The 27th Annual Philadelphia Film Festival starts this Thursday, October 18. Per usual, the festival’s curators scoured international film festivals, from Sundance to Berlin to Cannes and Toronto, to bring some of the buzziest, most critically acclaimed films, and groundbreaking filmmakers from across the world to our local theaters. This year films will be screened at the Philadelphia Film Center (formerly known as the The Prince theater), Ritz A, Ritz B and Ritz 5. Here are our picks for the 10 can’t miss films from this year’s festival. Tickets are $15, admittance to some screenings are free courtesy of PFS.
DIR. LUKAS DHONT | BELGIUM, THE NETHERLANDS | DUTCH | 2018 | 105 MIN
This captivating and compassionate award-winning breakout film from Cannes follows determined teen Lara as she enters a prestigious ballet academy and anxiously awaits her gender affirmation surgery.
Fri Oct 19 2:15 p.m. at Ritz East B
DIR. PETER FARRELLY | USA | ENGLISH | 2018 | 130 MIN
Starring Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Viggo Mortensen (Lord of the Rings), this crowd pleaser picked up the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. In his foray into powerfully dramatic work as a feature director, Peter Farrelly helms the film inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line.
Fri Oct 19 6:00 p.m. at Philadelphia Film Center
DIR. ASGHAR FARHADI | SPAIN | ENGLISH, SPANISH| 2018 | 132 MIN
Starring Academy Award winners Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, and directed by Asghar Farhadi (A Separation). When a wedding celebration erupts in tragedy, old wounds and long grudges bubble to the surface in this riveting mystery.
Fri Oct 19 8:45 p.m. at Philadelphia Film Center
DIR. HIROKAZU KORE-EDA | JAPAN | JAPANESE |2018 | 121 MIN
This year’s magnificent Cannes Palme d’Or winner from the legendary Hirokazu Kore-eda (Nobody Knows) is a powerful tale of a ragtag, loving family surviving by any means necessary after taking in an abandoned child.
Sat Oct 20 2:40 p.m. at Ritz East B
DIR. STEVE MCQUEEN | USA | ENGLISH | 2018 | 128 MIN
Steve McQueen follows up his Academy Award-winning 12 YEARS A SLAVE with a gripping thriller about four women (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Eviro) left with no options other than to pull off a daring multi-million dollar heist. This female-fronted heist flick was co-written by GONE GIRL and SHARP OBJECTS author Gillian Flynn.
Sat Oct 20 7:20 p.m. at Philadelphia Film Center
DIR. NIA DACOSTA | USA | ENGLISH | 2018 | 105 MIN
Starring Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, Creed) and written and directed by Nia DaCosta, this film is a reimagining of a traditional Western and centers a female storyline. In North Dakota, two estranged sisters are driven to extremes when their mother dies, leaving them with one week to pay back her mortgage. Jeopardizing the final days of her parole, the defeated Ollie (Thompson) makes one last illegal trip across the Canadian border with her estranged sister (Lily James) to save themselves and the ones they love. Admittance to this screening is FREE.
Sat Oct 20 10:20 p.m. at Ritz Five | Tues Oct 23 6:45 p.m. at Ritz Five
DIR. ALFONSO CUARÓN | MEXICO | MIXTECO, SPANISH | 2018 | 135 MIN
Iconoclastic auteur Alfonso Cuarón returns to motion pictures for the first time since 2013’s GRAVITY (for which he won Academy Awards for directing and editing) with his most personal film yet— a masterwork for the ages that begs to be seen on the big screen (Netflix will premiere it in December). In 1970s Mexico City, two domestic workers help a mother of four while her husband is away for an extended period of time. This movie has so far been an international festival favorite, racking up awards, garnering five-star reviews and standing ovations. Mexico has officially selected it for their submission to the 91st Academy Awards.
Sun Oct 21 4:30 p.m. at Philadelphia Film Center
DIR. CRISTINA GALLEGO, CIRO GUERRA |COLOMBIA, DENMARK, MEXICO | ENGLISH, SPANISH, WAYUU | 2018 | 125 MIM
The origins of the Colombian drug trade, as seen through eyes of an indigenous Wayuu family that becomes involved in the booming business of selling marijuana to American youth in the 1970s.
Sun Oct 21 7:15 p.m. at Ritz East B
DIR. BARRY JENKINS | USA | ENGLISH | 2018 | 117 MIN
Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), returns with this achingly beautiful James Baldwin adaptation about young lovers struggling against the unjust circumstances threatening to keep them apart. This movie is another one that’s also racking up a ton of praise and great reviews; an early Oscar contender along with Caurón’s ROMA.
Wed Oct 24 6:00 p.m. at Philadelphia Film Center
DIR. WANURI KAHIU | KENYA | ENGLISH, SWAHILI | 2018 | 83 MIN
Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives,” but Kena and Ziki long for something more. When love blossoms between them, the two girls will be forced to choose between happiness and safety. Despite being the first Kenyan film to debut at Cannes, this LGBTQ romance was banned from screening in its home country (same-sex marriage is banned under the national constitution) until the director filed an appeal and won. The movie will get a seven-day screening run in its home country in order to qualify for Oscar contention in the Best Foreign Film category.
Sat Oct 27 10:00 p.m. at Ritz East A | Sun Oct 27 10:30 p.m. at Ritz East A