"Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come." -- Herman Melville

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April 7-20, 2005

Philadelphia Film Festival 2005

The 14th Annual Philadelphia Film Festival has ended and below are my reviews. For more coverage, check out my reviews from the last two Festivals (2004 and 2003) or, of course, my running journal from Cannes 2002. As always, emails (marc@shadowbloom.com) are appreciated. Enjoy!

Note: After every review is a link to each film's page on the Philadelphia Film Festival web site and on The Internet Movie Database.

Ferpect Crime
Spain 2004, Directed by Alex de la Iglesia
Written by Jorge Guerricaechevarria and Alex de la Iglesia
Prince Music Theatre: 04/07/05: 08:30pm: 105 min
(***) of four

In its terrific opening half-hour, Crime introduces us to Rafael, a charming, successful manager of the women's section of a huge department store. Residing like royalty over his retail kingdom, he beds dozens of gorgeous women and constantly plots his seemingly inevitable rise up the corporate ladder. However, after a confrontation with an rival manager leads to accidental murder, Rafael finds himself at the mercy of the only witness: the homely Lourdes, who has her own secret ambitions. As Rafael is forced into a relationship with Lourdes to keep her quiet, the movie loses some of its steam as we spend the next hour watching her meticulously and maliciously rip out his soul, grind it into dust, and defecate on the ashes. Few cinematic characters have worked up as much sheer hatred in me as Lourdes did (in a Q&A after the screening, de la Iglesia said that in most movies, the "ugly" character is always good and kind, but he wanted to have one that was anything but--mission accomplished, Alex). Since we're won over by Rafael in the opening scenes, it hurts to watch his thorough immasculation. Luckily, Crime picks up again once Rafael really loses his mind and starts planning his ultimate escape. The surreal finale ends everything well, but it's not enough to redeem the masochistic midsection. Highly recommended for fans of de la Iglesia or Spanish cinema in general.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Continuous Journey
Canada 2004, Directed by Ali Kazimi
International House: 04/08/05: 05:00pm: 87 min
(** and 1/2) of four

In 1914, the Komagata Maru, filled with Indian passengers, arrived at Vancouver Harbor expecting safe passage for all on board. However, the underhandedly racist Continuous Journey Regulation stated that all ships from Southern Asia could not enter Canadian port unless they made a continuous journey from their home port--essentially an impossible feat for the Indian immigrants. Aimed at limiting the number of non-white immigrants in Canada, the regulation caused the Maru to be held just off the shore without food or water for over two months. Director Kazimi employs a number of flashy tricks to tell his story, but admittedly the special effects seem out of place in such a stoic story. What works for The Kid Stays in the Picture does not work here. Part of the problem is that there just isn't a great deal to the drama. It's interesting to hear about government-mandated racism in Canada instead of the U.S. for a change, but it's fairly simple fare beyond that. If you come across it on PBS one night and are in the mood, though, check it out.
(PFF)

Marebito
Japan 2004, Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Written by Chiaki Konaka
Prince Music Theatre: 04/08/05: 09:45pm: 92 min
(*** and 1/2) of four

Boy, did Shimizu need to get this one out of his system. As of next year, he will have directed seven movies in the Ju-on/The Grudge series including the recent American remake and its upcoming sequel. So, it's no surprise that Marebito, filmed in eight days, is a significant departure from the standard J-horror formula. A cameraman who caught a frantic suicide on videotape becomes obsessed with the man's terrified dying expression (directed at some unseen terror) and descends into a hellish subterranean underworld to investigate. Thankfully Marebito does not rely on any of the cheap scares that have become the hallmark of lesser horror films, but instead exudes a palpable creepiness as the cameraman discovers a naked, mute girl with mysterious fanged teeth and takes her back to his home--with, of course, violent and unnerving consequences. Sharply edited and eeriely vague, Marebito succeeds by trying something different rather than falling back on standard, tiresome horror tropes.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

The 10th District Court, Moments of Trial
France 2004, Directed by Raymond Depardon
Ritz Bourse: 04/09/05: 12:15pm: 105 min
(*** and 1/2) of four

Refreshingly direct and absent of all the pointless visual flare that drags down other documentaries (see: Continuous Journey), 10th District Court came to fruition when a camera crew was allowed unprecedented access into the chambers of Madame Bernard-Requin. We watch paranoid defendents, blithely oblivious lawyers, and ineptness and stupidity abound. It's "human drama" (to borrow the latest worn euphemism) at its best and compelling viewing for anyone tired of the endless parade of Law and Orders and mindless Hollywood courtroom dramas.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Somersault
Australia 2004, Written and Directed by Cate Shortland
Ritz East: 04/09/05: 02:30pm: 103 min
(**) of four

A teenage girl leaves home to go on a cross-country journey of self-discovery and sexual exploration. Haven't I seen this movie before? It doesn't have enough nudity or eroticism to make it Rochelle Rochelle nor enough dramatic pull to make it Boys Don't Cry and the result is a very average movie that never rids its sense of deja vu or establishes its own identity. Shortland films it nicely--even if it's a bit reminiscent of Boys and Lisa Cholodenko--but its gloss is just enough to give Somersault only the appearance of depth (sure enough, it won a staggering 13 awards from the Australian Film Institute--what, no awards for the catering or driver service?) There will surely be those who will be moved by Heidi's tale, but I'd proceed on to Or (My Treasure) for a movie that really knows how to show a young woman's fractured coming-of-age.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Or (My Treasure)
Israel/France 2004, Directed by Keren Yedaya
Written by Sari Ezouz and Keren Yedaya
Ritz Bourse: 04/09/05: 5:00pm: 100 min
(*** and 1/2) of four

Honest and uncompromised in ways that few films are today, Yedaya's film follows Tel Aviv teenager Or. She's juggling the same issues as many girls her age: holding down a steady job, keeping up with school, but complicating everything is her mother Ruthie. Long burnt out on drugs and addicted to streetwalking, she tries to hold herself together for her daughter's sake, but is resigned to falling back into the same habits over and over again. While we hope that Or can keep herself afloat while taking care of her mother, it's painful to watch her slow descension down the same self-destructive spiral (the final shot is heartbreaking). As mother and daughter, respectively, Ronit Elkabetz and Dana Ivgi give raw, powerful performances and the movie deservedly won the Camera d'Or for best first feature at Cannes 2004.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Mysterious Skin
US 2004, Directed by Gregg Araki
Written by Gregg Araki based on the novel by Scott Heim
Prince Music Theatre: 04/09/05: 7:15pm: 99 min
(*** and 1/2) of four

Focusing on the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, Skin showcases a shattering, fearless performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt (we're a long way from Third Rock from the Sun). He plays Neil, molested by his Little League coach when eight years old and now a street-smart, but emotionally cold, teenage prostitute. He sleeps with older men not because he is "gay" in some stereotypical sense of the word (in contrast to his flamboyant friend Eric), but because it gives him the attention and affirmation he has craved since he was a child, when he was flattered to be chosen out of all the boys by his coach. Parallel to his story is that of Brian, who has a five-hour blank spot in his memory from his childhood. Obsessed with the idea that he was abducted by aliens, he seeks out a fellow abductee (played with lonely awkwardness by Mary Lynn Rajskub) and discovers that the secret of his lost hours is tied to Neil. Araki's film is unflinching and some may be uncomfortable with the subject matter, but it stands out among the bland, homogenized fare churned out of the studio system with depressing regularity. It also puts Gordon-Levitt on the map as a young actor to watch closely.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Late Bloomer
Japan 2005, Written and Directed by Go Shibata
Ritz Bourse: 04/09/05: 9:45pm: 83 min
(*** and 1/2) of four

Sumida, living with multiple disabilities and portrayed by an actual handicapped man (Masakiyo Sumida), has a pretty normal life. He hangs out at home with his caregiver Take and goes to bars to drink heavily, party, and watch Take's punk band. Soon, though, the young student Nobuko arrives to assist Take and Sumida develops a crush on her. As Take and Nobuko grow closer, though, Sumida becomes increasingly unhinged with disturbing results. Director Shibata succeeds in avoiding the usual maudlin display of disability, showing Sumida as a (gasp!) real human being with emotions that appeal to more than the arrogant sense of inspirational pity other movies wallow in. Filmed in grimy black and white and stiletto-edited, Bloomer features a schizophrenic, demanding score by Japanese techno group Worlds End Girlfriend that sets the tone brilliantly. Refreshingly original and perfect Festival fare, this one isn't reaching your local AMC anytime soon.
(PFF)

The World
China/France/Japan 2004, Written and Directed by Jia Zhang-ke
Ritz East: 04/10/05: 12:00pm: 138 min
(***) of four

Lavish and ambitious, but also distant and oblique, The World is the new film from promising young Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke. Set in a sprawling theme park hermetically divided into various countries where the employees dress and perform in appropriate cultural garb, Jia's film employs this microcosm as a comment on globalization and its usurpation of individualistic national identity. The employees flit between relationships and between countries of the park with little connecting them besides ubiquitous and dehumanizing text messages. The digital photography is beautiful (especially the kinetic opening shot) and Jia's direction is assured, but I was unable to enter The World's spell. Admittedly, I had trouble following the disparate plot threads at times (its 138 minutes go by slowly) and I wonder if a second viewing would deepen its impact. Its emotional coldness is purposefully emblematic of its characters, but I still wanted more.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Murderball
US 2004, Directed by Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro
Ritz Bourse: 04/10/05: 9:45pm: 85 min
(****) of four

A compelling, propulsive documentary about paraplegic (wheelchair) rugby, Murderball is framed by the U.S. team's quest for a championship, interspersed with stories about the players themselves. The players go to great lengths to push aside stereotypes, gleefully discussing their sex lives and cussing like sailors. Team captain Mark Zupan thrives in playing the asshole and steals the show with his piss-and-vinegar attitude. The games themselves are frantic and surprisingly brutal with players regularly knocking each other over and zooming around the courts in their armored and specially built wheelchairs. Highly recommended.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World
Japan 2004, Directed by Isao Yukisada
Written by Yuki Sakamoto and Isao Yukisada based on a novel by Kyouichi Katayama
Ritz Bourse: 04/10/05: 7:00pm: 139 min
(**) of four

Armed with the best title in the festival and a description from programmer Travis Crawford saying it's "the romantic tearjerker melodrama to end them all," Crying Out Love had a lot going in its favor...which makes it that much more of a shame that it ended up being such a paint-by-numbers love story. Granted, I should have expected as much going in, but I was disappointed at just how straight-forward it was. Maybe it's because I'd already oversaturated my black heart with terror and violence thus far in the festival, but I found myself very bored and unmoved. For those of you in love with Japan and weepy melodramas, your ship has come in.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Izo
Japan 2004, Directed by Takashi Miike
Written by Shigenori Takechi
Prince Music Theatre: 04/10/05: 9:45pm: 128 min
(***) of four

The first of two Miike movies in the festival this year (making up for the lack of Miike last year), Izo is one of his most demanding films yet. It's ostensibly the story of the samurai Izo and we watch as he falls in and out of time, slaughtering all in his path (with the occasional break for a surreal musical interlude). A manifestation of the human death instinct, Izo is indestructable and omnipresent throughout history as he battles all manner of forces. Miike abandons all traditional structure in favor of a hallucinogenic splatter film where anything goes. The unrelenting violence actually grows wearisome during the long 128 minutes, but Miike is demonstrating the continuous cycle of violence that mankind has trapped itself in and the tiresome repetition is necessary to this end. As a result, Izo is nowhere near as crowd-pleasing as his earlier spectacles Dead or Alive or Happiness of the Katakuris nor as thrilling as Audition, but it's a noteworthy step for a director never afraid to attempt something new.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

5 x 2: Five Times Two
France 2004, Directed by Francois Ozon
Written by Emmanuele Bernheim and Francois Ozon
Ritz East: 04/11/05: 4:45pm: 90 min
(**) of four

A disappointingly pedestrian drama from prolific French director Ozon, 5 x 2 is the latest movie to jump on the reverse-chronology bandwagon. It begins with Marion and Gilles signing their divorce papers and ends with their initial romantic encounter on a sundrenched beach. While other movies have employed this structure effectively (see: Memento and Irreversible), here it succeeds more in obscuring the lack of depth in the plot and characters. Told in a too-economical 90 minutes, we're given only snippets of salacious detail about Marion and Gilles's ill-fated marriage and before we have any clear picture of their relationship, the movie ends. Ozon was obviously influenced by Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage, but maybe he should have taken note that Bergman spends five hours covering what Ozon tries to in 90 minutes. If you're looking for the Cliff Notes version, though, 5 x 2 is not a bad place to start.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Cronicas
Mexico/Ecuador 2004, Written and Directed by Sebastian Cordero
Ritz East: 04/12/05: 5:00pm: 108 min
(** and 1/2) of four

Any movie that boasts Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron as producers has to have something going for it, but Cronicas stumbles thanks to a script that's so overeager to get to the ending that it gives it away while we're still relishing the suspense. John Leguizamo plays Manolo Bonilla, a popular tabloid journalist for a sensationalistic news program. While covering the ongoing search for the brutal killer of over 100 children, he becomes wrapped up in the case of Vinicio Cepeda, a father who accidentally struck and killed a young boy with his car. Cepeda enlists Bonilla to fight for his release in exchange for information about the serial killer, but Cepeda seems to know a little more than he should. As Bonillo vacillates between his desire for a good story and his drive to know the truth, we wonder just who is playing whom. Unfortunately, instead of stoking the mystery with effective red herrings and misdirection, Cordero jumps the gun and eliminates our doubt so all we have left is wondering when the characters are going to catch up with us. Cordero has promise and is a director to watch, but it's a shame he didn't trust his story to its end. The final shot is chilling, though.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Flower and Snake
Japan 2004, Directed by Takashi Ishii
Written by Takashi Ishii based on the novel by Oniroku Dan
The Bridge: 04/12/05: 10:00pm: 115 min
(**) of four

There always seems to be one of these per festival. Catherine Breillat's the usual suspect (Anatomy of Hell, A Real Young Girl), but since she's been given the year off, Flower and Snake is here to take its place. These movies instantly stand out in the festival guide with phrases like "explicit sexual perversity" and "constant nudity and sex" tossed around. I mean, how can I NOT see a movie like this? And sure enough, every year, I NEVER enjoy them. Flower is the story of a woman who's kidnapped, sold into sexual slavery, and subjected to a battery of S&M violations. Doesn't sound like your cup of tea? You're right, it's not--proceed to the next movie. Are you intrigued? Well, I was too, but you learn a lot about yourself seeing movies like this. And now I know that there is a good variety of sexual fetishes that don't do a goddamn thing for me except make me feel exceedingly uncomfortable (no surprise that the last movie to have this effect on me was last year's squirmfest Anatomy). Hey, go see it and maybe you'll be "pleasantly" surprised. I dare you. Maybe you don't want to know. I'm sure I'll be back for next year's installment, but I've got to stop seeing these fucking things (and how's that for a cheap pun, huh?)
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinematheque
France 2004, Directed by Jacques Richard
International House: 04/13/05: 5:15pm: 210 min
(*** and 1/2) of four

That's no typo: this really is a three and a half hour documentary about Langlois, champion of the French Cinematheque who fostered the burgeoning New Wave directors while tirelessly fighting for the preservation of cinema history. He single-handedly saved classics like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari from the fires of censors or the deteriorating effects of time and neglect. Generously resplendent with interviews and film clips, it's easy to get absorbed in the world of Langlois. Ironically, I would have preferred it shown without intermission as the break only served to jar me out of the experience. As a result, the final hour drags a little and I imagine editing a good 20-30 minutes would help the overall effect, but it's still required viewing for anyone with an interest in the French New Wave or cinema's early years. Put your watch away and you'll be amazed how quickly the time flies.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Survive Style 5+
Japan 2004, Directed by Gen Sekiguchi
Written by Taku Tada
The Bridge: 04/13/05: 9:45pm: 120 min
(****) of four

A delirious explosion of color, mayhem, and sheer creativity, Style plays like the best cracked-out Looney Toon you'll ever see. Style leaps with reckless abandon from a hapless husband who can't quite seem to kill his wife to a middle-aged businessman who suddenly finds himself a chicken after a hypnotizing mishap (think Office Space) to an imposing hitman (played by Guy Richie favorite Vinnie Jones) who walks around with his Japanese translator and growls to each person he meets, "What's your function in life?" And that's only three of the five stories. The production design is breathtaking and demands to be appreciated on the big screen (unfortunate since it's pretty much a guarantee this won't be hitting theatres across the country) and director Sekiguchi employs a brisk, snappy direction that dutifully sidesteps the superficial glossiness that's become a hallmark of the MTV generation. It sadly won't be easy to track this one down, but it'll reward the effort.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

One Missed Call
Japan 2004, Directed by Takashi Miike
Written by Yasushi Akimoto and Minako Daira
The Bridge: 04/14/05: 5:00pm: 112 min
(**) of four

Very disappointing. The insanely prolific Miike (we're talking three to five movies a year) takes a break from innovating and turns in his take on the Ju-on-esque J-horror craze. What a shame, then, that it turns out to be such a cookie-cutter copy of all the earlier iterations. Too straightforward to pass as parody and too reined-in to appeal to splatter-horror fans, it's really only for those in hopeless love with the genre or hardcore Miike fans who can't fathom missing one of his movies. When the festival began, I couldn't imagine skipping it, but I almost wish I had. The plot never bothers to make sense and the deaths aren't graphic enough to at least have some gory appeal. Not suprisingly, it became a huge hit in Japan and a sequel is already in release overseas (without Miike's involvement). For what it's worth, though, I bet the ring tone that signals death became a cultural phenomenon after the movie's release.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Palindromes
US 2004, Written and Directed by Todd Solondz
Prince Music Theatre: 04/14/05: 7:15pm: 100 min
(****) of four

Todd Solondz has made a nice career for himself making controversial, critically polarizing films, but after the disappointing Storytelling, he's back in form with Palindromes. Audaciously filmed using eight actors of wildly varying appearances and ages to play the main role, Palindromes is the skewed fairy tale of Akiva, a 12-year-old girl who runs away from home and encounters a motley group of lost souls, including an ill-fated truck driver whom Akiva falls for and Mama Sunshine, a bright and cheery foster parent to a clan of disabled children who've fallen under the spell of her disturbing fundamentalist dogma. Those who offend easily or were troubled by Solondz's previous work (which include the brilliant Happiness and Welcome to the Dollhouse) should stay far away, but those willing to entertain Solondz's cynical worldview will be rewarded.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Not Your Saturday Morning Cartoon
Various writers and directors
Prince Music Theatre: 04/14/05: 9:45pm: 76 min
(***) of four

Not much to say about this, a collection of animated shorts. Some are fun, some less so, but most are perverted. Lots of feces, anal sex, violence, and quease-inducing moments. Think Spike and Mike and you've got the idea.
(PFF)

The Soup, One Morning
Japan 2004, Written and Directed by Izumi Takahashi
International House: 04/15/05: 7:15pm: 90 min
(*** and 1/2) of four

Filmed with funereal solemnity, Soup's slow pace would certainly cause 90% of an American audience to tune out, but its quiet nature befits the simple, sad story. Kitagawa lives with his girlfriend Shizu in a small apartment when suddenly his behavior turns erratic. He stops going to work and begins disappearing to meetings of a strange religious organization. Shizu tries in vain to bring back the old Kitagawa, but he continues to shed all traces of his former self. Handled by a less talented, more melodramatic filmmaker, Kitagawa would have gone on some crazed killing spree or devolved into a blur of histrionics. Instead, Takahashi builds tension through Kitagawa's slow descent and the inevitable dissolution of his relationship with Shizu. Near the end, Kitagawa slaps Shizu and the emotional impact is stronger than a gun shot. Depressed and restrained, Soup should not be missed by any fan of Japanese independent cinema.
(PFF)

Clean
France/Canada/Great Britain 2004, Written and Directed by Olivier Assayas
Ritz East: 04/15/05: 9:45pm: 110 min
(*** and 1/2) of four

Assayas gets back on track after the disappointing Demonlover with a journey through drug addiction and rock and roll to redemption. The always-dependable Maggie Cheung delivers another magnetic performance as Emily, a former rocker and heroin addict who tries to kick the habit in order to win back her estranged young son. A great soundtrack peppers the film (including a great performance of "Dead Disco" by Metric to start the movie and a too-brief cameo by Tricky), but Assayas never overreaches and keeps the emphasis on the strong script and the brilliant performances (including Nick Nolte as Emily's father-in-law).
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Oldboy
South Korea 2003, Directed by Park Chan-wook
Written by Hwang Jo-yun, Lim Joon-hyung, and Park Chan-wook based on a story by Garon Tsuchiya
The Bridge: 04/16/05: 4:45pm: 120 min
(****) of four

Not just the best movie of the festival, but a lock to be on my list of the ten best movies of the year, Oldboy (winner of Cannes 2004's Grand Prix award) is the latest from Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance director Park Chan-wook and is a mesmerizing thriller of breakneck trajectory. Oh Dae-su is picked up by police for public drunkenness and suddenly finds himself kidnapped and held in a small, one-room apartment for 15 years. He's told nothing of why he's there and has no contact with any other person (a TV is his only conduit to the outside world). Released with just as little warning, he begins a cat-and-mouse game with his captor as he tries to piece together what he did to deserve such punishment. Impeccably filmed (marvel at the brutal fight scene filmed in one long, languid take) and filled with morbid black comedy, Oldboy captivates as Oh Dae-su's journey spirals into a vicious, jaw-dropping finale. Yet more proof of the brilliant work currently coming from South Korea, Oldboy's already got its American remake in production (directed by Better Luck Tomorrow helmer Justin Lin), but do yourself a favor and watch the original first (it'll be out on DVD in August). Spectacular.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Me and You and Everyone We Know
US 2005, Written and Directed by Miranda July
Ritz East: 04/17/05: 12:30pm: 95 min
(***) of four

Writer/director/star Miranda July proves to be a formidable talent in her debut, but you've seen this movie before. A bittersweet character dramedy where everyone is a little too well-spoken, all of the plotlines are delicately intermixed, and pathos abounds, Everyone is a familiar indie festival darling (sure enough, it won prestigious awards at Cannes and Sundance--and this festival as well). That said, it certainly stands above many of the myriad iterations of this formula released every year. The no-name cast is uniformly excellent and July inserts a thread of subversive sexuality that adds a spark of originality (and the excessively harsh-sounding "Rated R for disturbing sexual content involving children"). It's definitely worth seeing, but I'm anxious to see what July can do without relying on such an worn-out framework.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Arahan
South Korea 2004, Directed by Ryoo Seung-wan
Written by Eun Ji-hie, Yu Seon-dong, and Ryoo Seung-wan
The Bridge: 04/17/05: 2:45pm: 114 min
(* and 1/2) of four

Take some swordfighting and martial arts, mix in a little detective/gangland drama, and sprinkle some superpowers on top--put it in a blender, squeeze out all the creativity and what's left is Arahan, an Asian action movie just like all those other ones you've seen, just not nearly as entertaining and fun. The plot is a mishmash of genre stereotypes: something about a cop discovering his dormant ch'i powers and using them to battle one of those damn rebel masters who always seem to pop up and raise hell. The ubiquitous special effects and fight choreography are underwhelming and you'll be hard-pressed to remember any details an hour after you leave the theatre. Action-junkies, there's much better out there.
(PFF)    (IMDb)

Music from the Inside Out
US 2005, Directed by Daniel Anker
Prince Music Theatre: 04/20/05: 7:00pm: 89 min
(***) of four

Nothing extraordinary, but a solid portrait of the members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. There's some familiarity in the stories (e.g. overbearing, domineering parents), but it's refreshing to hear the musicians say in their own words what music means to them and why they've chosen it for their career. Orchestra fans (particularly those in Philadelphia) will be entertained, but for everyone else it's not a bad watch if you're looking for something musically inspiring one night. Anker wisely keeps the film to 89 minutes; stretched out to two hours, it would certainly begin to drag. Given the Philadelphia connection (and the fact that the director and multiple members of the Orchestra were in attendance), it was a nice, subdued way to close out this year's Festival.
(PFF)    (IMDb)