Remember that creepy girl's ominous proclamation at the beginning of "Poltergeist"? It's fair to say the spirits in that '80s horror classic had nothing on the daunting task of trying to see all the good stuff at this year's Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. It kicks off Thursday and ends May 3, with about 280(!) feature and short-length films in between.
Sound intimidating? Maybe we can help. Here's a breakdown of can't-miss films by festival category. All are being screened at St. Anthony Main unless otherwise noted.
Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival
- What: Three-week fest with 200 features and 80 shorts from 61 countries
- When: April 12-May 3. Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 SE. Main St., Mpls
- Tickets: $9-$11 for single movies; various multi-film passes available. 612-331-4723 or www.mspfilmfest.org.
- Web: Continuing coverage at www.vita.mn. The festival's Twitter hash tag is #MSPFest12.
- View the full schedule, including showtimes, reviews and movie trailers
What is it? This program includes the opening- and closing-night films, along with several other screenings that are more than the typical movie experience.
Don't miss: "The Dreileben Trilogy" -- three German films shot by three directors (similar to the recent "Red Riding Trilogy"), all centering on an escaped mental patient who may be a killer.
- When: 5:30 p.m. Fri. & May 2. For $20, you can see all three in one sitting. And we recommend you do -- it's worth the inevitable atrophy.
- Dreileben: Beats Being Dead
- Dreileben: Don't Follow Me Around
- Dreileben: One Minute of Darkness
What is it? Pretty self-explanatory: the latest U.S. indie titles that have played at Sundance, South by Southwest and elsewhere.
Don't miss: "Compliance." Based on an actual incident involving a prank phone call at a fast-food restaurant, this harrowing film generated plenty of audience controversy at Sundance. It's the latest from Craig Zobel, whose debut "Great World of Sound" was a gem.
What is it? Interested in more extreme, genre and cult films? Check out the Late Night series for good ol' messed-up fun. We're excited to check out all the titles in this series, but if we had to pick one. ...
Don't miss: "Kill List." Writer/director Ben Wheatley ("Down Terrace") has quickly ascended the genre ranks after two great films. "Kill List" is a graceful marriage of domestic drama, hit-man movie and cult horror movie (think "The Wicker Man"), and it's sure to leave an impression.
What is it? Lots to choose from, and often quite fun, MSPIFF's short-film programs this year include a series for kids, four separate local presentations (Minnesota Shorts) and both international and U.S.-centric programs.
Don't miss: The "10+10" program at the Heights Theatre. We're recommending this simply based on the man responsible for this program: the great Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien ("Flight of the Red Balloon"), who selected 10 old hands and 10 newbies from his country to create 20 shorts about Taiwan.
Spotlight: Middle East
What is it? The Middle East has grown into an exciting region for world cinema. All the unrest is creating a generation of filmmakers looking to push the medium and provoke discussion. We're happy to see this part of the world highlighted at MSPIFF.