IFFB 2012 lineup; last year's hit "Ivan & Ivana" at HFA


What's with March and April with all these Film Festivals? One definitely not to miss is the Tenth Annual Independent Film Festival of Boston, quite simply the best in New England (okay, maybe tied with Provincetown), which runs from April 25 to May 2 at various venues including the Brattle, Somerville, and Coolidge Corner Theatres. They announced their line-up last week and it includes such must sees as:

"SLEEPWALK WITH ME" directed by Mike Birbiglia, which Monica Castillo, who caught it at SXSW, highly recommends, describing it as "adorable" -- in the good sense.

Bobcat Goldthwait's "GOD BLESS AMERICA," which sounds like it will make you laugh at everything that irritates you about the world, and sometimes might irritate you itself.

Lauren Greenfield's "THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES." Greenfield should be a familiar name for IFFB attendees. This is her third appearance and she won IFFBoston's Grand Jury Prize in 2006 with her documentary "THIN."

Guy Maddin's KEYHOLE,  which I saw last September in Toronto and am still scratching my head about, even after Maddin spent half an hour explaining it to me.

Never fear. He'll be on hand at the IFFB screening of his film to explain it to you, too;  Birbiglia, Goldthwait, and Greenfield will also be attending the festival.

Meanwhile, you can satisfy your desire for outstanding independent movie fare by catching a screening tomorrow night (Saturday, March 31) at the Harvard Film Archive of Jeff Silva's "Ivan & Ivana," one of the standouts at last year's IFFB. Here's my review of it:

Three and a half stars


Times were tough for Ivan and Ivana in Kosovo in 2000 in the midst of the civil war, as the opening of  Jeff Silva's low-key but moving documentary shows: the place is a wasteland of ruins and burnt-out vehicles and snow. Six years later in San Diego they seem to be on Easy Street with a bungalow and two sports cars. Plus $1.3 million in debt - a problem that doesn't become any more manageable two years later when the economy tanks.  Personable, smart and attractive, the Serbian couple got sucked into the culture of debt and consumption, and they're story looks like it might turn into an updated, real life version of Werner Herzog's "Stroszek." But life goes on, together and separately, and Silva is on hand recording it all, an off screen voice that is genial, inquisitive and supportive. A film not so much about war and peace and the economy as it is about time and what it wastes and what it leaves behind.

--Peter Keough

Silva will also be in attendance at the screening of his film, which takes place Saturday, March 31 at 7 pm at the HFA in the Carpenter Center, 24  Quincy St, Cambridge. 617.495.4700.

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