December 6, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Film Festival Opens With Sold-Out Offering

"Festival opens with Bill Murray film..."

By Tom Maguire

Culture Vulture

Tom Maguire is a musician, arts supporter and a guy who travels the Southwest in a 13’ Scamp trailer, because he couldn’t figure out how the tent poles went together.

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Bill Murray’s career-topping performance as FDR in “Hyde Park on the Hudson” pulls back the curtain on the complicated domestic arrangements at FDR’s New York country estate, during a royal visit from King George VI. With this sold-out opening film at the Screen, the Santa Fe Film Festival roars into its 13th season, tonight through Sunday. Other films are guaranteed to have good advance sales, so start making your plans now.

There are two ways to approach a bustling schedule at any film festival. You can begin by reviewing trailers and descriptions at the festival’s website and then the screening schedule/venue listings or the other way around. I advise the latter, because, if you select films by descriptions or by viewing trailers first, you might find two of them running at the exact same time at different locations or one ending minutes before another starts at a different theater. By its very nature, any kind of festival—music, theater, film—provides multiple choices at any given time of day or night.  Which is both the pleasure and pain of attending a film festival, as you know that it will be hard to find any of the films you miss until they end up on Netflix.

My action plan of choice is to look at the schedule of the Santa Fe Film Festival online, I begin to narrow my focus on the tittles offered, then think about the distances between the various venues—The Screen, CCA, The Lensic and the New Mexico History Museum—and driving times between them. Only then do I focus on the trailers and descriptions. If I see items I like, I try to arrange my schedule at times that make sense and buy tickets in advance. I don’t want to get all excited about films nearly back-to-back and then think: “I can’t possibly make it to that film without: a) causing a major traffic incident, b) being too late to get into a film or c) destroying my car on a traffic hump on the way.”

All of that said, here are a couple of my “likes” for Friday

A.k.A. Doc Pomus11 a.m. at CCA 
This Canadian documentary by William Hechter in English is about legendary songwriter Doc Pomus. Ravaged by childhood polio, Pomus wrote thousands of hit songs from his wheelchair, including “Save the Last Dance for Me,” a song he wrote for his wife.  Doc’s tale of disability and possibility is told by friends, a who's who of Rock Legends.

In Another Country4 p.m. at The Screen
Legendary French actress Isabelle Huppert stars in South Korean master filmmaker Hong Sang-Soo’s latest tale of love, lust and misunderstanding. An effortless, laugh-out-loud comedy that plays like a lost French New Wave classic, this film is in English and Korean with English subtitles.

Quartet7 p.m. at The Lensic
At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the ex-wife of one of the residents. This comedy/drama, with an all-star English cast, is veteran actor Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut.

Now, if I can only figure out how to be in two places at once?

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