(Photo courtesy Sundance Institute)
It’s not uncommon to slow down a little as you enter your late thirties, but the 37th Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival continues going as strong as ever. Running April 12-28, it presents a slate of some 250 feature films and shorts from a globe-spanning array of moviemakers, a number of whom will be on hand to discuss their work with audience members.
Many of this year’s selections spotlight female-focused stories. The opening night feature is “RBG,” a documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg from filmmakers Betsy West (scheduled to attend the screening) and Julie Cohen. The wide-ranging film, which premiered at Sundance in January, follows her career as a Harvard Law student, a lawyer, a wife and mother, an advocate for women’s rights, and then a Supreme Court Justice whose responsibilities have helped shape the nation.
International themes of female inequalities are explored in features such as the French drama “Number One,” whose businesswoman protagonist fights back after hitting a chauvinist glass ceiling, and Zambia’s “I Am Not a Witch,” in which social superstition forces a young woman into a life of confinement and control. And women are in the driver’s seat of the locally shot road trip comedy “Virginia, Minnesota,” a tale of two spatting BFFs that has earned top prizes at festivals nationwide.
If you liked “Call Me By Your Name,” you may appreciate the Finnish-Syrian romance “A Moment in the Reeds,” which follows the midsummer chance encounter between two young men from different cultures.
If the powerful human-scaled dramas currently being produced in Iran interest you, consider the acclaimed “No Date, No Signature,” which follows a prosperous family and a working class household through a minor traffic accident that builds to tragedy.
If your taste goes for truths stranger than fiction, there’s “Our New President,” a gonzo documentary that shows fake news really works in Russia’s coverage of the 2016 election, both through state controlled media and independent citizens’ YouTube-style videos.
This year’s screening venues center on the festival’s longtime headquarters, the St. Anthony Main Theatre, along with showings at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Capri Theater and Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis, Metropolitan State University's Film Space in St. Paul, and the Marcus Wehrenberg 14 Theatre in Rochester.
For ticketing and more information as the screening schedule finalizes, visit mspfilm.org