CULTURE

Festival ushers in cinema season

«Entertainment as an expression of high art» is how artistic director of the 15th Athens International Film Festival, Orestis Andreadakis, chose to describe the lineup of award-winning new films and older favorites on offer this fall. And at the September 10 press conference, festival organizers the Athens Film Society, with the cooperation of Cinema magazine, indicated they were creating the framework for a program of international and Greek screenings that are both audience-friendly and critically acclaimed. All in all, the 110 films being shown from September 16 to 27 will appeal to critics just as much as the general public, with a mix of premieres, director tributes and cult favorites. Sandwiched between the opening film, «An Education,» with a script by Nick Hornby and a cast including Peter Sargaard, Alfred Molina and Emma Thompson, and the closing movie – with Pedro Almodovar again directing his muse Penelope Cruz in «Los abrazos rotos» – will be premieres of «Taking Woodstock,» Ang Lee’s latest film starring Greek-American Demetri Martin; high-culture love story «Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky» (directed by Jan Kounen, with Anna Mouglalis as Coco); «Julie & Julia» («her performance goes beyond physical imitation,» says the New York Times of Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Julia Child); «Funny People» (Judd Apatow’s look at the dark underbelly of the LA comedy world) and «Brief Interviews with Hideous Men,» based on a novel by the late David Foster Wallace. For lovers of older cinematic fare, don’t miss the «Cult Retrospective,» a chance to catch much-loved movies of the past on the big screen (pics such as «Grey Gardens,» «Harold and Maude,» «The Swimmer» and «Rock ‘n’ Roll High School»). «Music & Film» is another tribute, with offerings such as Jonathan Demme’s Talking Heads concert classic «Stop Making Sense» and a retrospective on the legendary New York music venue, «Burning Down the House: The Story of the CBGB,» along with retrospectives on international filmmakers: Poland’s Zbigniew Rybczynski, Denmark’s Jorgen Leth and Japan’s Sion Sono. Lastly, horror lovers will be well served with the «Midnight Movies» B-movie spectacle. Just a taste of what late-night cinemagoers will be in for: «I Sell the Dead,» «Dead Snow» and, to mix it up a bit, «Lesbian Vampire Killers.» Screenings will take place at the Attikon-Apollon (19 Stadiou, 210.801.1300) and Danaos (109 Kifissias, 210.692.2657). For the festival schedule and ticket information, visit www.aiff.gr.