Springtime for moviegoers in North Texas means more than just the crack of the baseball bat or the bloom of the bluebonnets. These months also bring the return of the region’s largest film festival, the Dallas International Film Festival. Coming after Sundance, Toronto, and South by Southwest, it’s often the place where DFW residents first get the chance to see some of the films that earned headlines at those earlier festivals.
This year’s event, running from March 30 to April 9 at various Dallas venues, promises to be no exception. Here are 15 projects worth investigating.
Bonnie and Clyde: DIFF is doing something different this year by kicking off the festival with a North Texas-shot classic about two infamous North Texas criminals, Arthur Penn’s “Bonnie and Clyde.” If you haven’t seen it or if you’ve never seen it on a big screen, here’s your chance. It’s part of a salute to the films of 1967 that includes screenings of “Cool Hand Luke,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” as well as a panel discussion. “Bonnie and Clyde” star Faye Dunaway will be in attendance. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dallas City Performance Hall.
Bomb City: Here’s another Texas story. The feature film debut of director Jamerson Brooks is based on the life of Texas punk rocker Brian Deneke who was killed in Amarillo in the midst of a fight between punks and more conservative elements in the town. 7 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. April 1, Landmark Magnolia
One False Move: Carl Franklin’s acclaimed 1992 crime film starring the late Bill Paxton will be followed by a ceremony honoring with a Dallas Star Award and a conversation about his career. 5 p.m. April 8, Landmark Magnolia
Berlin Syndrome: Australian director Cate Shortland is not as well known globally as some other Aussie directors but her previous films, the powerful “Lore” and “Somersault,” are striking so there’s a fair amount of anticipation for her latest project. This drama follows an Australian photographer to Berlin where she finds herself held prisoner by a man with whom she has had a romantic fling. 9:45 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. April 2, Landmark Magnolia
Buster’s Mal Heart: Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) stars as a man who gives up his staid family life and becomes an eccentric drifter. DJ Qualls (“Z Nation”) and Toby Huss (“Halt and Catch Fire”) also star. Variety raved about the film after its Toronto screening, calling it “deliberately confounding and deeply strange.” 7:45 p.m. April 3; 5:15 p.m. April 5, Landmark Magnolia.
It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du mond): Young “bad boy” French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan made the unforgettable “Mommy” three years ago though most probably are more familiar with one of his shorter works, Adele’s “Hello” video in 2015. He’s back with a new feature starring French superstars Marion Cotillard and Vincent Cassel about a writer with a terminal illness who has to tell his family he’s dying. Dolan won the Cannes Grand Prize and the film was nominated for that festival’s Palme d’Or. 7:30 p.m. April 5, Angelika; 1:30 p.m. April 6, Angelika Dallas
City of Ghosts: After ISIS took over the city of Raqqa in Iraq, a group of anonymous activists decided to fight back. This documentary by Matthew Heineman, who made the phenomenal documentary “Cartel Land,” two years ago, tells their story. The film was nominated for a Sundance grand-jury prize. 10 p.m. Friday; 7:45 p.m. April 1, Angelika Dallas
Into the Who Knows!: Here’s one for the entire family. Texan director Micah Barber has come up with a story about a boy and his stuffed pet fox that has echoes of “Where the Wild Things Are.” Dallas’ Bryce Gheisar (of Disney’s “Walk the Plank”) stars and Alexandra Malick, wife of Austin director Terrence Malick, produces. Noon, April 1; 11:45 a.m. April 2, Angelika Dallas
Breakthrough: Predicting the Future: It’s been some time since we’ve heard much from Dallas indie director Shane Carruth (“Primer,” “Upstream Color”) and this isn’t a feature film but an episode in Nat Geo’s science series “Breakthrough.” But considering Carruth’s science background and interest in the field, this episode — dealing with artificial intelligence and big data — should be fascinating. 6:15 p.m. April 2, Dallas City Performance Hall
Score: A Film Music Documentary: Film music is often taken for granted by filmgoers but this documentary turns the spotlight on the people who labor in the cinematic shadows. Some of the biggest names in the business — Hans Zimmer, Trent Reznor, Danny Elfman, Randy Newman, Junkie XL, and Alexandre Desplat talk about their craft. Noon, April 1; Noon, April 2. Landmark Magnolia
Gook: With its inflammatory racial epithet as its title, the film is the second feature from Asian-American director Justin Chon. It’s set in Los Angeles in 1992 as the riots following the verdict in the Rodney King trial turn many in the black and Asian communities against each other. Against this backdrop, the friendship a young African-American girl and two Korean-American shopkeepers is tested. The film won an audience award at Sundance. 10:30 p.m. Friday; 2:15 p.m. April 1, Angelika Dallas
Patti Cake$: Geremy Jasper’s film about an aspiring rapper who just happens to be white, female and overweight has generated a lot of buzz on the festival circuit, earning a grand-jury prize nomination at Sundance. Danielle MacDonald’s central performance has been getting especially strong reviews. 8:15 p.m. April 9, Landmark Magnolia
Quest: The film debut of director Jonathan Olshelfski is a documentary that chronicles the life of an average African-American family in North Philadelphia. But average doesn’t mean boring as the parents struggle to keep their home, which includes a music studio, as a sanctuary from all the ills outside their door. Nominated for a grand-jury prize at Sundance. 7:15 p.m., April 5; 4:45 p.m. April 6, Angelika Dallas
Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape: Vinyl has had its mainstream comeback, but what about the lowly cassette? Granted, there has been talk of a cassette resurgence for some time now but this documentary about the format and cassette inventor Lou Ottens — featuring appearances from Henry Rollins, Thurston Moore, and others — may just usher in a newfound respect. 10 p.m. April 6, Angelika Dallas; 4:30 p.m. April 7, Angelika Dallas
Dallas International Film Festival
- Thursday through April 9
- Various venues including the Dallas City Performance Hall, Angelika Dallas and Landmark Magnolia