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LoquaciousMuse

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Loquaciousmuse was raised in Los Angeles by a family obsessed with films, tv, comics, books, music and video games. Thus, she is also obsessed with these things. So it goes.

AFI Fest 2011: Our Most Anticipated Films

Starting today in Los Angeles is the 2011 AFI Festival, a film fest held in Hollywood, CA that features a collection of the most talked about films from fests all over the world, along with a handful of premieres and programming from guest Artistic Director, Pedro Almodovar. AFI Fest is an especially rockin’ place to catch the best of World Cinema, being the only festival in the US to hold FIAPF accreditation. With an extensive list of films being screened, we’ve decided to sift through them and present our 18 most anticipated of the fest. Some of these still have tickets available, so Los Angeles, get on it!

Note: No films I have previously seen are listed in this preview, but I highly recommend checking out Melancholia and The Loneliest Planet at the fest if you have the chance.

Extraterrestrial
Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo follows up 2008′s Time Crimes with this romantic comedy set against an alien invasion backdrop. This sounds like precisely my kind of movie.
Where you might have seen it previously: Toronto, Fantastic Fest
Tickets still available? Yes

This Is Not A Film
An account of one day in the life of director Jafar Panahi as he tries to overturn his sentence from the Iranian government that prevents him from leaving the country and making films. Yes, you read that right, Panahi has been forbidden from filmmaking for twenty years by the government of Iran, which is why this documentary, shot on an iPhone, is “not a film”, even though from what I hear, it’s one of the best films of the year.
Where you might have seen it previously: Cannes, NYFF
Ticket still available? Check today

Miss Bala
Mexico’s official Foreign Language Oscar entry about a beauty queen who gets mixed up with Mexican drug cartels of which I have been hearing nothing but raves. I cannot see this quickly enough.
Where you might have seen it before: Cannes, Toronto, NYFF
Tickets still available? Check today

Target (Mishen)
It’s a two and a half hour Russian film set in a dystopian future where if you’re rich enough, you can have access to a “fountain of youth” of sorts. Kind of like In Time, but with less Justin Timberlake and more, if the trailer is any indication, quality filmmaking.
Where you might have seen it previously: Berlin
Tickets still available? Yes

Carré Blanc
Another dystopian sci-fi film! The plot description is at once so revealing and disturbing, I almost don’t want to write anything on what the film is actually about here. It only clocks in at 80 minutes, so why not take a chance and see it blind?
Where you might have seen it previously: Toronto, Fantastic Fest
Tickets still available? Check back the 4th and 8th

The Dish And The Spoon
Greta Gerwig plays a woman who, coming off of discovering her husband’s affair and eager for revenge, befriends a British teenage boy and an unconventional romance possibly ensues.
Where you might have seen it previously: SXSW, San Francisco, London
Tickets still available? Check back the 4th and the 5th

Pina
The official Foreign Language Oscar selection from Germany, this documentary from Wim Wenders (Buena Vista Social Club, Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire) chronicles the art of the late choreographer Pina Bausch, complete with interviews from her dancers and most importantly, the dances themselves, showing off an innovative and beautiful use of 3D. I normally am not one for watching dance, but I suspect this film may blow apart any preconceived notions I may have about my understanding of the art form.
Where you might have seen it previously: Berlin, Telluride, Toronto, NYFF
Tickets still available? Yes

Kill List
A film I’ve managed to only hear described as “damn” and “holy shit”, it’s about a former hitman who gets back into the business when he can’t handle the day to day pressures of suburban dadhood.
Where you might have seen it previously: SXSW, Toronto
Tickets still available? Check back the 4th and 5th

Into The Abyss
A new documentary from Werner Herzog that follows a man on death row convicted of a triple homicide, examining murder and the death penalty, bringing this controversial issue front and center.
Where you might have seen it previously: Toronto
Tickets still available? Check back the 5th and 6th

Footnote
The official Foreign Language Oscar pick from Israel, I may have some bias going on here, having been to Israel this summer, but there is no way I’m not seeing this film. It’s about the rivalry between a father and son, both professors at Hebrew University, and I hear it’s dramatic and funny in all the right ways and is emerging as an unexpected crowd-pleaser. Also worth noting that this film swept the Israeli Film Awards and director Joseph Cedar’s film, Beaufort nabbed an Oscar nod in its year.
Where you might have seen it previously: Cannes (Palme d’Or for Screenplay), Toronto
Tickets still available? Check back the 5th

Coriolanus
So, I’m a Shakespeare nut, and this is one of his few plays I’m not *that* familiar with, despite being positive that I saw it at San Diego’s Old Globe at some point in my youth, so I’m thrilled to see this film adaptation, which also marks Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut. If you’re making a point of seeing every 2011 release featuring Jessica Chastain, make sure you don’t miss out here, as she co-stars alongside Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler and Brian Cox.
Where you might have seen it previously: Berlin (out of competition) and Belgrade
Tickets still available? Yes

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Sure, it might seem a little weird that one of my most anticipated films is a documentary about sushi, but GUYS, it’s a DOCUMENTARY about SUSHI!!! More specifically about 85-year-old sushi master, Jiro Ono, who owns what is known as the best sushi restaurant in Japan, and his son who will soon take over the business, set to a score by Philip Glass. I’m already planning my post-Jiro Dreams of Sushi sushi dinner.
Where you might have seen it previously: Tribeca
Tickets still available? Yes

Jeff Who Lives At Home
The Duplass’ Brothers follow up to a movie I was a huge fan of last year, Cyrus, Jeff Who Lives at Home stars Jason Segel as a slacker who ends up on a search of sorts for the meaning of life.  Also starring Judy Greer, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon, I’m all kinds of excited for this movie. I thought Jonah Hill was outstanding in Cyrus, paving the way for a series of more dramatic roles coming his way, and I’m looking forward to seeing how a similar situation will be handled by funny man Segel.
Where you might have seen it previously: Toronto
Tickets still available? Yes

The Artist
The black and white silent film set in 1927 Hollywood that I already feel like I’ve been hearing about for eternity, comes to AFI Fest in one of their Gala screenings. The film is being almost universally praised and is currently on track with The Descendants and War Horse as a shoe-in for a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.
Where you might have seen it previously: NYFF, Hollywood Film Fest (Spotlight Award, Jean Dujardin & Berenice Bejo), Cannes (Best Actor, Jean Dujardin), Hamptons (Audience Award, Best Narrative Feature)
Tickets still available? Check back the 7th

Kid With a Bike
The new film from the Dardenne brothers about a young boy abandoned by his parents that is unfortunately not the Foreign Language Oscar pick from Belgium (that honor goes to Bullhead, also playing AFI), I’ve heard this film is nothing short of wonderful.
Where you might have seen it previously: Cannes (Grand Prix Winner), Toronto, NYFF, Telluride
Tickets still available? Yes

Shame
Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan play siblings in Steve McQueen’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Hunger, this time tackling the subject of sex addiction. Of all of the Galas at AFI Fest, this is the one I want to attend most and is perhaps my most anticipated film of the entire fall season.
Where you might have seen it previously: Toronto, London and Venice (CinemAvvenire Award and FIPRESCI Prize for the film, Volpi Cup for Fassbender)
Tickets still available: Check back on the 8th

Alps
The next film from Yorgos Lanthimos, the man behind last years Dogtooth, Alps is about a group of people who provide a service for the grieving where they “inhabit the role of the dearly departed”. It provides me with much comfort to know if I don’t get into the gala for Shame, I can go see Alps, playing only once, simultaneously to Shame, instead.
Where you might have seen it previously: Venice (Won the Golden Osella for Screenplay), Toronto
Tickets still available? Check back on the 8th

We Need To Talk About Kevin
Tilda Swinton plays the mother of a son who went on a killing spree at his school, trying to deal with the reality of something so horrifying. Talk is Swinton gives a phenomenal performance, and this being director Lynne Ramsay’s first film in nine years, with music by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, it’s no surprise this was one of the first films of AFI to sell out.
Where you might have seen it previously: Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, Fantastic Fest
Tickets still available? Check back the 8th and 9th

For constant updates about the fest, check out their tumblr and be sure to check back here on the 11th for our Best of Fest list. A full schedule of the films can be found here.

Note: Interested in the Foreign Films up for Oscar Consideration? Make a point to see Belgium’s Bullhead (playing with the short Mens Sana in Corpore Sand), Germany’s Pina, Greece’s Attenberg, Hungary’s The Turin Horse, Iran’s A Separation, Israel’s Footnote, Mexico’s Miss Bala, and Turkey’s Once Upin A Time in Anatolia


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Tags: AFI, Alps, Carre blanc, Coriolanus, Extraterrestrial, Footnote, Into the Abyss, Jeff Who Lives at home, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Kid With A Bike, Kill List, Miss Bala, Pina, Shame, Target, The Artist, The dish and the spoon, This is Not A Film, We Need To Talk About Kevin