Be assured there’s something for every film taste at the Sarasota Film Festival: foreign films, comedies, thrillers, romance, action, drama, family movies and even a rock horror musical.
Still, with 168 films to chose from, some people might feel a bit overwhelmed by it all. So each year, the Herald chats with Tom Hall, Sarasota Film Festival artistic director, about a few must-see films during the festival.
For Hall, choosing a handful out of the large crop of films is like “picking your children,” he said. “You can’t play favorites. We love all of them.”
Below is a random list of 10 films Hall thinks audiences will enjoy, though there are many more he believes you should see.
1. “Hadewijch,” 4 p.m. April 17. French with English subtitles.
Céline (Julie Sokolowski) aspires to become a nun. Her faith is so strong, she refuses to follow the rules of her novitiate and is asked to leave the abbey that she may apply her faith in the real world. But when she befriends an Arab boy named Yassine (Yassine Salime), things take an unexpected turn.
Hall: “It’s a very controversial movie and I’m interested to see what the audience makes of it because it’s a hot button movie.”
2. “Hideaway (Le Refuge),” 7:30 p.m. April 15 and 5:15 p.m. April 18. French with English subtitles
Isabelle Carré plays Mousse, a drug addict who awakens to discover that she and her wealthy lover Louis (Melvil Poupaud) have overdosed. She has survived. He has not, which deeply complicates the fact that Mousse is pregnant with his child.
3. “Kick Ass,” 9 p.m. April 14
Being a superhero is never easy, especially when you don’t have any super powers. Meet Kick Ass, one of a new breed of vigilantes who takes the law into his own hands in order to protect the common good.
Side note: This one’s not for the kiddies. Hall warns the film has lots of violence and adult language, “but it’s very good.”
4. “I Forgot to Tell You,” 7:15 p.m. April 13 and 6:45 p.m. April 14
In the rolling hills of France, Marie, a recovering delinquent, seeks a fresh start and an opportunity to pursue her interest in painting. When she meets the gruff Jaume (Omar Sharif), who carries a canvas and paintbrushes, Marie senses an instant connection, and takes up an apprenticeship with the older artist.
5. “Don’t Go In The Woods,” 9:15 p.m. April 16 and 9:30 p.m. April 17
A horror rock musical about a young rock ’n’ roll band that ventures into the forest to focus their creative energies on songs for their next album. But when things don’t go according to plan, a series of murders unfolds and reshapes their music in ways they never expected.
Side note: director Vincent D’Onofrio will talk about the film during “In Conversation With ...” at 1 p.m. April 18 at Florida Studio Theatre.
6. “Cold Weather,” 5:15 p.m. April 16 and 4:15 p.m. April 18
In this comedic thriller, brother and sister, Doug and Gail, have just moved back to their hometown of Portland, Ore., hoping for another chance to jump start their adult lives. When Doug’s ex-girlfriend comes to town unexpectedly, only to disappear shortly after, Doug, Gail and their new friend, Carlos, appoint themselves as detectives in what they see as a real-life Sherlock Holmes situation.
7. “Tiny Furniture,” noon April 17 and 3:45 p.m. April 18
A coming-of-age tale about Aura, a recent college grad, who despite all the trappings of a successful education, is forced to start her independent adulthood from scratch. When not working at a tedious part-time restaurant job, Aura seeks connections with friends and lovers who seem to act only in their own self-interest.
Side note: This film won the grand jury prize at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March. Also, director and star Lena Dunham will be at the festival to talk about her film.
8. “The Freebie,” 5:45 p.m. April 15 and 1:45 p.m. April 18
This comic look at married life features a young married couple who decide, for one night, that they are free to have a one-night stand — no questions asked.
Hall: “It sounds funny, but it ends up being a moving drama about their marriage and their feelings for one another and the impact that this decision has on their relationship. It’s very strong.” Also, director and star Katie Aselton will be on hand to talk about her film.
9. “Five Hours From Paris,” 1:30 p.m. April 15 and 7:30 p.m. April 17. Hebrew with English subtitles
A man falls for his son’s married music teacher. The film follows how these two kindred spirits navigate through the circumstances of their relationship.
10. “Everyone Else,” 2:15 p.m. April 12 and 2:30 p.m. April 13. German with English subtitles
A couple enjoying a vacation find themselves on the road to a breakup when Chris, a young architect, receives bad news from work. He decides to hide it from his girlfriend, the free spirited Gitti.
All films will be shown at Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20, 1993 Main St., Sarasota. Film tickets are $10 general admission, $8 students. Family films are free for children under 12. Matinees are $8. The film festival box office is in the Synovous Bank Building, 1990 Main St., Suite 112, across from the Hollywood 20. Information: 366-6200; www.sarasotafilm festival.com.