The Provincetown International Film Festival will be screening nearly 60 features and documentaries from June 18-22. Here are five you shouldn’t miss.
(June 19 at 4:30 p.m. at Town Hall and June 21 at
7 p.m. at the Art House)
One of the most prolific and inventive independent filmmakers, Joe Swanberg follows up his brilliant, underrated comedy, “Drinking Buddies,” with this perhaps ironically titled tale of a young woman (Anna Kendrick) who shows up as the holidays kick in at the Chicago home of her filmmaker brother (Swanberg, of course) and his writer wife and little boy. Keeping things from getting too self-referential, Kendrick’s character is accompanied by her rowdy bff, played by Lena Dunham (left, with Kendrick), creator and star of HBO’s “Girls.”
John Waters Presents: Abuse of Weakness
(June 22 at 4:30 p.m. at the Art House)
A highlight of every PIFF is the screening of a film chosen, introduced, and discussed by Waters. This year he’s picked the latest feature by Catherine Breillat, who nearly equals Waters in her transgressiveness, but is not as funny. Isabelle Huppert plays a filmmaker (another one?) incapacitated by a stroke, who makes the dubious decision to cast a con man in her next movie.
A Master Builder
(June 22 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall)
Auteur Jonathan Demme makes a welcome return to the screen with this adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play. Wallace Shawn plays the celebrated, 60-something architect of the title whose complacent life of domestic tranquillity, satisfying infidelity, and erection of edifices collides with a vivacious young woman with a troubled past and a disturbing agenda.
Venus in Fur
(June 18 at 9:30 p.m. at the Art House and June 19 at 9:45 p.m. at the Waters Edge)
It seems inevitable that the ever-twisted Roman Polanski would get around to directing a film involving the Leopold Sacher-Masoch (as in “masochism”) novel “Venus in Furs”. An adaptation of David Ives’s critically acclaimed play, it stars Mathieu Amalric as a playwright who is frustrated in his attempts to cast the dominatrix in a stage production of the book. Then, an actress played by Emmanuelle Seigner (Polanski’s wife) convinces him to join her in a read-through of the play, and art imitates life, or vice versa, or some kinky combination of the two.
Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
(June 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Waters Edge, June 22 at 1:45 p.m. at the Art House)
As Johnny Depp and other stars pop up in Boston locations shooting a fictional version of the monstrous mobster’s life, you might want to catch Joe Berlinger’s documentary of the real story. An incredible account of corruption, brutality, cunning, and murder, it exposes with remarkable clarity the complexities and tragedies of how a South Boston punk rose to become second only to Osama bin Laden on the FBI most-wanted list, and in the process turned the FBI itself into an instrument of his own criminality.