Best of the Fest: Manny the Movie Guy Picks His Favorite Films from the Palm Springs International Film Festival

Manny The Movie Guy

Movie lovers rejoice!  The first film-ward giving body of the year is here.  The 35th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.  The incredible lineup has 179 movies from 74 countries.  Here are some of my picks from the fest.  See the video, film synopsis, and screening times below.  For tickets and more information, click here.

*** OPENING NIGHT: “Wicked Little Letters”

It’s the 1920s in Littlehampton, a British seaside town, and the residents are anonymously receiving shocking, creatively expletive-laden letters. Righteous churchgoer Edith (Olivia Colman) is neighbor to free spirit Rose (Jessie Buckley) who is arrested for the crime. As the scandal escalates, the women of the town band together to solve the mystery.

Showtimes

Friday, January 5, 2024

Camelot Theatres (PS Cultural Center)

6:30 PM

Palm Springs High School

6:30 PM

*** CLOSING NIGHT: “Ex-Husbands”

In this beguilingly bittersweet seriocomedy, a newly divorced dad (a great Griffin Dunne) finds himself at a Mexican beach resort where his about-to-be-married son (James Norton) has gathered his friends for a bachelor party that goes awry. It’s a party you won’t want to miss.

Showtimes

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Camelot Theatres (PS Cultural Center)

6:30 PM

Palm Springs High School

6:30 PM

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Camelot Theatres (PS Cultural Center)

1:15 PM

*** AWARDS BUZZ – BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

 “Society of the Snow”

Based on a true story, a rugby team is aboard Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 when it crashes in the Andes. Trapped in a hostile and inaccessible environment, the surviving passengers must resort to extreme measures to stay alive.

Showtimes

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Palm Springs High School

7:00 PM

Monday, January 8, 2024

Camelot Theatres (PS Cultural Center)

8:00 PM

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Camelot Theatres (PS Cultural Center)

1:00 PM

*** AWARDS BUZZ – BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

 “The Missing”

When mouthless young Eric learns that his uncle has passed away, he begins to hallucinate of an alien visitation – a shadowy figure from his hazily remembered childhood.

*** See my interview with director Carl Joseph E. Papa right here.

Showtimes

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Regal Cinemas

8:30 PM

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Mary Pickford is D’Place

10:45 AM

*** TRUE STORIES: “Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive”

Gloria Gaynor’s radiant spirit shines in this inspiring portrait of the great disco queen of the ’70s. Overcoming one hurdle after another – a crippling back injury, an abusive husband, a murdered sister – Gaynor roars back with her Grammy-winning gospel album.

Showtimes

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Camelot Theatres (PS Cultural Center)

7:00 PM

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Annenberg Theater

10:30 AM

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Mary Pickford is D’Place

1:45 PM

*** FLASHBACK: “Paris is Burning”

Celebrate the 35th anniversary of the groundbreaking LGBTQ+ film.

This chronicle of New York’s drag scene in the 1980s focuses on balls, voguing, and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.

Showtimes

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Palm Canyon Theatre

7:45 PM

*** SPOTLIGHT: James Ivory

“Maurice”

Two English school chums find themselves falling in love at Cambridge. To regain his place in society, Clive gives up Maurice and marries. While staying with Clive and his wife, Maurice discovers romance in the arms of the gamekeeper Alec.

Showtimes

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Palm Canyon Theatre

8:00 PM

Country Focus – Programmers’ Picks – South Korea

South Korean Films to Watch

A NORMAL FAMILY

In this simmering pressure cooker of a thriller, two brothers – one a doctor, the other a criminal defense lawyer – must put aside their ideological differences and work together after unearthing a shocking discovery concerning their teenage children.

 

COBWEB

In this chaotically entertaining dark comedy, a film director (Song Kang-ho) obsessed with completing his masterpiece decides to reshoot the ending of a long-completed project despite increasing interference from the studio, censors, and his ragtag cast and crew.

 

CONCRETE UTOPIA

A massive earthquake rolls through Seoul, upending every apartment complex – except one. With refugees at their doorsteps, the residents of the remaining Imperial Palace apartment decide to wall out the rest of society, and an apocalyptic showdown becomes inevitable.

 

THE HANDMAIDEN

An instant classic, Park Chan-wook’s lavish, steamily erotic 2016 thriller was hailed by The New York Times as “an emporium of visual delights.” A spellbinding tale of criminal schemers, whiplash reversals and double- (and triple-)crosses, it leaves you breathless.

 

THE HOUSEMAID

In this revered classic of South Korean cinema by genre auteur Kim Ki-young, a handsome piano teacher hires a maid to help his busy family, but chaos ensues when the unstable young woman seems hellbent on seduction and destruction.

 

IN OUR DAY

In parallel conversations, a poet and an actress are visited by a younger generation of aspiring artists in director Hong Sang-soo’s latest modest, featherlight jaunt, rife with gentle wisdom, cigarettes and soju, and the air of spending an afternoon with friends.

 

MEMORIES OF MURDER

In a small Korean province in 1986, two detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found murdered by an unknown culprit.

 

OASIS

The unlikely bond between two loners and social outcasts ultimately sparks the restorative power of love in director Lee Chang-dong’s devastatingly poignant masterpiece.

 

SLEEP

When her husband’s strange sleeping habits escalate from disruptive to disturbing, Soo-jin is forced to take desperate measures to protect herself and her newborn. Director Jason Yu’s startling, genre-hopping debut will keep you guessing till the very end.

 

SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER… AND SPRING

Set on a floating temple, this exquisitely beautiful and subtle Buddhist allegory follows the evolution of a young monk who, with the passing of the seasons, learns life’s lessons, from innocence to carnal desires and eventually redemption.

 

SUNNY

In one of the most influential Korean films of the 21st century, a chance encounter with an old friend has a middle-aged housewife pining for her glory days of the ’80s, and inspires her to track down the gang for a reunion.

 

TRAIN TO BUSAN

While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.

 

 

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