In honor of the Philadelphia Film Festival’s 25th year, we’ll be bringing back favorite titles from former Festival line-ups. Featuring two retrospective titles per month, this yearlong series provides a perfect opportunity to revisit award-winning classics or discover under-the-radar gems from the last quarter century.
All 25 For 25 films screen at the PFS Roxy in The Louis Bluver Theater.
Tickets are FREE as part of PFS On Us!
PFS On Us is a free ticketing program presented by PNC Arts Alive that unites a diverse group of individuals involved in non-profit organizations, arts and cultural groups, universities, and hundreds from Philadelphia’s general public who want to share in the excitement and challenge of powerful new cinema. Thanks to PNC Arts Alive, PFS will grow this initiative into a year-round film engagement program.
Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth | Belgium, Netherlands, Germany | 2006 | 101 min Tuesday, August 8 7:00 PM
In this surreal odyssey set against the austerely beautiful Mongolian steppes, young herder Bagi’s nomadic lifestyle is upended when he and his family are forcibly relocated to a bleak coal-mining community. Haunted by prophetic visions, Bagi joins up with a band of scrappy rebels to resist the authoritarian forces clamping down on their way of life.
THE SELFISH GIANT
Clio Barnard | UK | 2013 | 91 min Tuesday, August 22 7:00 PM
Clio Barnard’s harsh but moving realist masterpiece paints a grim portrait of lower class lives in contemporary Britain. Set in the bleak, post-industrial city of Bradford, THE SELFISH GIANT follows Arbor and Swifty, 13-year-old boys who get sucked into the risky business of stealing and selling scrap metal.
Ryan Fleck | USA | 2006 | 106 min Tuesday, September 12 7:00 PM
Anchored by Ryan Gosling’s powerful, Oscar-nominated performance, HALF NELSON is the story of Dan, an idealistic teacher at a tough, inner-city school who’s struggling to keep his crack addiction in check. Dan finds an unlikely chance for salvation in Drey (Shareeka Epps), a student who’s also heartrendingly familiar with the tolls of drug abuse.
Álex de la Iglesia | Spain | 2004 | 106 min Tuesday, September 26 7:00 PM
Cult favorite Alex de la Iglesia brings a madcap touch to this outrageous tale of sex, blackmail, and murder, which follows a suave department store salesman whose glamorous existence comes to a halt when a deadly accident forces him into the arms of a dowdy, scheming coworker.
THE HURT LOCKER
Kathryn Bigelow | USA | 2008 | 131 min
Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning drama follows a soldier (Jeremy Renner) with one of the riskiest jobs imaginable: diffusing live bombs in the war-torn streets of Bagdad. Combining pulse-pounding thrills with fierce emotional intelligence, THE HURT LOCKER is a troubling and unforgettable classic, and one of the defining portrayals of the Iraq War.
RUN LOLA RUN
Tom Tykwer | Germany | 1998 | 81 min
Flame-haired Lola (Franka Potente) dashed into our hearts with this kinetic techno-punk thriller, which finds its heroine racing against the clock to save her boyfriend Manni from the clutches of vindictive gangsters. Director Tom Tykwer gleefully dashes backward and forward in time, subtly tweaking the storyline in ways that dramatically shift its outcome.
YOUNG @ HEART
Stephen Walker | UK | 2007 | 107 min
This joyful documentary follows an unconventional choir made up entirely of senior citizens as they rehearse new material for an epic hometown performance. Reinterpreting songs from the likes of The Clash, Sonic Youth, and Coldplay, these lovable geriatrics display an indefatigable humor and optimism sure to inspire viewers of all ages.
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE
Sean Durkin | USA | 2011 | 102 min
Elizabeth Olsen gives a performance that’s hard to shake in this disturbing, twisty tale of shifting identities and buried pasts. Director Sean Durkin delves deep into the tormented psychology of Martha, a young woman attempting to adapt to normal life but haunted by memories of her time in a mysterious cult.
Baltasar Kormákur | Iceland | 2000 | 88 min
Set amidst the eccentric, isolated environment of Iceland’s capital city, 101 REYKJAVIK is a hilariously off-kilter romantic comedy about a twenty-something slacker, his overindulgent mother, and the passionate flamenco teacher (Almodóvar favorite Victoria Abril) who entrances them both.
Andrea Arnold | UK | 2006 | 113 min
British auteur Andrea Arnold (FISH TANK) won international acclaim with her haunting, atmospheric debut thriller about a lonely security guard whose grim routine of silently observing the lives of others is upended when a figure from her past makes an unexpected reappearance.
12 YEARS A SLAVE
Steve McQueen | USA, UK | 2013 | 134 min
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, 12 YEARS A SLAVE recounts the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and enslaved on a Georgia plantation. Director Steve McQueen and his outstanding cast bring one of the darkest eras of American history to searing, painful life.
Ramin Bahrani | USA | 2008 | 91 min
Exploring the American Dream from the perspectives of two very different men, GOODBYE SOLO depicts the unlikely bond between a depressed, aging Southerner and a jovial Senegalese taxi driver. Tough but big-hearted and often hilarious, this remarkable film from director Ramin Bahrani is a moving ode to human connection.
SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE
Chan-wook Park | South Korea | 2002 | 129 min
Before shocking the world with OLDBOY, South Korean maverick Chan-wook Park delved into similar themes of violent retribution with this grisly tale of a gentle young man going to extreme lengths to secure a kidney transplant for his ailing sister. Sordid yet eerily beautiful, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE proves that revenge is a dish best served bloody.
Lena Dunham | USA | 2010 | 98 min
Before GIRLS, there was TINY FURNITURE, indie wunderkind Lena Dunham’s hilarious, semi-autobiographical portrait of millennial malaise. Dunham plays Aura, a recent college grad crashing at her family’s NYC apartment as she takes her first, fumbling shot at adulthood.
THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF TOM THUMB
Dave Borthwick | UK, USA | 1993 | 61 min
British animation legends the Bolex Brothers brought their distinctive blend of styles to this eerily beautiful twist on the classic tale of Tom Thumb. Kidnapped by government agents, tiny but fearless Tom must cross paths with all sorts of bizarre creature creatures and malevolent characters to reunite with his family.
THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL
Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni | Germany, Mongolia | 2003 | 93 min
Blurring the line between narrative and documentary, THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL observes the fascinating, ancient ceremonies performed by a Mongolian family in order to reestablish the bond between a mother camel and her adorable, scrawny calf.
12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST
Corneliu Porumboiu | Romania | 2006 | 89 min
In a dingy provincial city, a trio of TV presenters gather to debate a seemingly obvious question: was there or wasn’t there a revolution in Romania? Director Corneliu Porumboiu’s sly satire of post-Soviet stagnation uses gentle humor to explore the way extraordinary events affect ordinary lives.
A GOOD LAWYER’S WIFE
Sang-soo Im | South Korea | 2003 | 105 min
Dissatisfied with her inattentive and unfaithful husband, a housewife (So-ri Moon) courts the affections of her teenage neighbor. Sexy, dark, and provocative, A GOOD LAWYER’S WIFE casts a satirical light on South Korean society through the extramarital entanglements of one dysfunctional clan.
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
Abdellatif Kechiche | France | 2013 | 179 min
Simultaneously sweeping and bracingly intimate, this Palme d’Or winner is a coming-of-age story like no other. Tracking the tumultuous relationship between a French teenager and an older, free-spirited painter, BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR captures the highs and lows of first love in all their thrilling intensity.
Gregg Araki | USA, Netherlands | 2004 | 105 min Tuesday, June 27 7:00 PM
Joseph Gordon-Levitt went from tween star to critical darling with his role as a young hustler in Gregg Araki’s powerful coming-of-age drama, which follows the intersecting paths of two teens (Gordon-Levitt and Brady Corbett) navigating life in the aftermath of a shared childhood trauma.
Matthew Vaughn| UK | 2004 | 105 min Tuesday, July 11 7:00 PM
Invigorating the gangster genre with a heavy dose of style and humor, this British thriller stars a pre-Bond Daniel Craig as a successful drug dealer looking to get out of the business. But before he can enjoy his retirement, he must complete one last assignment, involving a missing heiress, Serbian war criminals, and one million tablets of stolen ecstasy.
Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debats | France | 2001 | 98 min Tuesday, July 25 7:00 PM
Shot over four years and on all seven continents, this breathtaking documentary follows various species of birds as they embark on their awe-inspiring yearly migrations. No mere nature doc, WINGED MIGRATION is a work of technical bravura and pure visual poetry.