PIFF Spotlight: Five days, six picks, one feeling: enjoyment

By Genevieve Valentine
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 25, 2014

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Elsa Carette and Geri-Nikole Love in "Gasp."

Heading to the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival this weekend? Here are some long-form premieres and audience favorites we recommend you take in.

Detective Detective Detective. If you watch only one crowdfunded, LARP-centric, slightly Wes Anderson-flavored comedy making its world premiere this summer, make it Detective Detective Detective. It uses the Alaskan wilderness as a backdrop for three estranged brothers who grudgingly reunite for a mystery live-action role playing game around a case that promises to be more than it appears. Plus, there’re lumberjacks. Fri., June 27, 6:30pm.

Cendre (Cinder). A surreal fantasy (short largely in Macau) that tells the story of Cendre, a “fragile” young man whose first crush leads him through a series of dreamlike fairy-tale tableaus peopled with archetypes—Bluebeard, Red Riding Hood, and Sleeping Beauty appear—as he struggles to understand the nature of stories and the realities of love. Sat., June 28, 2014, 2pm.

The Unwanted. This Southern Gothic not-quite-vampire chiller is adapted from Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, a bloodsucking tale bursting at the seams with repressed lesbian romance. That same loaded atmosphere permeates The Unwanted, in which a mysterious woman comes to town looking for her mother and becomes the mutual obsession of a withdrawn waitress as the questions start to pile up. Sat., June 28, 3pm.

Gasp. Half hipster fable, half surreal horror flick, Gasp charts one night on a remote island where a shy young woman has been invited to a party by a charismatic stranger. When he doesn’t show, the group decides to have the time of their lives in his honor, so everyone takes psychedelic candies and heads out into the deserted landscape for an extremely emotionally responsible evening, probably. Sat., June 28, 3:35pm.

Glena. Glena Avila was a single mother in her mid-30s when she decided to become a mixed martial-arts cage fighter and quickly proved herself a formidable talent. Director Allan Luebke traces her climb through the MMA ranks and her family struggles with candid immediacy that lends gravity to moments like Avila having to lose a pound in 20 minutes to make weight cut. Sat., June 28, 7:20pm.

We Women Warriors. Nicole Karsin’s gripping documentary follows a trio of indigenous Colombian activists—Doris, an Awá tribal leader; Flor, a Nasa tribal leader, and Ludis, a Kankuamo woman wrongly imprisoned for murder—as they fight for personal safety through cultural recognition. Their situations are wrenching, but their determination makes this a story tinged with hope. Sun., June 29, 11:30am.

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