Movie Magazine International

AFI 1997 International Film Festival


Special Report By Andrea Chase

Time once again for the American Film Institute's International Film Festival. I've been to eighteen advance screenings and here are my picks and pans.

"Best Man" is the follow up to Ira Wohl's Academy Award winning documentary "Best Boy." In it, we catch up with the mentally handicapped Philly and discover that he's become more outgoing, and even developed a spiritual side.

"Trekkies" is a documentary about the biggest TV phenomenon of this century. It doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already suspect about those who are passionately devoted to Trek in all its incarnation, but it's funny and light-hearted. I particularly enjoyed the dentist who's turned his office into star base dental, complete with office staff in full uniform.

"Punching the Clown" is a faux docmumentary about satirical songwriter Henry Phillips. This guy's Tom Lehrer and Lenny Bruce rolled into one.

"Journey on the Hour Hand" is an enigmatic film from Turkey. It begins with a mysterious stranger who can heal broken clocks with the touch of his hand, sending an itinerant clockmaker on a quest.

"No Child of Mine" is an English docu-drama based on the harrowing story of sexual abuse suffered by one child at the hands of her parents. The sexual abuse is handled with great sensitivity, but as well-done as the film is, it's still a bit clinical.

Films to avoid at all costs include Japan's "The Key," a ponderous and pretentious film with the plot of a porno film, but none of the hard-core sex scenes. "Elles" is a film which demonstrates that Luxembourg can turn out the same sort of sudsy pot-boilers as our very own lifetime channel here in the U.S. "Landscapes of Memory" shows us a group of fierce faced old women wandering the Brazilian backroads on a mission from God. At least that's what I think it was about. Not even checking the publicity kit on this one was much help.

In honor of Halloween, AFI's traditional all-night marathon will be all monster flicks! There will also be panel discussions on film as art, and how to break into the biz. Hollywood's AFI International Film Festival runs October 23 - November 1. For more information, give them a call at (213) 856-7707. Or check out their website at

© 1997 Andrea Chase Air Date: 10/22/97

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