The award-winning Phoenix Film Festival arrives in-person from Aug. 12 through 22 at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 for 11 days and nights of fabulous features, docs, and shorts. The PFF is our critic’s hometown festival, so he’ll be watching – and talking about – movies every day.
If you live close by and feel safe going to theatres again, we recommend that you stop in to catch a flick or 2, or 20.
“200 Meters” – Ali Suliman plays a Palestinian living on one side of the West Bank wall, while his family lives on the other. Director Ameen Nayfeh’s film unfolds in unexpected, troubling, but also refreshing ways.
“After Love” – A British widow (Joanna Scanlan) tries to cope with her sudden loss, but discovers her late husband’s enormous secret and travels to France to learn more. Terrific performances across the board.
“Surge” – Ben Whishaw is perfectly cast as a British airport security employee who loses it and runs rampant in London. A twisted, stripped-down psychological thriller.
“The Forbidden Strings” – Director Hasan Noori discovers an Iranian rock band – with Afghani roots – who desperately wishes to play a concert in their home country, but that’s easier said than done.
“Love It Was Not” – Concentration camp survivor Helena Citron retells her story of an SS soldier who was in love with her. The tale doesn’t end when the war does.
“Red Heaven” – Six people agree to live in a 1,200-square-foot biosphere for a one year NASA study, and directors Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe capture all of it. Imagine being confined with your college roommate for 365 days straight, let alone five strangers.
“Try Harder!” – A fascinating insider’s look at a prestigious San Francisco high school and all the pressure put on the kids to get into the best universities.