For a lot of us, going to the movies is sort of like going to church. We file in, observing the customs and decorum (at least those of us who aren’t inveterate theater-chatterers or cell-phone miscreants, and you know who you are). We take our seats, ranked in rows like pews, though fortunately more comfortable. Once the proceedings begin, we take them in raptly, responding as called upon—laughing, crying, peeping out from between our fingers. We leave our worldly troubles at the lobby door—though certain films can bring them up in a new way—and try to reach out and be touched by something perhaps a bit larger than ourselves for a few hours. Though movies could never take the place of worship for many, for others it is the same kind of calling.
So think of this year’s Maryland Film Festival as an old-time tent revival. There are movies playing all over town every day, but for one weekend a year, the Charles Theatre and a handful of other local screens host a night-and-day frenzy of screenings that is food for the soul of the cinephile: up-and-coming features, probing documentaries, experimental reels, beloved obscurities, uncategorizable oddities, all at short-film and feature length, all presented in one of the city’s premier cinema temples among a host of the fellow faithful. And so, we believers here at City Paper present Film Fest Frenzy, our annual unofficial guide to the MFF; feel free to fan yourself with it if it gets too hot.
In this year’s guide, we not only provide a copy of the full schedule and our usual reviews of every film we could get our hands on, we also talk to comic/liberal pundit Al Franken about his role as himself in the new documentary Al Franken: God Spoke. Plus, we catch up with local-boy-making-good Matt Porterfield, about his Balto-centric art film Hamilton. And our write-up on silent-film horror The Call of Cthulhu is found only here on Citypaper.com.
And, as usual, we’re going to make one lucky film nut’s prayers come true. Check out the MFF trivia questions listed there. Be the first person to submit the correct answers and you’ll win a free pass to MFF 2006 (opening-night event excepted). Make sure you enter your e-mail address and please include your name and daytime phone number. Past FFF quiz winners and members of the CP extended family are not eligible.
Film Fest Frenzy 2006 (not affiliated with the Maryland Film Festival) was written by Anna Ditkoff, Edward Ericson Jr., Lee Gardner, Violet Glaze, Jess Harvell, Eric Allen Hatch, Nicole Leistikow, Bret McCabe, and Christopher Skokna. Jim Lucio took the iconic photograph on the cover. As always, we offer thanks and praise to Jed Dietz, Dan Krovich, and the other devoted acolytes at the Maryland Film Festival.
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