AT&T Broadband and The Sundance Channel invite you to celebrate the opening of the Festival. After the screenings join the party in the Sunken Balloom, Portland Art Museum North Wing. Music by Pink Martini. Opening Night Film and Party Tickets: $25. Film Only $8.

The Lady and the Duke
Eric Rohmer

Unhappy with both historical novels about the revolution and the films made from those novels, Rohmer decides to employ two distinct strategies: He uses a first-hand account of events, which in his mind is far more "truthful" than any historian’s most in-depth research; and, more audaciously, he avoids shooting in external settings, employing digital imaging throughout the film to recreate the city and period in exactitude. As he explains, "the face of Paris has changed so drastically that there is not one line of sight left from revolutionary times." Grace Elliott was a young Scottish aristocrat who found herself stuck in Paris during the Revolution. The film depicts the subtle relationship between Grace and Philippe "Egalite," Duke of Orleans and cousin of Louis XVI, King of France. Once lovers, two of them still share a complex and ambiguous friendship which is rendered all the more difficult by the stress of the events that begin to swirl around them.
As in all his work, loaded conversation (and what it reveals and disguises about the characters) takes the central position in the film. Rohmer effortlessly engages us in the nuances of Grace and the duke’s conversation, while leading us towards the different fates which await the participants of this historic and momentous occasion. (129 mins.) Print courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Selected Filmography: My Night at Maud’s (69), Claire’s Knee (70), Chloe in the Afternoon (72), Pauline at the Beach (82), Summer (85), A Tale of Spring (90), A Winter Tale (92), A Summer Tale (96), An Autumn Tale (98)

SHOWTIMES: 2/8, 7:15pm and 2/9, 9:30pm GU; 2/11, 8:30pm BW.

Me Without You
Sandra Goldbacher
Sandra Goldbacher’s knowing, bittersweet comedy chronicles 15 years of tumultuous friendship between Marina and Holly. Growing up in London in the 1970s, the inseparable two make a childhood pact to be best friends forever. Marina, the bolder of the two has style and glamour, but a dysfunctional home life. Holly, shy but brainy, has overprotective parents and nagging insecurity about her possessive best friend. As the two opposites move from teens to twenties, each wrestling with identity, family, school, love lives and secrets, the universal truths of friendship and loyalty are poignantly put to the test. "I have always been fascinated by how many women seem to have a ‘best friend’ who in some ways haunts them like a specter, and those early friendships can have an intoxicating power. I am still haunted by dreams of a best friend who I haven’t seen for 20 years. The thrill of that Siamese twin-like bond can be so seductive that it is hard to relinquish as you try to grow older together."—Sandra Goldbacher. (107 mins.) Print courtesy of IDP Films.

First Feature.

SHOWTIMES: 2/8, 7:30pm and 2/11, 7pm WH.

Italian for Beginners
Lone Scherfig
The newest addition to the Danish Dogme 95 produced films is the first by a woman director and the first where script, wit and charm really take precedence over technical improvisation. It begins as almost a parody of the themes of Bergmanesque psychodrama. Andreas, a young, inexperienced pastor wrestles with a crisis of faith as he comes to a Copenhagen suburb to take over a new parish. Lonely and friendless, Andreas is persuaded to sign up for an Italian class where he encounters a group
of five other lonely, single characters. The class becomes the lifeline for the group, each of whom has struggled with life’s misfortunes. But what at first appears the depressing gives way to comedic, romantic magic as they together find the love, friendship and solutions missing from their individual lives. "A neorealist Midsummer Night’s Dream, or perhaps Mike Leigh with a sweet tooth, Italian For Beginners is a rarity: a feel-good film that doesn’t insult your intelligence." - Telluride Film Festival. This year’s Danish submission for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. (118 mins.) Print courtesy of Miramax Films.

Filmography: The Birthday Trip (90), On Our Own (98).

SHOWTIMES: 2/8, 7pm BW and 2/10, 4:45pm WH.

13 Conversations About One Thing
Jill Sprechter
"Set in an unusually calm New York City and taking a richly ironic view of the contrasting perspectives of five characters who connect by happenstance, this film suggests that fate is largely dictated by how one approaches life. Gene (Alan Arkin) is a manager at a large insurance company who vents his habitual pessimism on a cheerful co-worker. Similarly moody and middle-aged, Walker (John Turturro) decides he can no longer be content with his life as a physics professor; he leaves his wife Patricia (Amy Irving) to face her own vast loneliness. Troy (Matthew McConaughey) is a young attorney whose dizzying career rise is tumbled by a single act. And Beatrice (Clea DuVall) is an optimistic young cleaning woman who rides on the wings of a past miracle until she suddenly needs another one. These ordinary people find themselves asking the eternal philosophical question: What is happiness, and how do we get it? Examining the dramatic impact of random and quotidian encounters, the intricate structure of the film is ingenious. While allowing for poignancy, intimacy, playfulness and optimism, the film pits the search for happiness against the bitter ironies of chance."—Toronto Film Festival. (94 mins.) Print courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Filmography: Clockwatchers (97).

SHOWTIMES: 2/8, 7:30pm BW and 2/9, 2pm WH.