The Scottsdale International Film Festival is just around the corner, taking place Oct. 1-5 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Virginia G. Piper Theater and the Harkins Camelview 5. It features such titles as Backyard with Jimmy Smits, chronicling the violence in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez, Chameleon, Letters to Father Jacob, Protecktor and Nora’s Will. The festival opens with Stieg Larsson’s mystery novel adaptation The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, and closes with Conviction starring Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver and Peter Gallagher.
While the programming is chock-full of serious Oscar contenders and intriguing art films, several shows have a definite flavor of the fantastic that will appeal to sci-fi and comics fans.
Quick Gun Murugun (India; in Tamil, Hindi and English with subtitles) stands out for its combination of East and West, and its self-described genre of “time-traveling Bollywood comedy-Western”:
Set in the outrageous and often unpredictable world of Bollywood cinema (but limiting itself to a U.S.-friendly running time) the film follows the title character, vegetarian gunslinger Quick Gun Murugun, through time and space, as he battles the diabolical Rice Plate Reddy. Rice Plate and his mob terrorize the countryside forcing all eating establishments to follow his strict non-vegetarian guidelines, scheming to abolish vegetarianism all together.
Showtimes: 8:30 Oct. 2 and 8:45 Oct. 3 at Camelview.
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Road, Movie (India/USA; Hindi and English with subtitles) is the story of a young man “driven by wanderlust” who crosses the desert in an antique Chevy to deliver the vehicle to a museum. Along the way he has adventures that parallel the classic Arabic tale One Thousand and One Nights:
The journey turns dire when they are waylaid by corrupt cops and a notorious waterlord. The key to their freedom is the eccentric collection of films and the two forty-year-old film projectors in the back of the truck. As in 1001 Nights, if the films are good, they live and move on. If the films are boring, they face death in the Indian outback.
Showtimes: 9:05 a.m. Oct. 2 and 9:10 a.m. Oct. 3 at Camelview
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Largo Winch (France/Belgium; French, English and Croatian with subtitles) is based on a Belgian comic book series of the same name that itself spawned from a series of novels in the ’70s:
Nerio Winch has created an empire of wealth. In modern-day Hong Kong, that wealth has attracted the kind of greed that makes people do bad things. When Nerio Winch is slain, the world is stunned to discover that he has secured an heir in his adopted son Largo. The legitimacy of this succession is immediately called into question, but the thing Largo seems to care about most is uncovering the truth behind his father’s murder.
Showtimes: 8:50 p.m. Oct. 4 and 4 p.m. Oct. 5 at Camelview
Single tickets to festival screenings cost $10 to $25, and passes range from $35 to $165. For more information, visit www.ScottsdaleFilmFestival.com or call (602) 410-1074.