For veterans working on their second decade covering the 19th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF), there was a positive vibe this year. While not quite the glory days when Louise Fletcher, Robert Davi and Malcolm McDowell visited, there was a sense that those glory days are on the horizon. It also helped that they showcased some fine films.
Life Inside and Out took the Best Feature Film award. It is a domestic drama written by Maggie Bird. Bird also co-stars with her son Finneas O’Connor, who play the fictional mother and sullen son. Both Bird and O’Connor were in attendance for the closing ceremony at the Cinemark last Thursday night.
The best documentary went to Faberge: A Life of its Own. Created during the times of the Russian Tsars, these “Easter Eggs” tell a fascinating story involving international intrigue. The film also documents the commercial opportunities that these golden eggs created.
Lion Ark took the Best Documentary Audience Award, a film that screened at last year’s Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival. This film, about saving lions from circuses in Bolivia, features a triumphant conclusion after much danger and politics.
On the box office horizon, Nicholas Cage is making a critical return with Joe. Unlike the action hero roles that have paid his bills for the past two decades, Cage returns to a complex role that he used to be known for. Joe is an ex-convict with a bad attitude, who is given a chance for salvation when he meets a bullied boy in the south.
In two weeks, The German Doctor opens at area art house movie theaters. Winner of nine Sur Awards (Argentine’s Oscar), this film is about a doctor who befriends a family in Argentina. Unknown to the family, this doctor is actually a dangerous criminal who is being pursued by Israeli agents.
It has been 10 years since The Passion of Christ broke box office records for best foreign language film (a box office record that still stands). Since then, director Mel Gibson’s career has floundered but the film did tap a marketplace that had been ignored by Hollywood executives,– ticket-buying Christians. This week’s box office results will prove to be an interesting commentary for Easter Sunday.