Miami International Film Festival 2010
Miami in recent years has become a capital of the arts. There’s Art Basel, which draws collectors from around the world. Miami Book Fair International attracts America’s — and Latin America’s — top writers. And Winter Music Conference brings the globe’s best-known DJs.
But the Miami International Film Festival, which begins this week, has never quite gained the Olympian status of those events. Why? It’s not that there are too many venues. MIFF has five, which seems like a lot, but well-respected Telluride includes six, two of which are pop-up theaters in high schools. Nor is there an overwhelming number of films. This year, the festival’s 27th, 115 movies will be screened. That compares to 200-plus at Switzerland’s Locarno fest.
The real problem might be rooted in changing visions. MIFF founder Nat Chediak — whose focus was on quality, not quantity, screening only a few dozen films — resigned in 2001, and he’s been followed by a series of directors who have attempted to mold the festival into a launch pad for homegrown talent or, more recently, into an Ibero-American Sundance.
Now we have festival director Tiziana Finzi, who was hired in 2009. She’s an insider from Italy with a reputation for discovering new talent. Her plan: to use her proven good taste and wide-reaching connections to make MIFF a world-respected festival of contemporary cinema. “I accepted this job as a challenge to bring my taste — cutting-edge, radical films — to this town, a beautiful place where people come for enjoyment, big parties, and holiday and not to see a Russian or Chinese movie.”
Her choices can be eclectic. Included in this year’s picks is Trash Humpers, the latest from Kids director Harmony Korine. In it, senior citizens, well, hump trash. Then there’s City Island, a movie centering on a dysfunctional family and starring local boy and festival friend Andy Garcia. Perhaps the most unexpected film in the lineup is David Lynch‘s Eraserhead, the 1977 cult classic deemed “culturally significant” by the Library of Congress. Old-school weirdness is apparently in this year.
In fact, the 2010 selections are some of the best ever. Two things stand out: the youth of the directors — many are younger than 35 — and the international quality — 45 countries are represented. Even in Miami, Spanish-speaking films do not overwhelm the international offerings. Among our favorites — reviewed in these pages — are a British story about soccer and friendship, an Iranian docudrama on censorship, and a Brazilian tale of terrorism. If that list seems too disparate, remember the words of Walt Whitman: “I am large, I contain multitudes.”
More info coming soon…
Sourced from the miaminewtimes.com