We'd encourage you to see as many of the movies at this year's Scottsdale International Film Festival as you possibly can. Once again, festival director Amy Ettinger has put together a fantastic lineup of intriguing documentaries and narrative films that will challenge, inspire and entertain you. If you have to pick and choose, we've selected five movies you shouldn't miss during the festival, which opens at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, November 5. Screenings continue through Monday, November 9, at Harkins Shea 14 Theater.
Thursday, November 5, 7:30 p.m. at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
The festival opens this year with both a documentary about and performance by the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan youth symphony that plays instruments made entirely out of recycled trash. These kids are incredibly talented and prove just how healing the arts can be, no matter what the situation. Turning found items into beautiful music is no easy feat and the chance to hear them live after the screening is a rare treat.
A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile
Saturday, November 7, 2 p.m. and Sunday, November 8, 11:50 a.m.
The uprising in Syria and subsequent refugee crisis has been all over the news lately, but this story of one woman's disappearance helps to shed light on what it's like there on a smaller scale. This hybrid-documentary follows the search for lesbian blogger Amina Arraf who was abducted after posting first-hand accounts of the resistance and happenings around her.
Saturday, November 7, 6 p.m.
When a woman stuck in a loveless marriage in the 1950s falls for a female clerk working in a department store, it's only a matter of time before their relationship becomes complicated. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star as the couple in questions, while Kyle Chandler plays the husband who soon not only discovers the affair, but aims to put a stop to it, quickly.
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Sunday, November 8, 7:30 p.m.
Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau carry this modern-day holocaust revenge film as Auschwitz survivors who embark on a journey to find the sadistic guard who murdered their families. Though one is wheelchair bound and the other struggles with memory loss, this cross-continental search for justice could be the defining moments at the end of their lives.
Saturday, November 7, 8 p.m.
A stop-motion film from the mind of Charlie Kaufman, this one is an extremely intriguing project. With an unconventional romance at the center of the story and an even more unconventional visual presentation, it's the kind of movie that you'll be talking and thinking about for days to come.
The Scottsdale International Film Festival runs from Thursday, November 5, through Monday, November 9, at the Scottsdale Center of the Performing Arts (November 5 only) and Harkins Shea 14 Theater. Opening night tickets are $39, while individual screenings range in cost from $5 in advance for children's movies to $12. The complete schedule and tickets are available at www.scottsdalefilmfestival.com.