This weekend, March 22–24, audiences have their last chance to catch some of this year’s best and most unique cinema at the Portland International Film Festival (PIFF). PIFF 42 concludes this weekend with the festival’s encore screenings, a slate of eight audience favorites from the festival’s offerings. Among them is Los Reyes, a Chilean documentary that details the realities of urban life in Santiago by chronicling the young people and two black dogs that frequent one of the city’s skateparks. The Silence of Others, directed by Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo — colleagues at New York University and collaborators on the Emmy-winning documentary Made in L.A. — offers a cinematic portrait of Argentinian courts’ attempts to prosecute for the first time in history the crimes of the Franco dictatorship in Spain. Also showing this weekend is Oregon filmmaker Jan Haaken’s feature Our Bodies Our Doctors, which profiles a group of doctors and nurses working to provide female reproductive healthcare despite pressure and scrutiny.
Since 1977, PIFF has blessed Portland with collections of wonderfully made films from all over the world produced by a diverse array of filmmakers, both new and experienced. This year marks the forty-second year of the festival, which includes many movies, including feature films, documentaries, and shorts. The festival has been going on for the past two weeks and comes to a close this Sunday, March 24. Over these two weeks, festival screenings have filled theaters across Portland, including the Empirical Theater at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the Whitsell Auditorium at the Northwest Film Center, Cinema 21 in Northwest Portland, and Cinemagic, just up the road from Reed on Hawthorne.
PIFF categorizes the movies into several different groups based on the films’ creators, their content, and their length — shorts and full length features both. Two sections are devoted to directors: the Masters series is for films made by especially renowned veteran filmmakers and the New Director series is reserved for emerging filmmakers. The films in the Global Panorama series all illustrate stories that extend beyond one group of people and involve the intersection of several nations and cultures. Animated Worlds is dedicated to award-winning animated films, and PIFF After Dark is dedicated to genre-bending films.
This year’s festival showcased four films by the award-winning Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel. The festival screened her first three features as well as her most recent movie, Zama, which was shown at PIFF last year and highly acclaimed. Martel attended all four screenings and answered questions from the audience.
This year’s PIFF exhibited many fantastic films to enjoy and learn from. Our favorite film that we saw was An Elephant Sitting Still by the young novelist turned filmmaker Hu Bo about four characters’ struggles in a city hit by economic hardships. We’re excited to catch the documentary Los Reyes during the encore screenings. The Portland International Film Festival offers a wonderful opportunity for Reed students to experience different perspectives and just watch some all-around good movies.All information about the festival can be found on the PIFF website for the Northwest Film Center at nwfilm.org.