37th Portland International Film Festival Brings Together 104 Features From Around the World


As a recent transplant to Portland, OR, one of the many things I’ve come to appreciate about the city is the incredibly diverse, affordable, and delicious food scene. But this ain’t no food blog, so thankfully I’ve also fallen hard for the local movie houses. The area’s populated with numerous theaters showcasing films new and old, foreign and domestic, wide release and independent. As rewarding as it’s already been, I’m about to be even more spoiled.

Portland’s International Film Festival (PIFF) returns next week for its 37th year (official site), and its 104 feature films and 24 shorts promise something for everyone.

Welcome to the Northwest Film Center’s 37th annual showcase of new world cinema! The Portland International Film Festival explores not only the art of film but also the world around us. The cultural diversity, the extraordinary range of subjects, genres, and experiences explored—for all ages and from matinee to midnight—invite exploration and discovery, movie-lover or not. We welcome you to join in this shared cinematic and community experience.”

Keep reading for a look at the fest’s (unintentionally) eerie teaser video and some of the scheduled film highlights.

The opening night film is actually two films this year. First up is the already highly acclaimed final (?) film from Hayao Miyazaki, the Oscar-nominated The Wind Rises. After a series of beloved fantasies including Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, Miyazaki looks to be ending his career on a personal note with this tale of ambition, dreams, and the highs and lows of 20th century Japan. The second opening night film is the British period drama, Belle. Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson star in a tale of slavery and privilege in 18th century England from director Amma Asante.

Also playing this year are 22 films that were their respective country’s submissions for Best Foreign Language Film. The roster includes titles like Australia’s The Rocket, India’s The Good Road, Romania’s Child’s Pose, Iceland’s Of Horses and Men, and more. Thankfully, the fest is also playing the two nominees (of the final five) that I have yet to see (Omar, The Missing Picture).

As is now seemingly required of film fests, there’s also a selection aimed at genre lovers. The After Dark titles play at midnight and this year include Borgman, Coherence, The Congress, Nothing Bad Can Happen, Proxy, and Ti West’s The Sacrament.

I obviously won’t be seeing all 104 feature films playing the fest this year, but I’m hoping to see as many as possible. Check back next week for the start of my coverage of PIFF37, and if you’re in the area check out the official schedule, buy some tickets, and come see some fantastic foreign cinema.

Rob is the Chief Film Critic of Film School Rejects. He doesn't eat cheese on weekdays.

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