BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC With films from 41 countries in this year’s Philadelphia Film Festival, it is tempting to treat the two weeks like a whirlwind tour; you can scramble like Bond across every continent and study the faces of people worlds way. As exotic as such globetrotting is, let’s not forget this is Philadelphia, and things can get pretty curious right here, as well.
Andrew McElhinney wrote in the current Philadelphia Weekly about two local filmmakers whose shorts go on tonight at the International House as part of a program titled Cigarettes And Whiskey And Wild Wild Women (do people still remember that 1940’s Red Engle song?). Heather Henderson and Anne Frangiosa are both part of the burlesque troop The Peek-A-Boo Review, who until the recent fire held a monthly residency at Old City’s Five Spot. Unsurprisingly, sex is on their minds both in Henderson’s Podnuts, which luxuriates in a foot and donut fetish, and Frangiosa’s Case Study 040906, a Guy Maddin-esque throwback that leers at psycho-sexual deviates in a broken-down asylum (in which — full disclosure, yours truly can be briefly spotted sporting women’s hosiery). Also, on a local music bent, Joseph Krzemienski’s Cuidado animates a Wild West shoot-out to the music of Mike Brenner’s Slo-Mo, and Vorcan’s Leanna’s Song features painters slapping their brushes over at Ortleib’s Jazzhaus. TONIGHT, 9:15 p.m, International House
Staying local, Philadelphia’s high-flying rhetorician Camille Paglia will be on hand at the Ritz to discuss one of her (and everyone’s) all-time favorites, The Philadelphia Story. The film is 67 years old this year, and while some of its theatrical roots now creak under those Main Line hardwood floors, the mastery exhibited by Hepburn, James Stewart and Cary Grant still leaves you a little light-headed. It was a harsh comedown when I realized that becoming an adult wasn’t a gateway into a world where we all spend the day chatting in such concisely witty dialogue like this straight off the top of our heads. The contradictory philosophies of Ms. Paglia have found their match in a film where Hepburn rules the roost yet still forgives Cary Grant for bashing her in the face in the opening scene. TONIGHT, 6:45 p.m., Ritz Five
I wish I knew braver souls so I could make them see Taxidermia, the sophomore film from Gyorgy Palfi, the Hungarian whose dialogue-less Hukkle was a festival favorite back in 2003. The gentle surrealism of his debut has turned absurdly grotesque, with a fairly indescribable story of three generations of men who dabble in swine necrophilia, projectile vomiting and human taxidermy. It’s a pleasingly stylized world of muck and filth, explicit sex and medical procedures, romantic rivalries and hasty executions, all told with a cartoonishness that recalls Fellini and Terry Gilliam, except, uh, Hungarian. Taxidermia must be seen to be believed, preferably with a giggling and slightly horrified crowd. With music from Amon Tobin. TONIGHT, 5 p.m, Prince Music Theater & Friday April 13 10:00 Ritz East
More late-breaking changes: the screenings of Dans Paris, the knowing French comedy from Christophe (Ma Mere) Honore has been cancelled, replaced with a new entry Snow Cake, a death-dwelling drama with Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman. See you at the theater, if I don’t get caught smuggling in my own candy.