Festival will showcase films from around the world

A scene from the film "Caesar Must Die." Credit:

The world has often been described as a theater for political, economic, social and cultural drama. The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul brings meaning to that metaphor by inviting the world and local community to the St. Anthony Main Theatre for one of the largest and longest-running annual international cinematic celebrations in the country.

The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, planned for April 11–28, will feature 200 documentaries, feature-length narratives and shorts from more than 60 countries. The festival’s main draw is the “World Cinema,” “Documentary” and “American Independent” programs, which include foreign films, non-fiction feature length films and new productions from those whose careers are just taking off to veterans of the American film industry.

Closer to home, the “More Reel” program, premiering this year, will explore the relationship between fact and fiction that mirrors the theme in the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s exhibition “More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness.” Also, the “Minnesota-Made” program will return to present its selection of the best local films.

Other program categories include:
— “Childish Films,” which is geared toward kids, making the festival family friendly;
— “Songs of Exile: Cinema of Displacement and Dispossession,” which explores the physical, psychological and cultural ramifications of displacement;
— “East of Europe,” which allows audience to watch new film from an ancient land;
— “Late Nights,” which brings an array of cutting-edge, creepy films to the dark of St. Anthony’s theaters.

As diverse as the titles and the names at this year’s festival will be, “Minnesota-Made” programmer Craig Rice explained that all good films still center on the story.

“With the democratization of technology, anybody has the ability to capture images to put on screen,” he said. But what makes the difference is “the ability for a filmmaker to use cinematic language to tell a story.”

“It’s like writing with light,” Rice said.

The MSP Film Society reported that last year more than 40,000 people attended the festival. Rice said the event, “a real celebration of film in Minnesota as an art form,” attracts a wide range of viewers from teenagers to 90 year olds, and from “film worshipers” to those who rarely watch movies.

The fun doesn’t quit with the credits. To fully experience the event, participants can also attend a plethora of parties, such as the one on opening night at the Aster Café, starting immediately after the 7:30 p.m. showing of Ken Loach’s “The Angel’s Share.” Coffee in hand, people can sip and swap thoughts about the winner of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival Jury prize.

The festival is a prize of its own and Rice encouraged people to take the opportunity to see the rare exhibitions at this significant event that is 30 years in the making.

Sarah Barchus is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.


If you go …

When: April 11-28

Where: 115 SE Main Street, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Website: mspfilmfestival.org

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 612-331-7563.