The Northwest Film Center’s 40th Portland International Film Festival once again includes the popular, boundary-pushing fare that constitutes our PIFF After Dark program, showcasing late night movies like Emiliano Rocha Minter’s We Are the Flesh, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s (Pulse) Daguerrotype, André Øvredal’s (Troll Hunter) The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Nicholas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother, and Oriol Paulo’s (The Body) The Invisible Guest. As in past years, PIFF After Dark presents films chosen with adventurous festival attendees in mind. For the first time, all seven PIFF After Dark shows are scheduled to happen at the Bagdad Theater (3702 SE Hawthorne Boulevard) and will include short, After Dark-themed films presented before each feature.
Complete program listings:
February 10 – Friday 10:30 p.m.
The Invisible Guest (Dir. Oriol Paulo) – Spain/South Korea
As a suspect is prepped for court testimony, the story of the crime, a murder in a hotel room where only two people—the accused and the victim—were present, deepens as new details emerge with each retelling. Director Oriol Paulo’s (The Body) film is Rashomonic in structure but keeping the action centered entirely on one person’s shifting account of the abominable act. An exquisitely intelligent and tense thriller crafted for adult audiences. “Early on, certain points are so ridiculously made and ‘on the button’ that they elicit laughter. Rest assured, that’s intentional. The Invisible Guest goes beyond locked rooms into the forbidden territory of adult motivations.” – Peter Martin, Screen Anarchy – In Spanish with English subtitles. (106 mins.)
Dir. Simon Cartwright | United Kingdom
A man undergoing primal scream therapy releases his own Mr. Hyde and then hits the town with him. (11 mins.)
February 11 – Saturday 10:30 p.m.
We Are the Flesh (Dir. Emiliano Rocha Minter) – Mexico
The most transgressive film in this year’s program, Minter’s trance-inducing debut feature concerns a brother and sister drawn into an underground sanctuary inhabited by a lone stranger. In return for shelter, the man demands they push themselves into a series of shocking ritualistic actions with each other, their newfound guardian, and those who visit the subterranean and fleshy, womb-like structure they begin constructing. Adult Audiences. “Serving as co-editor as well as writer and director, Emiliano Rocha Minter is very much the author of all the chaos wrought here, and his thoroughly arresting vision could squat quite comfortably alongside Hieronymus Bosch’s depiction of hell.” – Catherine Bray, Variety – In Spanish with English subtitles. (79 mins.)
Sponsored by Shudder
Ariel Gardner, Alex Kavutskiy | United States
“A film about male entitlement and the role of women in society—a smart and funny movie that says a whole lot in ten minutes.” — Catherine Bray, Birth. Movies. Death. (11 mins.)
Directors Ariel Gardner and Alex Kavutskiy in attendance.
February 12 – Sunday 10:30 p.m.
A Dark Song (Dir. Liam Gavin) – Ireland/United Kingdom
A grieving mother (Catherine Walker) hires a man (Steve Oram) well-versed in the occult to help bring her son back to life. The genius of writer/director Liam Gavin’s film is how, unlike most films with a supernatural conceit, it paints its character’s attempts to break on through to the other side as humorous, highly questionable, and above all, time-consuming. Favoring the notion that the journey is just as important as the destination, A Dark Song upends audience expectations of how horror films about people trying to resurrect their loved ones ought to operate. “A Dark Song is more concerned with psychological demons than the supernatural kind, and all the stronger for it.” – Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter (100 mins.)
Sponsored by Shudder
The Man from Death
Stephen Reedy | United States
A manic homage to spaghetti Westerns, video game iconography, and ADHD. (13 mins.)
February 17 – Friday 10:30 p.m.
The Eyes of My Mother (Dir. Nicolas Pesce) – United States
A young girl named Francisca witnesses a terrible act of violence perpetrated by a stranger upon her mother. Years later, the child has grown into a solitary woman whose life on the same farm where those events occurred has devolved into a cycle of caring for her family’s livestock and a mysterious figure sequestered away in the barn. When Francisca finally opens herself up to human contact, however, it threatens to both break the patterns she’s established and rip the precariously hung safety net out from below her feet. Director Nicolas Pesce’s debut film is a visual treat, filled with breathlessly orchestrated passages, and forbidden fruit that’s rotten to the core. “If Ingmar Bergman had helmed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, it might look something like this exquisite nightmare.”—The A.V. Club. (76 mins.)
Hallvard Holmen, Aleksander Nordaas | Norway
A child watches as a squabble between neighbors unfolds. (10 mins.)
February 18 – Saturday 10:30 p.m.
Daguerrotype (Dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa) – Japan
Japanese horror master Kiyoshi Kurosawa continues his winning stream with this patient and elegantly rendered ghost story set in modern-day France. Jean (Tahar Rahim) is hired as the assistant to Stéphane, a former fashion photographer who wallows in grief for his late wife while stubbornly clinging to the antiquated, long-exposure process of daguerreotype photography. As Jean learns the ropes, he begins to fall for Stéphane’s daughter Marie who endures, as her mother did in the past, the painful and physically demanding role of modeling for her father’s images. In French with English subtitles. “You’ll need patience for it to work on you, but all effort’s repaid tenfold, thanks to Kurosawa’s murmur-soft, immaculate craft and a trio of gorgeous central performances.” – Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
Sponsored by TV5Monde
Craig D. Foster | Australia
Workplace stresses conspire to bring out the inner beast when mandatory overtime comes into play. (9 mins.)
February 24 – Friday 10:30 p.m.
Without Name (Dir. Lorcan Finnegan) – Ireland
Eric, a surveyor by trade, is hired by a corporate developer to assess a large plot of ancient forest. Superstitious warnings from the locals about the area, the discovery of a handwritten book filled with hallucinogenic recipes and half-mad ravings about trees, and a shadowy figure have Eric on edge. First time director Lorcan Finnegan’s eco-horror tale not only offers up the most vivid dose of paranoia tied to location since Polanski’s The Tenant, it also throws down the gauntlet for the creepiest trees captured on film this decade. “Without Name is the truest, and perhaps finest, example of the Lovecraftian sensibility ever put on film.” – Peter Gutierrez, Screen Anarchy (93 mins.)
Strangers in the Night
Conor McMahon | Ireland
While protecting his grandmother from a banshee, Damien is overcome by unexpected feelings for the creature. (12 mins.)
February 25 – Saturday 10:30 p.m.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (Dir. André Øvredal) – United Kingdom/United States
A father (Brian Cox) and son (Emile Hirsch) coroner team delve into the mystery of a body discovered at a site of multiple murders. Unlike the other casualties of the crime, the corpse delivered to them is untouched by the multiple traumas visited upon the other victims. The deeper the two dig into this fleshy puzzle, the more disturbing secrets, residing tantalizingly below the surface, are revealed. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe is proof that Trollhunter was no fluke – André Øvredal is one of the most clever guys making genre movies today and he’s refusing to let himself get boxed into a corner.” – Jacob Hall, Slash Film (86 mins.)
Will Blank | United States
Stranded in the desert, a man is given a chance to wish for anything he wants. (8 mins.)
Tickets for PIFF After Dark shows available at https://nwfilm.org/film-series/piff-after-dark/