which examines the hopes and fears of potential immigrants; and Crossing Arizona, about the deadly human smuggling situation on the Mexico border.
Opening the festival is Quinceanera, which won both the dramatic grand jury prize and the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Set in the Los Angeles Chicano community, the family drama deals with the traditional Mexican passage into womanhood. The closing night film is Champions, a comedy about three dysfunctional men trying to prove their manhood on a week in the countryside.
Individual tickets are $10; opening and closing night films are $20 (discount passes are available). The box office at 17 Touro Street will open at noon on June 2. Further information is available at 401.851.6963 and www.newportfilmfestival.com.
The 15 narrative features this year range from four children’s films, including one about a kid brother who turns into a dog, to the seriousness of The Road to Guantanamo, about three British citizens held for two years in the prison without charges. To give a sense of the variety, here are four films that run the storytelling gamut from the horrific to the hilarious.
13 (Tzameti) (France, 2005)
Thursday, June 8 | 9:30 pm | Jane Pickens
Saturday, June 10 | 9:30 pm | Opera House 2
This gritty black-and-white thriller took the World Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year. Written and directed by Georgian emigre Gela Babluani, the film makes the mystery of where it’s going as engrossing as where it violently gets to. Trying for truthful existential tension rather than cheap thrills, the sub-titled film first gets us interested in a young Everyhomme. Sebastien (George Babluani), a workingman hired to repair a roof, comes across a mystifying chance to make a lot of money and can’t resist the opportunity. He finds an envelope, addressed to his abruptly deceased client, which contains a train ticket, a paid hotel reservation, and nothing else. For the first half-hour, everything is all very cloak and dagger, but things quickly get unromantically Tarantino for Sebastien at his destination, with its bloody, drawn-out, and equally suspenseful enterprise.