Scene Here: Underground, Ireland, indies, Turkey, bicycles
The odd, the outrageous and the outlandish are hallmarks of the Boston Underground Film Festival, which celebrates its 21st year March 20-24 at the Brattle Theatre and Harvard Film Archive.
This year’s highlights include the New England premiere of French director Yann Gonzalez’s erotic thriller “Knife + Heart” (March 22, Brattle). It’s been described as a Brian De Palma-esque murder mystery by way of horror master Dario Argento. Set in 1970s Paris, it’s about gay-porn producer Anne (Vanessa Paradis); her favorite flamboyant actor-director, Archibald (Nicolas Maury); her editor and former lover, Lois (Kate Moran); and her ambitious new feature, which blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction.
The porn industry also figures prominently in “Mope” (March 22, Brattle) from director Lucas Heyne who’ll be in attendance. It’s a true-crime thriller about best friends Steve (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) and Tom (Kelly Sry), two low-end porn actors whose dreams of fame instead lead to murder.
Fresh from its world premiere at SXSW is “Tone-Deaf” (March 22, Brattle) from festival alumnus Richard Bates, Jr. A horror comedy with a political spin, it stars Amanda Crew and Robert Patrick.
Directors Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein will be on hand with their satire “Clickbait” (March 20, Brattle) about a college student who’ll do just about anything for Internet fame and who is kidnapped by a fan.
Go to bostonunderground.org.
Out of Ireland
St. Patrick’s Day will continue a bit longer this year, as the annual Irish Film Festival Boston brings its 2019 director’s choice feature, “Float Like a Butterfly,” to the Somerville Theatre on March 22 at 7:30 p.m. The film stars Hazel Doupe as a teenager who wants to train to be a boxer despite the objections of her father (Dara Devaney), a former fighter who spent 10 years in prison. There will be a post-screening discussion with writer-director Carmel Winters; Doupe and Devaney; and production designer Toma McCullim. The one-day festival will also feature the Oscar-nominated animated short “Late Afternoon.” Directed by Louise Bagnall, the 10-minute film is about an elderly woman who drifts between past and present as she relives moments from her life and searches for a connection within her fragmented memories.
Organizers say the festival will be back with multiple dates for its 20th anniversary in 2020.
Go to www.irishfilmfestival.com.
For 25 years, the devoted cinephiles who make up the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film have championed worthy under-the-radar films and brought numerous actors and filmmakers to their annual awards event. On March 17, at the Brattle Theatre, at 5 p.m., the Chlotrudis Awards celebrates its 25th anniversary by honoring this year’s best films, along with one of the society’s past favorites, “Marion Bridge” (2002). In attendance will be the film’s director, Wiebke von Carolsfeld and its composer, Lesley Barber (“Manchester by the Sea”). Also on hand will be actor-writer-director Don McKellar, who was first honored by the Chlotrudis Society in 2008 with its Body of Work Award.
Go to www.brattlefilm.org.
Beyond the Bosporus
The 18th annual Boston Turkish Film Festival, running March 21-April 7 at the Museum of Fine Arts, opens with “The Wild Pear Tree,” the latest from acclaimed director Nuri Bilge Ceylan (”Winter Sleep,” “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”). “The Wild Pear Tree” premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and was Turkey’s official entry for best foreign language film at the 2019 Academy Awards. It’s a drama about an ambitious intellectual whose dreams of becoming a writer are compromised when he returns to his village after graduating from college and becomes tangled in old debts and relationships. Other highlights include the Turkish cinema classic from the 1970s “The Bus,” about a group of refugees; Tolga Karaçelik’s “Butterflies,” winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize this year; and Banu Sivaci’s “The Pigeon,” winner of the best director award at the Sofia Film Festival.
Speaking of spokes
The 10th annual Ciclismo Classico Bike Travel Film Festival returns to Arlington’s Regent Theatre, March 20, at 7 p.m., with a program of short films. Highlights include “Rocky Road Trip: A Himalayan Bike Adventure,” about a group of teenage cyclists on a monthlong family trip; and “Not Quite Out of the Woods,” which follows a father and daughter’s overnight bike-packing trip in Western Massachusetts. That film celebrates adventure while detailing the family’s first year battling childhood leukemia. In “Making a Splash in Miami,” local cycling enthusiasts will likely recognize Greg Hum. A member of the festive monthly Boston Bike Party, he’s known for drumming while riding. The shows Hum’s drum-biking adventure through the Sunshine State.