After a week of the Dallas International Film Festival, I believe I've now cried four different times, and not just because the DIFF Lounge was closing. This year's round of Texas films seem to have more emotional weight. After seeing Sean Gallagher's bittersweet but uneven Good Night, Yen Tan's heart-stringer Pit Stop and Hannah Fidell's nail-biter A Teacher, I agree with fellow Dallas arts writer Peter Simek's assessment: Texas might be the loneliest state.
But DIFF is also about variations on theme, it seems. Last night, I saw Matteo Garrone's Reality and Jordan Vogt-Roberts' Kings of Summer, two very different takes on the concept of fantasy. The latter was picked up for distribution, so I recommend seeing it in a few months. I'm still absorbing Garrone's film, which ends on such an absurd note that it might actually be brilliant.
You still have three days to check out DIFF, amidst all the other art and music events happening this weekend. Here are a few of our recommendations.
Brave Miss World Friday, Angelika, 4pm A late edition to DIFF, Cecilia Peck's Brave Miss World tells the story of Linor Abargil, who was crowned Miss World in 1998, two months after she was kidnapped and raped in Italy. A decade later, she's become an advocate for rape victims around the world, and Peck invited other women to tell their own stories of assault, as a way of opening up dialogue, at an especially crucial time.
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Gimme the Power Saturday, Texas Theatre, noon Former radio personality Olallo Rubio's documentary on Mexico's evolving music scene, and the politics that go with each evolution, make for interesting dialogue in Gimme the Power. After that, you should basically just stay at Texas Theatre for the remainder of the day, so you can see The Big Shootout: The Life and Times of 1969 (3:30pm), which documents the fabled 1969 showdown between the Texas Longhorns and Arkansas Razorbacks. At 7:30pm, catch Pit Stop. At 10:30pm, DIFF's Italian cinema spotlight lands on Dario Argento's 1977 horror film, Suspiria, which is way more terrifying than The Exorcist, which is showing at 3:30pm, at the Angelika.
Blancanieves Saturday, Magnolia, 4pm Snow White gets an update, but keeps some of the gothic undertones, via director Pablo Berger. The titular character is recast as a bullfighter in 1920's Spain, and the silent, black and white film is driven by its grand set design and costuming. Leads Maribel Verdú and Macarena García, in addition to wearing some fabulous outfits, also update the definition of the male gaze.
The Future Saturday, Magnolia, 7:15pm Chilean director Alicia Scherson's neo-sci-fi film, set in a dystopic Rome, has been getting some buzz this week. Rutger Hauer is in it, and if you're a Blade Runner fan, you can't help but see a bit of his Roy Batty character, though in The Future, he's a blind former movie star. The script was adapted from a Roberto Bolaño novel, but Scherson gives his words some gloss and tension.
Post Tenebras Lux Sunday, Magnolia, noon If you need to ease your way into Sunday afternoon (and possibly out of a hangover), you could do worse than Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' beautifully shot tale of urban versus rural life, and the muscle memory that comes with each.