It’s almost as if the programmers of this year’s AFI FEST cracked open my brain, poked around for a bit, and then pulled out a number of different film titles to use as part of their Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings schedule because, hot damn, what follows is a list of every single film I’m still aching to see this year. Man alive!
The festival has just announced key additions to their lineup as part of both Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings, and the list reads like a who’s-who of some of the year’s most buzzed-about titles. Films like Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Walter Salles‘ On the Road, Jacques Audiard‘s Rust and Bone, Ken Burns‘ The Central Park Five, Leos Carax‘s Holy Motors, Juan Antonio Bayonas‘ The Impossible, Rodney Ascher‘s Room 237, David O. Russell‘s Silver Linings Playbook, and almost impossibly, still more. Okay, it can be November now. After the break, check out full plotlines for all of the newly-announced selections, along with info on how to get your very own tickets for the festival.
LIFE OF PI in 3D: Director Ang Lee (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN; CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON) creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another survivor – a fearsome Bengal tiger. DIR Ang Lee. SCR David Magee. CAST Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Rafe Spall, Gérard Depardieu. USA.
Friday, November 2, 7:30 p.m., Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
ON THE ROAD: Jack Kerouac’s seminal pseudo-autobiography arrives on the big screen at the intersection of fact and fiction. DIR Walter Salles. SCR Jose Rivera, Jack Kerouac. CAST Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Alice Bragga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortenson. France/UK/USA/Brazil.
Saturday, November 3, 8:00 p.m., Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS in 3D: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman and Jack Frost are The Guardians – legendary characters with previously unknown extraordinary abilities charged with protecting children everywhere from an evil spirit’s attempt to take over the world. DIR Peter Ramsey. SCR David Lindsay-Abaire. CAST Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law. USA.
Sunday, November 4, 4:00 p.m., Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
RUST AND BONE (DE ROUILLE ET D’OS) featuring A Tribute to Marion Cotillard: An unusual love story between a back alley boxer and a woman who has suffered a profound loss. DIR Jacques Audiard. SCR Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain. CAST Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure, Celine Sallette, Corinne Masiero, Bouli Lanners, Jean-Michel Correia. France/Belgium.
Monday, November 5, 7:30 p.m., Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK: When a history teacher is cuckolded by his wife and a co-worker, he goes ballistic, lands in jail, then moves in with his sports-obsessed parents. DIR David O. Russell. SCR David O. Russell, Matthew Quick. CAST Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, Julia Stiles, John Ortiz, Paul Herman, Dash Mihok, Shea Whigham. USA.
Friday, November 2, 8:00 p.m., Rigler, Egyptian.
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE: Ken Burns’ documentary about what was known as the crime of century showcases a group of teenagers who were forced to give false confessions and were wrongfully convicted for raping and beating New York City jogger Trisha Meili. DIR/SCR Sarah Burns, Ken Burns, David McMahon.
Saturday, November 3, 3:30 p.m., Rigler, Egyptian.
HOLY MOTORS: Denis Lavant plays Mr. Oscar, a shadowy figure who inhabits many roles while fulfilling assignments from inside a white limousine in Léos Carax’s beguiling work. DIR/SCR Léos Carax. CAST Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue. France/Germany.
Saturday, November 3, 7:00 p.m., Rigler, Egyptian.
THE IMPOSSIBLE: A family is swept up in the monumental turmoil of the 2004 Southeast Asia tsunami along with thousands of strangers. DIR Juan Antonio Bayona. SCR Sergio G. Sánchez. CAST Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Marta Etura, Sönke Möhring, Geraldine Chaplin. Spain/USA.
Sunday, November 4, 8:30 p.m., Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
ROOM 237: Rodney Asher’s documentary delves into the symbols and messages hidden within Stanley Kubrick’s acclaimed film, THE SHINING, revealing more secrets after 30 years. DIR Rodney Ascher. CAST Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Jay Weidner. USA.
Sunday, November 4, 9:00 p.m., Chinese 1.
QUARTET: A birthday concert for Verdi at a home for retired opera singers is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, a diva and former wife of one of the residents. DIR Dustin Hoffman in his directorial debut. SCR Ronald Harwood. CAST Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon. UK.
Sunday, November 4, 9:00 p.m., Rigler, Egyptian.
GINGER AND ROSA: As the Cold War meets the sexual revolution in 1960s London, the lifelong friendship of two teenage girls (Elle Fanning, Alice Englert) is shattered by ideological differences and personal betrayals. DIR/SCR Sally Potter. CAST Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Annette Bening, Oliver Platt, Timothy Spall, Jodhi May. UK/Denmark.
Wednesday, November 7, 8:00 p.m., Chinese 1.
WEST OF MEMPHIS: Amy Berg’s film casts a light on the brutal murder of three young boys and the 18-year struggle to exonerate the teenagers who were convicted of the crimes. DIR Amy Berg. SCR Billy McMilin, Amy Berg. CAST Damien Echols; Lorri Davis; Jason Baldwin; Jessie Misskelley, Jr.; Pam Hicks. USA.
Date, time and venue TBC.
This year’s AFI FEST will open with Hitchcock and close with Lincoln. The festival also recently announced the lineup for their Young Americans and New Auteurs sections.
AFI FEST 2012 presented by Audi will take place November 1st through November 8th in Hollywood, California, with events and screenings taking place at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre, and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. As ever, the intrepid Ms. Allison Loring and myself will again be on the ground at the festival, all the better to cover one of our favorite hometown festivals. Catch up on last year RIGHT HERE.
AFI FEST, quite notably, features free ticketing for all attendees. While paid packages are available now (and often provide the best tickets), free tickets for all films (including Hitchcock, though those nifty packages provide snazzy reserved seating for buyers) will be made available on October 25th. [Press Release]