Mill Valley Film Festival On the Way

The kids are back in school. The sun is setting a little earlier. The big-budget special effects extravaganzas are giving way to the occasional thoughtful film. You know what that means. This year’s Mill Valley Film Festival can’t be far behind.

This is the other big general film festival for Bay Area cinephiles, after the San Francisco International one. (A general film festival isn’t geared to a particular type of person or type of movie.) While not as centrally located as San Francisco, Mill Valley has a distinct calendar advantage. Coming on the heals of Telluride and Toronto, it gives Bay Area cinephiles our first chance to see the major Indiewood titles that will compete for this year’s Oscar. (For instance, last year’s festival opened with The King’s Speech.

But that raises an interesting question: Do you really want to spend your festival time and cash seeing a picture that will be playing in your local multiplex (or at least your local Landmark Theater) in a few weeks? It may make more sense to save those for later, and concentrate on films you may never get to see again.

I missed yesterday’s press conference, which means my information is limited. But here are a few things I can tell you:

  • There will be two opening night films, Albert Nobbs and Jeff Who Lives at Home.
  • It will close with The Artist, a silent film about silent films which has been getting rave reviews.
  • All three of those films are expected to get a theatrical release after the festival. Others include Girlfriend, The Sacred Science, and Ralph Fiennes’ production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.
  • On the other hand, My Week with Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, does not appear to be getting a theatrical release.
  • The festival will host tributes to Glenn Close, Michelle Yeoh, and Gaston Kaboré.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark will get a special screening at the Century Cinema in Corte Madera. I suspect this will be the same digital presentation that was shown at the Castro last Sunday.