Sunday marked the end of the 22nd annual Philadelphia Film Festival hosted by the Philadelphia Film Society. Running from October 17-27, The Philadelphia Film Festival has become a staple event for Philadelphia moviegoers for over two decades, delivering some of the best films of the year to a theater near you. With 96 features and 29 shorts from 36 different countries being sown, some of the films are Oscar contenders while others are lesser known.
One of the highlights was the on screen return of acting legend Robert Redford in “All is Lost”, which kicked off the festival last Thursday night. Known for his past roles in films such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Natural”, Redford plays a yacht sailor stranded at sea. Faced with what seems to be insurmountable obstacles, he must battle the elements and his own mortality as he struggles to find ways to survive. The film takes place entirely at sea and Redford is the only actor, making “All Is Lost” an exercise in filmmaking at its most stripped down. Many have proclaimed Redford’s performance as the best of his career, which is impressive especially considering he’s 77 years old.
Other notable films include “12 years a Slave”, which already has people talking about a possible Oscar nomination for lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Labor Day”, in which Kate Winslet plays a broken single mother, and “Philomena”, starring Judi Dench as a woman searching for her son and Steve Coogan as a journalist who covers it. Coogan also co-wrote the film.
One other notable moment was a 20th anniversary screening of “Philadelphia”. The 1993 film stars Tom Hanks as a lawyer wrongfully terminated for contracting AIDS and Denzel Washington as the lawyer that takes up his case. Director Jonathan Demme was present at the screening to talk about the film.
Didn’t get a chance to go to the Philadelphia Film Festival this year? One of the events at the festival was an “open house” tour of the historic Roxy Theater, which is currently being renovated by the Philadelphia Film Society. It is expected to open soon and movie goers can enjoy both classic and independent films there all year round.